As the weather gets hotter, I find myself turning more and more to salads. Although, I’m a pretty finicky salad eater. I get bored easily, and like my salads light on lettuce and heavy on flavors. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve made two great chickpea salads. I love chickpeas in salads because they add so much flavor, and they give a salad heft.

The first of these salads, I found on 101 Cookbooks. I discovered it a year ago, made it a couple of times, and somehow managed to forget all about it. I forgot it so completely, that when I was looking for something to take to the baby shower, and a friend suggested I make “that chickpea salad,” I had no idea what she was talking about. A little sleuthing though, and the salad was found. I hope I don’t forget it again, because this is a nice quick tasty salad. It definitely has enough staying power to count as a meal, and that pesky lettuce is nowhere in sight. I’ve actually never made it with the butternut squash, opting for sweet potatoes the first time I made it and purple potatoes the second. Next time I make it, I’m going to toss in some quinoa and maybe even some avocado.

The second salad, is another gem from Didi Emmons’ Entertaining for a Veggie Planet. With this salad, I particularly enjoyed the roasted eggplant and tomatoes and the excellent lemon dressing. At first, I was actually a little ambivalent about the crunchy chickpeas, although they grew on me. Next time I might try seasoning the chickpeas, or even sprinkle soy nuts on the salad instead.

For the Maranui Surf Club Salad, pictured first, get the recipe here. The only thing I changed was subbing out the squash for the potatoes.

Crispy Chickpea Salad with Roasted Eggplant and Feta
(serves 3-4)

1/2 large Italian eggplant or 1 Asian eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
kosher salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 large bunch arugula
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or mint leaves
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread tomatoes and eggplant in single layer in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast 15-20 minutes until the eggplant is very soft. Allow to cool to room temperature.

2. Turn the oven up to 400 degrees. Spread the chickpeas in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet. Roast until crunchy, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature

3. In a large bowl toss together tomatoes, eggplant, chickpeas, and all remaining ingredients.

Top with Classic Lemon Dressing.

Classic Lemon Dressing (makes 2/3 cup)

Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup canola oil
kosher salt and pepper to taste.

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
2. With the machine running, slowly add the oil.
3. Season with salt and pepper.