Chickpea salad with tomatoes, basil and feta



Hands up – who’s heard of a mondegreen?

Nope, I hadn’t either, until I discovered the wonderful world of blogging five years ago.  Obviously, the majority of blogs I read were food blogs, but I also followed a number of fascinating non-food blogs, one of which was the witty, erudite and always fascinating Language Log.

The term mondegreen was coined by American writer Sylvia Wright in her 1954 essay “The Death of Lady Mondegreen”, in which Wright described how, as a young girl, she misheard the final line of the first stanza from the 17th-century ballad The Bonnie Earl O’ Murray. The stanza goes:

“Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl Amurray,
And Lady Mondegreen.”

Nope, they didn’t kill 2 people.  The actual fourth line is “And laid him on the green”.

A mondegreen can therefore be described as a mishearing or misinterpretation of a lyric from a song or a line from a poem, in such a way that the misheard phrase acquires a whole new (and often amusing) meaning.  Some other examples include:

  • “there’s a bathroom on the right” for Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “there’s a bad moon on the rise”
  • “the ants are my friends, they’re blowing in the wind” for Bob Dylan’s “the answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind”
  • “my Lady Garbanzo” for Cat Stevens’ “my lady D’arbanville”

Yes folks, for many years I wondered why on earth Cat Stevens would write a song about a lady named after a chickpea (for garbanzo beans are merely chickpeas by another name). Vaguely embarrassing – but true!  I was experiencing my first dalliance with the good old Lady Mondegreen a decade and a half before I even knew who she was :)

Mondegreens aside, chickpeas/garbanzo beans are some of my favourite pulses.  You can do all kinds of fun stuff with them:  stew them; smoosh them to make hummus; roast them with spices; roughly mash them to put on crostini; warm them mash them with olive oil and paprika and serve instead of mashed potatoes; or serve them in a salad.

This salad was something I whipped up for myself a few Fridays ago when I was enjoying my day off.  The idea comes from a salad that I sometimes buy for lunch at work at a nearby sandwich shop, but what made this salad extra special was that I used tomatoes nd basil grown by my own fair hands.  There’s no secret to this salad, other than generous amounts of basil and good olive oil.  It takes all of 5 minutes to whip up, it’s delicious, it’s high protein, high fibre and low fat.  Can’t really expect much more from your salad, can you? :)

This is my entry into the My Legume Love Affair event, founded by the lovely Susan and hosted this month by yours truly!  I am still accepting entries until 31 October so hurry and get your entry in to me to stand a chance to win a prize.  Full details can be found on my announcement post.




For printable recipe, click here.


1 x 400g tin of chickpeas in water
1 medium tomato
a small handful of fresh basil leaves
about 75g feta cheese, crumbled
extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper


Drain the chickpeas and decant into a bowl.  Wash and dice the tomato. Rinse the basil leaves and cut up into thin strips.  Mix the tomato and basil into the chickpeas, then crumble the feta into the bowl and mix again.  Season with salt and pepper, then add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and serve immediately.

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  1. says

    Oh my goodness this post made me laugh out loud. I had to memorize part of that poem for an English class in high school. I immediately knew where Lady Mondegreen came from!:)
    Aside from that, I’ve marked this one as a definite keeper recipe. I love garbanzos and this looks like a great “take to work for lunch” type salad. Thanks! :)

  2. says

    Love the looks of this salad. And I hate that I’m such a slacker on blog events these days. I cook legumes all the time, but never manage to get it together. (Just think of me as entering in spirit!)

  3. says

    Feta with chickpeas and various herbs, vegetables I have on hand are one of my favourite go to lunches. Sure looking forward to when I can have these additions when our tomatoes and basil are ready. So good!

  4. says

    I blogged about the joys of growing your own herbs and veggies just yesterday, because it can easily transform a plain ole tin of carbanzo beans into something as delicious looking as this.

  5. says

    Ooooh – I’m going through a chickpea frenzy at the moment, and this looks utterly gorgeous. I think the simpler the better when it comes to chickpeas. Nice one.

  6. says

    Bwah! In fairness, I always knew it was Lady D’Arbanville, but of course we had the CD to inform me of that… I’m trying to remember if it really sounded like garbanzo!
    Anyway, loving the fresh flavors here- chickpeas should get more respect! :)

  7. says

    Up goes my hand. LOL! We peeps are such silly creatures. Love your EZ recipe. Chickpea salad is a great hit in this house. I’ll have MLLA chickpea riff to you tomorrow. (Kalyn, I know that slacker feeling – and my own event, too. ; O)

  8. Susan says

    It’s really cool seeing this recipe here, I love chickpeas and this salad is something I make whenever I want something simple, quick and filling.My variation has crumbled goat cheese, grape tomatoes-so delicious! and cilantro instead of basil. Nice recipe with so much room to improvise.

  9. says

    Aaah, so that’s what the term is called. Here’s a classic from the movie, Cruel Intentions:
    Sebastian: Yup. Then I fucked your daughter.
    Mrs. Sugarman: Excuse me?
    Sebastian: I said, would you care for some water?
    Mrs. Sugarman: No, thank you.
    What a scrumptious looking salad you’ve got there!