Got a lonely can of chickpeas in the pantry? Turn it into Chickpea Salad, a protein-rich wonder that’s loaded with cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese.
Toss this healthy chickpea side dish in a fantastic Homemade Red Wine Vinaigrette to keep it light. It’s a salad that's delicious on its own, but makes great company with grilled Tri Tip, Costco’s Turkey Roll Ups, or Grilled Pork Chops.
Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, depending on what you’re used to calling them, are one of the best things around. First of all, they’re perfectly delicious straight out of the can. All you have to do is give ‘em a rinse and they’re good to go. Even people who "don't like beans" love a good chickpea.
Secondly, what can’t these little guys do? They’re perfect hot or cold in salads, tangines, or sheet pan dinners. You can mash them for a chickpea salad sandwich filling, purée them into hummus, or stir them into soups.
Many people up their plant-based recipes around the new year to shed some extra holiday pounds. Eating Chickpea Salad for weight loss is a great idea; it’s packed with vegetables, fiber, and low-fat protein.
But most importantly, it doesn’t taste like a sacrifice. The red onion, cucumber, and tomatoes keep it interesting. Olives and feta add some Mediterranean flavor. And it's a recipe that can be made anytime of the year. In case you're curious, there are a bunch of delicious ways to change it up, too, so keep scrolling!
Making Chickpea Salad for a crowd? It couldn't be easier. Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
Chickpea Salad ingredients:
- Chickpeas. One 15.5 ounce can, or about 1 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas.
- Cucumber. Persian cucumbers have great flavor and are largely seedless.
- Tomatoes. Cherry or grape tomatoes taste the best, especially in the winter.
- Red onion.
- Parsley. Or any green herb that sounds good to you. (See below.)
- Feta cheese.
- Kalamata olives. Pitted, please! No one wants to break a tooth.
- Avocado. Chickpea Salad with avocado is a natural. Choose an avocado that is ripe but firm, not too soft.
- Corn. Fresh or frozen.
- Quinoa. Power up that protein with cooked quinoa.
- Sun dried tomatoes.
- Sunflower seeds. For crunch.
- Roasted veggies.
- Moroccan spices. Cumin, coriander, paprika.
- Tuna. Serve Chickpea Salad with tuna for the best, quickest lunch ever.
- Dill. Fresh dill tastes amazing.
- Cilantro. Switch out the parsley for cilantro if you have it!
- Mint. Fresh mint makes the Mediterranean flavors pop.
How to make Chickpea Salad:
There's really not much to it! The most time-consuming part of making chickpea salad is prepping all the veggies.
- First, drain the chickpeas and rinse them under cold water.
- Then slice the tomatoes in half or into quarters, and chop the onion.
- Next, slice the olives, dice the cucumber, and chop the parsley. Finally cube or crumble the feta cheese—chickpeas aren’t picky.
- To make the salad, toss the ingredients together in a large bowl, and drizzle the dressing over it. Then give everything another gentle toss to combine.
How to make Red Wine Vinaigrette:
Easy red wine vinaigrette, coming up!
However, this certainly isn’t the only dressing in the world that tastes fabulous on Chickpea Salad. You can use a balsamic vinaigrette, a creamy yogurt dressing like Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing, or a tahini-based dressing, if you like.
Red wine salad dressing is a classic, tastes good on everything it touches, and can be made with pantry ingredients. Make a double or triple batch to keep on hand in the refrigerator when you want a quick and healthy lunch.
First, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and dried oregano. Then season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Cooking with dried chickpeas:
Using dried chickpeas is tremendously economical. Furthermore, canned chickpeas usually have added sodium, which you can eliminate if you make your own.
How many dried chickpeas do you need to equal one 15.5 ounce can? Good question.
Cook 3/4 cup of dried chickpeas to get the same amount as one can of cooked (which is 1 1/2 cups).
Chickpeas double their size when they're cooked, as long as they're properly hydrated.
Another good point about doing it yourself: you get to control the firmness of the cooked garbanzo. Salads are great with firmer chickpeas, while hummus is better when made with softer chickpeas, for example.
How to cook dried chickpeas:
Here's several easy ways to cook dried garbanzos. Make a big batch and freeze what you don't use to enjoy later. See the instructions below.
Before you begin, rinse the dried chickpeas thoroughly under cold water. Pick through the dried legumes for pebbles, debris, etc. And don't salt the chickpeas until they're fully cooked. Salting legumes before they are done keeps the beans from getting tender.
- Long soak method. Soak the chickpeas in a big bowl of plenty of cool water overnight (8 hours) to let them hydrate. You can leave them out on the counter.
Then add the chickpeas to a large pot, cover with a few inches of fresh water, and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on how tender you want them.
- Cooking chickpeas in a slow cooker. No pre-soak required. Add 7 cups of water and one pound of dried chickpeas to a crockpot. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or LOW for 6 to 8 hours.
- Cooking chickpeas in an Instant Pot. An electric pressure cooker is a fast way to cook chickpeas--no soaking required. Add 1 pound of dried chickpeas and 6 cups of water to the pressure cooker. Seal the lid and cook on HIGH pressure (or the beans/legumes function) for 50 minutes. When finished, naturally release for 10 minutes and vent the rest of the pressure before opening.
- Even quicker Instant Pot chickpeas. If you've presoaked your chickpeas overnight, add 1 pound of soaked chickpeas to the pressure cooker with 6 cups fresh water. Then seal the lid and cook on HIGH pressure (or the beans/legumes function) for only 12 minutes. When finished, naturally release for 10 minutes and vent the rest of the pressure before opening.|
How to freeze cooked chickpeas:
Spread out the cooked chickpeas in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Then pat them dry and slide the tray into the freezer until the beans are semi-frozen, about 30 minutes.
When ready, add the chickpeas to a zip-top freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Chickpea Salad Recipe
For the red wine vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the salad:
- 1 (15.5 ounce) can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 2 cups cucumber diced (1/2 hot house cucumber or 2 Persian)
- 2 cups grape tomatoes halved
- 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives halved
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 4 ounces feta cheese cubed
- To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk together olive oil, vinegar, mustard, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste (I like 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper).
- In a large bowl, combine chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, red onion, feta cheese, and parsley. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss gently to combine.