Heart Health Diet: Feta and Chickpea Salad

Melanie Thomassian Health Pro

    Last week we looked at "Six Easy Ways to "Tidy Up" Your Lifestyle This Spring." But, if you're still a little stuck on putting those ideas into action, here are some delicious Spring menu options...



    Feta and Chickpea Salad

    This is my favorite salad at present. I love chickpeas, they are a wonderful source of protein and shouldn’t merely be reserved for hummus. This recipe would make a wonderful entree dish, or light supper.


    Serves 4

    Time 10 minutes



    2 large wholemeal pitta breads

    ½ teaspoon paprika

    2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

    1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

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    ½ red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

    400g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained

    2 teaspoons of finely grated lemon rind

    Generous squeeze of lemon juice

    Large handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves

    Black pepper, to taste

    150g feta cheese




    • Heat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Split the breads horizontally. Mix the paprika with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Brush each piece of bread with this mixture and place on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly golden brown and crisp — about 4-5 minutes.
    • Meanwhile, add the red onion to a bowl, along with the chilli, chickpeas, lemon rind and juice, parsley and seasoning. Crumble over two thirds of the cheese and toss well. 
    • Divide between serving plates and crumble over the remaining feta. Break the bread into smaller pieces and serve on the side.


    Recipe adapted from Times Online.



    Main Course

    Lemon-Garlic Prawns and Veggies


    Serves 4

    Time 35 minutes



    4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

    2 large red bell peppers, diced

    2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths

    2 teaspoons freshly grated lime zest

    1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

    5 cloves garlic, minced

    1 pound raw prawns, (26-30 per pound), peeled and deveined

    1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

    1 teaspoon cornstarch

    2 tablespoons lime juice

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley




    • Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large non-stick skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers, asparagus, lime zest and 1/4 teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften — about 6 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl; cover to keep warm.
    • Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant — about 30 seconds. Add the prawns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk broth and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth, and add to the pan along with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened slightly, and the prawns are pink and just cooked through — about 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Stir in lime juice and parsley. Serve the prawns and sauce over the vegetables.


    Serve the prawns with the couscous recipe below for a delicious, complete meal.


    Recipe adapted from Eating Well.



    Wholewheat Couscous


    Serves 4 

    Time 15 minutes



    1 1/4 cups water

    1 tablespoon butter

    1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1 1/2 cups wholewheat couscous

    1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

    Freshly ground pepper, to taste




    • Combine the water, butter, hot sauce and salt in a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and bring to a boil. Stir in couscous, then remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. 
    • Uncover and fluff the grains with a fork to separate. Stir in parsley. Season with pepper.


    Recipe adapted from Eating Well.



    Jellied Fruit Terrine

    This is a very easy dessert to make, especially when you have access to lots of fresh, seasonal fruit. However, it does required quite a bit of time to set. For best results make the day prior to serving, to allow adequate time to chill.

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    Serves 10

    Prep time 15 minutes

    Setting 4+ hours, preferably overnight



    1/2 cup cold water

    2 envelopes (14 grams) unflavored gelatin

    2 1/2 cups sweetened white grape juice

    1 1/2 - 2 cups fresh raspberries 

    1 1/2 - 2 cups fresh blueberries 

    1 1/2 - 2 cups fresh strawberries


    Alternatively, use whatever fruit is in season when making this dessert.




    • You will need a 8 x 4 inch (20 x 10 cm) loaf pan.
    • In small bowl, pour 1/2 cup of cold water, then sprinkle the two envelopes of gelatin over the water and allow it to soften, untouched, for about 5 - 10 minutes.
    • In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup of the white grape juice until very hot.   Stir the softened gelatin into the hot grape juice and place this mixture over a low heat, stirring constantly until the gelatin has completely dissolved.  Do not boil.  Remove from heat and stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of white grape juice.
    • With a small ladle pour a thin layer (about 1/4 inch deep) of the white grape juice jelly into the bottom of the loaf pan.  Place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until set, but still sticky.  (This layer is to hold the raspberries in place.)
    • After about 30 minutes, arrange in rows, a layer of raspberries on top of the jelly.  Carefully spoon or ladle some of the white grape juice jelly over the raspberries, just until the raspberries are covered.  Place back in the refrigerator for about one hour, or until set.
    • Next, place a layer of blueberries on top of the raspberries and cover with more of the white grape juice jelly.  Place back in the fridge for about one hour, or until set.
    • Finally, place a layer of strawberries on top of the blueberries.  Carefully spoon enough of the white grape juice jelly over the top of the strawberries to cover them.  Cover and chill the terrine for several hours, preferably overnight, until completely set.
    • To unmold the terrine, place the pan a little hot water to loosen the contents from the sides of pan, then invert onto a serving plate. Serve the terrine in slices with a dollop of light fromage frais.


    Recipe modified from Joy of Baking



    What are your favorite Spring recipes? Please share them in the comments below...


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    Melanie Thomassian is a registered dietitian, and author of Dietriffic. Check out her blog for more healthy eating tips.

Published On: April 29, 2010