Healthy salad of chickpeas, garlic, green olives, and parmesan cheese, simply dressed with olive oil and lemon juice.

Chickpeas, Garlic, and Olives: The Wimpy Vegetarian

This week I closed a chapter in my life, and was caught off-guard by the nostalgic feelings it raised in me. Like when you’re watching a movie, say a comedy, and an unexpected bittersweet moment grabs at your heart out of nowhere, and your eyes suddenly well up.

It was a surprise because the event was the simple sale of a townhome I’ve owned for 25 years – one I hadn’t even lived in for the last 18 years.  But it was my first real home that I’d owned that felt like a home; and it was my first home in California.

I bought it while it was still under construction, and had some (albeit limited) design freedom. I switched out the entry tile, ripped out the carpeting in the den and installed hardwood floors, and completely repainted the inside as I found the off-white walls completely uninspiring. A couple of years later, I realized I really needed to do something with the postage stamp back yard, and put in a brick patio and wood deck, and planted flowering bushes.

It was my refuge when things in life went sideways, and a great home for parties; and I admit there were lots of both in my life at that time. Through all the fun times and sporadic life upheavals, I always felt protected there. And even though my restlessness reared its head after seven years causing me to move a 90-minute drive away to a small town just north of San Francisco, I left a part of me behind in that townhouse.  I’m still unwrapping my feelings about this transition, but have been enjoying revisiting so many memories this week.

Today, the new owner is moving in with his young daughter.  I wish them well with their new home, and hope they create as many warm and enriching memories there as I did. And if I lived closer, I would welcome them with this dish as a housewarming offering. It’s a simple, light-but-filling dish of chickpeas, olives, garlic, lemon, and Parmesan cheese, and eating it makes you feel so good. Like home.

Chickpeas, Garlic and Olives: The Wimpy Vegetarian

Chickpeas, Garlic and Olives

     by Susan Pridmore

       Prep Time: 15 minutes


  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 15-ounce can)
  • 1/3 cup sliced green olives
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons minced garlic (I’ve even gone as high as 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/4 cup coarsely grated parmesan cheese (asiago cheese works great too)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (to taste)
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil (to taste)
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 4 large basil leaves, chiffonade


In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Adjust for seasoning, and let sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to be absorbed by the chickpeas.

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19 Responses to “Chickpeas, Garlic and Olives” Subscribe

  1. TasteFood August 18, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    I love this kind of food – so simple, comforting and healthy. Congratulations on your town home sale, despite the nostalgic twinge…
    TasteFood recently posted..Sausage, Kale and Tomato Ragout with Poached Egg and Chick PeasMy Profile

  2. Choc Chip Uru August 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    Congrats my friend, though it must be natural to reminisce :)
    I’m loving your simple and healthy snack recipe!

    Choc Chip Uru

    P.S. I have lost 60-70 followers and I don’t even know how so if you had subscribed before, it would be great if you could check and if possible, resubscribe – thanks!
    Choc Chip Uru recently posted..The 40 Hour FamineMy Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian August 18, 2012 at 10:53 pm #

      Thanks CCU. I haven’t seen any postings from you recently in my reader, so I must have fallen off somehow. Losing 60-70 followers is a huge, huge deal!! I’ll resubscribe – thanks so much for letting me know :-)
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Chickpeas, Garlic and OlivesMy Profile

  3. lizthechef August 18, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    Hey, girl, good for you – to share that special place with someone who needs it now. You make a home wherever you live, dear Susan. Still, I have been in my bungalow since 1978…Don’t look back – you made a wise decision.
    lizthechef recently posted..Rainbow GazpachoMy Profile

  4. Green Dragonette August 19, 2012 at 1:35 am #

    Oh what a poignant time for you…houses can hold so many memories…I do hope the new people will treasure their time in the house and thus gain their own golden memories…
    On a lighter note…love the chickpea dish-just my sort of thing-simple but delicious!!
    Green Dragonette recently posted..The Levi Roots Cookery Course-More On The Man, His Faith And Its Link To The Beautiful City Of Bath And Of Course, Delicious Caribbean Food…My Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian August 20, 2012 at 11:42 am #

      I agree :). I think I was surprised at how I was feeling because I had been renting it out for so many years, but turns out the memories still had the power to affect me. And I’d love to hear what you think if you make the chickpea salad! Thanks for stopping by Green Dragonette :-)

  5. Annette Nielsen August 19, 2012 at 5:18 am #

    Beautifully written — and I’m inspired to make this today!

  6. suesnutritionbuzzs August 19, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    Like anything with chickpeas so will try this. Sounds and looks fabulous :)
    suesnutritionbuzzs recently posted..Ginger Roasted Chicken With Red Wine Plum Sauce #SundaySupperMy Profile

  7. Laurie Dupree August 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    Susan, Congrats on the sale of your “first home” in CA! I know the many memories you built there will always stay with you as you carry them with you and share them with all those you meet on your road of life! That’s what MAKES great memories ~ when you share! :)) This recipe sounds so DELICIOUS but a simple one to have ANYTIME of year! Wonder if you could use FETA cheese as well, or would that overpower?? Hoping your NEW home fills with many new memories and fragrances of all your wonderful recipes that you are so generous to share! :)) Miss you! Laurie

  8. Jessica August 20, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    I have been looking for a recipe like this for months – there was this little store around the corner from my office back in DC that had the most amazing chickpea salad. The only drawback? It was SO SALTY. I’m excited to try your recipe and salt it to my taste – the flavors are just so wonderful, I love when you can taste each individual element of the salad. Now I have this and your peach honey frozen yogurt on my short list in the kitchen – I’ll let you know how they go! Thanks for sharing with us. :)
    Jessica recently posted..Feastie Friday: Going for a DipMy Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian August 20, 2012 at 11:32 am #

      Thanks so much, Jessica! I hope you like both of them – please let me know what you think when you make them :-)

  9. gluttonforlife August 26, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    Time marches on, doesn’t it? But I can tell that you look forward with optimism. I love chickpeas and often make a dish like this in the classic Spanish style with a few slices of chorizo.
    gluttonforlife recently posted..The Living Is EasyMy Profile

  10. Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator August 26, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    This looks beyond delicious and I loved your story.

  11. Julia K September 10, 2013 at 6:05 am #

    Hi Susan!
    I got here through Pinterest and your lovely photo…Normally I don’t reply to Blogs, but I couldn’t resist after reading that you’re trying to live meatless but have a carnivourous husband ( and boys in my case…) and I couldn’t live a life without enjoying beatiful seafood or a steak (sometimes is ok, hmm???) but I’m determined to try but I got intimidated by not knowing what to do with all the veggies around. I’ll be reading your blog to have inspiration to cook myself and my family “good food”. Thanks for sharing your passion! Cheers!



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