Back in grad school in the late 90s, I was trying to be all grown up by reading Health Magazine and trying out the variations on stomach crunches they offered every month. Their claims to any scientific understanding of what they were printing were dubious at best, and the tiny little asides with "recipes" seemed to prove that they thought the need to eat regularly was a weakness, and enjoying that food an inexcusable luxury. BUT, there was one little mention, just once, of a brilliant, simple salad that I found delicious and have been making in the summertime ever since. It was a mere combination of fresh tomatoes and chick peas dressed in some red wine vinegar. I have since altered it slightly, but I never tire of the version I currently make (below). If you want to make this a little heartier, toss it with some hot or cold pasta or a cooked grain like bulgar, barley, or farro.
Tomato and Garbanzo Salad
Serves 2, or 4 with grain or pasta
2 large tomatoes, cored and chopped into bite-size pieces
1 can (or 2 cups) garbanzo beans
¼ red onion, diced
½ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley, basil, or cilantro (or a combination of the three)
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Add the tomatoes, beans, onion, and fresh herbs and stir thoroughly to combine. Taste for salt and serve either at room temperature or chilled.