Chickpea and Tomato Salad with Fresh Basil

chickpea and tomato salad with fresh basil

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are an excellent source of cheap protein.  Pair them with basil from your garden and sweet grape tomatoes when in-season, and you’ve got a frugal salad that’s also really healthy.  I found these tomatoes at my ALDI store for just $.79 this week (view more recently posted Grocery Bargains).  You could also easily add rotini to this to make it a pasta salad.

Frugal Tips:  To save money, buy dried chickpeas and soak overnight.  Beans can even be soaked and frozen for later.

Chickpea and Tomato Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
A refreshing summer salad that’s rich in protein and packed with flavor
  • 1 carton of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 25 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Whisk together the vinegars, oils, honey and salt and pepper. Drizzle over the chickpeas, basil, and tomatoes. I put mine in a plastic container and give a good shake. Chill a few hours or overnight.

Thanks for the inspiration, Green Lite Bites!

Greek Salad with Couscous

Greek Salad with Couscous |

I love Greek food.  Not only is it packed with flavor, it’s usually pretty healthy.  This easy Greek Salad with Couscous salad is no exception.  Don’t have couscous?  Substitute orzo pasta, quinoa or bulgur.  I find that the couscous is a frugal way to extend the salad and give it more texture.

Frugal Tip:  If jarred Kalamata olives are too expensive, check the grocery store deli.  You may be able to buy them by the pound for less.

Greek Salad with Couscous
Serves: 6
Healthy Greek salad is packed with flavor
  • 1 C. cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 cucumber, cut in bite-sized pieces
  • 1 red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
  • ¼ C. fresh parsley
  • 6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 4 oz. feta cheese crumbles
  • ½ C. Kalamata olives
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 C. large-pearl couscous
  1. Cook couscous according to package directions. Meanwhile, add remaining ingredients. Drain couscous and add to veggies/dressing. Chill for 4-6 hours before serving.

Bacon Blue Cheese Potato Salad

Blue Cheese Bacon Potato Salad |

Everything is better with bacon, isn’t it?  This bacon blue cheese potato salad is creamy, flavorful and tangy.  If you like bacon and blue cheese, you’ll love it.  It goes perfectly with a burger straight off the grill.  Bring on summer!

Frugal Tips:  Look for blue cheese at stores like ALDI, Sam’s Club and Costco to save money.

Bacon Blue Cheese Potato Salad
Serves: 6
Blue cheese and bacon make this a hard-to-resist potato salad
  • 2½ lbs red potatoes, cubed
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked, cooled and crumbled
  • ½ C. mayo
  • ¼ C. sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 oz. blue cheese crumbles
  1. Boil potatoes with the skin on until fork-tender (about 12-13 minutes). Meanwhile, add the other ingredients in a large bowl. After potatoes have cooled, dice them and add to dressing ingredients. Chill in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours or overnight.


Boil potatoes with the skin on until fork-tender (about 12-13 minutes). Meanwhile, add the other ingredients in a large bowl. After potatoes have cooled, dice them and add to dressing ingredients. Chill in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours or overnight.

Copycat Recipe: Carrabba’s Italian Grill Salad Dressing

Carraba's Italian Grill House Dressing Copycat Recipe

This copycat version of the creamy Parmesan dressing from Carrabba’s Italian Grill is my new favorite. Not only is it delicious, it’s incredibly easy to make.

Frugal Tips:  This recipe only calls for a little bit of buttermilk, so don’t let the leftovers go to waste.  Did you know you could freeze buttermilk?  Here are some great ideas to use up buttermilk after making this dressing.

Copycat Recipe: Carrabba’s Italian Grill Salad Dressing
Serves: 4
  • ½ C. mayonnaise
  • ¼ C. grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ C. buttermilk
  • 1½ tsp. minced garlic
  • ½ tsp. minced fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp. lemon juice
  1. Combine all ingredients and serve with romaine lettuce, croutons, fresh black pepper and any of your other favorite salad ingredients.



See how simple the ingredient list is?  Much of this is in your refrigerator already.



Mix the dressing well.


Serve with romaine and croutons.


Chinese Cabbage Ramen Noodle Salad

Chinese Cabbage Ramen Noodle Salad

Can you believe it’s March already?  One of my favorite food events this month is St. Patrick’s Day.  I love homemade Corned Beef Brisket and Cabbage.  It’s been a tradition at our house for years, even though we’re not Irish.  We’re not Asian either, but I love Chinese Cabbage Ramen salad.  It’s another great way to make use of those great deals on cabbage you’ll see all month at the grocery store!  There are so many variations of this recipe.  How do you make it?

Frugal Tips:  Make use of produce that is in season or is being promoted for special event or holiday.  They usually are great deals, or even promoted as loss leaders.  Think of new, creative uses for them.

View the other Cabbage Recipes I’ve made lately, or these ideas from Mommysavers:

Chinese Cabbage Ramen Noodle Salad
Great for potlucks and special events.
  • Salad:
  • ½ head cabbage, finely chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • ½ stick butter
  • 1 pkg. ramen noodles, crumbled (discard the flavor packets)
  • ¼ C. sesame seeds
  • ¼ C. sliced almonds
  • Dressing:
  • 2 Tbsp. peanut butter
  • ½ C. canola oil
  • ⅓ C. sugar
  • ¼ C. rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Toss together the cabbage and green onions. On a cookie sheet, melt the butter and then place the ramen noodles, sesame seeds and almonds on it. Bake until lightly toasted. Allow to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the peanut butter and canola oil. Heat in the microwave (about 20-30 seconds) if necessary. Combine whisk together the remaining dressing ingredients. Toss the cabbage and onions with the dressing about ½ hour before serving. Add the noodle/sesame/almond topping at the end.