Soak the chickpeas overnight in 3 to 4 cups of water. Drain the water, and rinse the soaked chickpeas.
The chickpeas may be cooked with 2.5 to 3 cups of water. Turn the heat to medium high and bring it to a boil. Then turn it to a lower setting and simmer for an hour or more, until soft and well done. (Adjust the amount of cooking water as needed.)
Any leftover water may be drained, or saved to add to other soups and stews.
Prepare the salad dressing with the grated garlic, cumin, paprika, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper.
The red pepper flakes may be added if preferred.
Mix all the salad dressing ingredients well.
Once the chickpeas have cooled down a little, place it in a wide salad mixing bowl. Add the tomatoes, red bell pepper, onion, scallions and parsley.
Stir the salad dressing with all the other ingredients and toss well. Adjust the seasoning as per taste.
Let it rest at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
The salad may be served over a bed of spinach, arugula or romaine lettuce and radish slices.
Garnish with crumbled feta cheese, lemon slices and olives if preferred.
Serve with some toasted pita bread on the side.
Use fresh herbs and vegetables for best taste.
Feta cheese is a salty cheese so adjust the amount of salt keeping that in mind.
Have some of the vegetables, cooked chickpeas and dressing ready ahead. But mix the dressing just half hour prior to serving.
Skip the feta cheese to make it vegan and dairy-free, but you may need to add a little more salt in the dressing.
You could add grilled chicken, avocado, and substitute other vegetables.
The salad can be filled into a pita pocket and enjoyed too!
Storage: The leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
Sumac, cumin, pickled olives etc are available at specialty and middle eastern grocery stores. For more tips and serving suggestions check out the blog post above.
The suggested amount of salt is just a guideline and may need to be adjusted. Check for any added salt in spice mixes and other ingredients and adjust.