Salads are consistently some of my favorite creations.  For this one, I used a combination of cooked and raw vegetables for great flavor, texture and color.  A simple drizzle of vinegar and olive oil is all that is needed for a dressing for a wonderful satisfying salad. I found these great heirloom tomatoes at Costco and used chickpeas that i soaked and boiled myself. I like to make them in a big batch, using most of them for hummus and the extras are perfect for salad. They hold well in the fridge, and in my opinion a far better than the canned version.

Serves 4, as side salad


  • 1 head Bibb lettuce
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 2 pints sliced heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 medium eggplant, 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 bunch basil,  cut in a chiffonade
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 tablespoons Alessi balsamic vinegar reduction (substitute reduced balsamic vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup (approximately) olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • kosher salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 400.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Toss diced eggplant with 2 tablespoons of olive oil (enough to coat lightly).  Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano.  Roast in oven for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally until tender and golden.  Remove from oven and set aside.  Dust chickpeas with flour.  In a small sauté pan, heat vegetable oil to medium high.  When hot, but not yet smoking, place dusted chickpeas in oil and fry until crispy turning one or twice (about 3 minutes).  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel lined plate.  Season with a little salt and toss with smoked paprika.  Place mound of arugula in the center of your platter.  Use torn pieces of Bibb lettuce around the exterior of your platter.  Place cut tomatoes on top of greens and add eggplant on top of tomatoes.  Arrange slices of avocado in 4 different groupings around platter and place crispy chickpeas in between avocado grouping.  Add basil chiffonade on top of entire salad.  Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.  Drizzle balsamic vinegar and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil on top of salad.  Serve immediately and enjoy!