The Canny Cook: Tomato and crispy chickpea salad recipe

With the weather a little warmer, salads are back on the menu – and I can’t stop making this moreish recipe.

Eleanor maidment

Rising food prices – along with all our other bills – have been difficult to digest. But with clever product swaps and creative cooking you can still eat well and cut costs. That’s where I aim to help in this new weekly column. Over the past year I’ve been making changes to my cooking habits that have been so positive I can’t wait to pass them on.

I am eating less meat by bolstering dishes with more pulses (pot-roast chicken with rosemary and cannellini beans was a winter saviour), and using cured meats such as chorizo as a seasoning rather than a main ingredient.

I no longer buy quinoa or bulgur wheat in ready-cooked pouches. Dried varieties are much better value and, I think, superior in taste and texture. I’m avoiding being sucked into bulk-buy offers; instead, I’m batch-cooking to fill my freezer with delicious meals.

‘Eat seasonally’ is every food editor’s motto, but things really do taste better that way. Plus they cost less and you appreciate them more not having them all year. This month is the most glorious for homegrown produce: brimming with broad beans, asparagus, peas and new potatoes.

I hope that I can pass on even a fraction of the pleasure I’ve found in my new pared-back kitchen.

Tomato and crispy chickpea salad recipe

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  1. Drain a can of chickpeas and toss with 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 crushed garlic clove and 150g bread torn into chunks. (I always freeze the ends of loaves to make croutons at a later date.)
  2. Season and roast in an oven for 10 minutes at 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
  3. Then sprinkle over 1/2 tsp zaatar (or dried thyme or oregano, or nothing if you don’t have any of these) and stir.
  4. Roast for a final 5 minutes.
  5. Toss everything in a bowl with the tomatoes (cut into wedges) and a simple dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar and a dash of honey.
  6. Serve scattered with a little soft goat’s cheese and fresh basil leaves.

NOTE This cost assumes you already have some basic store cupboard ingredients.

Do you have a great recipe for eating well and cutting food bills? Email If we print it here, we’ll send you a bottle of champagne.

*Prices taken from Sainsbury’s and correct at time of going to press