Like any good chopped salad, the lettuce here is in equal balance with the other ingredients, making this a great choice for those who are less than enthusiastic about leafy greens. Creamy feta and avocado mingle with briny olives and capers while cucumbers and finely chopped romaine provide crunch. Use this recipe as a template for making the most of ingredients you have on hand; radishes, cherry tomatoes or diced onion would all be welcome here. The same flexibility applies for the croutons: Stale bread works, of course, but even leftover hot dog buns, pita bread or oyster crackers become excellent little croutons when toasted in the oven.
Chopped Salad With Chickpeas, Feta and Avocado
• 2 cups small (1/2-inch) diced stale bread, buns or pita (about 3 to 4 ounces)
• 6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
• Kosher salt and black pepper
• 1 romaine heart, quartered lengthwise and sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
• 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed
• 1 medium (or 1/2 large) English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and diced
• 1/2 cup pitted Castelvetrano or other green olives, roughly chopped (about 3 ounces)
• 1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions (about 2 scallions)
• 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon drained capers, roughly chopped
• 1 tablespoon minced shallots
• 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 1 firm-ripe avocado, halved, pitted and diced
• 3/4 cup diced or crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as dill, basil, mint or parsley, plus more for serving
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the diced bread on a sheet pan, drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss, then bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until well toasted. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, place the romaine pieces in a large mixing bowl, along with the chickpeas, cucumber, olives and scallions.
In a small bowl, whisk together 6 tablespoons olive oil with the vinegar, capers, shallots, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and whisk well. Pour enough dressing over the salad to moisten; toss well. Add the avocado, feta and herbs and toss gently, adding more dressing to taste. Top with the croutons and a generous sprinkle of herbs and serve.
Total time: 30 minutes, serves 4-6.