Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
All aboard the fresh express! It’s time for Mediterranean Chickpea Salad. This simple chickpea salad is uplifting, filling, and one of my absolute favorite meals to have waiting in my refrigerator for healthy lunches.
Made with bell peppers of all colors, fresh herbs, crisp cucumber, and creamy feta, every bite tastes of warm, sunny moments. Eating it never fails to brighten my mood.
Protein- and fiber-rich chickpeas make it a hearty vegetarian main, or you can serve it as an easy side with chicken, fish, or shrimp.
This Mediterranean chickpea salad is a recipe I usually save for summer, but I caught myself craving it incessantly earlier this week.
I first fell in love with simple chickpea salads when I tried a recipe from Jamie Oliver. A friend made it for a picnic, and it was delicious but a few of the ingredients (like fresh chilis) weren’t ones I necessarily keep on hand. Others (like fresh tomatoes) only taste great at the height of summer, a season that’s perilously short here in The North.
Today’s Mediterranean chickpea salad has everything I loved about the original—the oodles of texture, healthy ingredients, and energizing flavors—but is made with ingredients that:
- I’m much more likely to have around, and
- Taste excellent in any season.
You don’t need to wait until the height of summer to make this recipe (bell peppers, for example, taste great at nearly any time of year).
It tastes fab at room temperature and will perk up your afternoon, especially if you are looking for something lighter on the lunch front as I often am.
Chickpea salad lasts 3 to 4 days in your refrigerator, meaning you can make it today, then enjoy having the leftovers tucked in your refrigerator for fast, healthy meals whenever you need them.
How to Make Chickpea Salad
This easy chickpea salad is one of those glorious no-cook meals that hardly needs a recipe.
Chickpea Salad Ingredients
Salad Ingredient #1: Cooked Chickpeas
The true star ingredient here is canned chickpeas. A few fun facts and qualities I adore about this pantry powerhouse.
- Chickpeas inexpensive and incredibly versatile. You can use chickpeas for burgers (like these Mediterranean Quinoa Burgers), in a chickpea salad like today’s recipe, or even a stir fry like this recipe for General Tso’s Chickpeas.
- Chickpeas are good for weight loss because they’re high in fiber and protein, so they help keep you fuller for longer.
- Chickpeas and garbanzo beans are the same thing. The two names are used interchangeably especially in the U.S., and you may see either one written on a can or bag.
- This recipe calls for one 15-ounce can of chickpeas. You can also substitute 1 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas if you prefer to make them yourself from dried beans.
- Chickpeas cannot be eaten raw (they’d be crunchy and hard; if they are in a can, they are actually cooked first), though you can certainly munch them right out of the can or toss them onto a salad (ahem, this one!).
- Rinse your canned chickpeas first to avoid excess sodium.
The Fresh Ingredients
The fresh ingredients I choose for this recipe are ones I often associate with the Mediterranean like feta and parsley, which we always seem to have too much of. Feel free to tweak the below to suit your own preferences too.
- Bell Peppers. Oodles of bell peppers add sweet, colorful crunch to every bite. Plus, bell peppers are packed with Vitamin-C, folate, and potassium.
- Cucumber. Every time I eat cucumber, I wonder why I don’t have it more often. It makes this recipe taste extra light and fresh.
- Red Onion. Red onions are perfect for salads because of their mild flavor and color. TIP: soak your red onion in water first to remove some of the less pleasant, lingering, harsh flavor.
- Feta Cheese. One of the best things in life. You’ll love this chickpea salad with feta crumbles added. If you want to make this chickpea salad vegan, you can omit the feta and you are good to go.
- Parsley. Fresh herbs like parsley are a little addition that make a big difference. It gives this chickpea salad a complete, polished taste you’d miss without it.
- Dressing. The chickpea salad dressing is a 30-second red wine vinaigrette that you can shake together right in a mason jar. Theatrical overhead pour optional but encouraged.
- Soak the red onion in water.
- Add the remaining salad ingredients to a large bowl.
- Prepare the dressing (I like to make extra for the leftovers).
- Drain the onions, add them to the bowl with the salad ingredients. Pour the dressing over the top, and toss. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. ENJOY!
How to Serve Chickpea Salad
- Right out of the Bowl. The chickpeas make it plenty filling for a light and lovely meal.
- With Fresh Greens. If you wanted to up the veggies even more, you could toss this chickpea salad with fresh greens (arugula is my favorite), then add on a bit of extra dressing to create a green salad.
- Chickpea Salad with Avocado. Add big chunks of fresh avocado and halved cherry tomatoes for additional servings of healthy fats and colorful veggies.
- Chickpea Salad Pitas. Stuff it inside warmed, halved whole wheat pita bread for a chickpea salad sandwich.
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
- To Make Ahead. Chop your cucumber, bell peppers, and onions up to 2 days in advance, and store them in separate airtight storage containers in the refrigerator. You can also mix the dressing together up to 2 days in advance, and store it in the refrigerator.
- To Store. Store leftover salad in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
What Goes with Chickpea Salad?
- Chicken. This salad would pair nicely with a grilled chicken breast or this Skillet Tomato Chicken.
- Salmon. Serve this salad with Baked Salmon in Foil or Grilled Salmon in Foil for a healthy, light meal.
- Veggie Burger. A Portobello Mushroom Burger or Super Food Black Bean Vegan Burger would both be tasty with this salad.
Other Healthy Salad Recipes
- Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad
- Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad
- Moroccan Chickpea Salad
- Super Summer Detox Salad
Recommended Tools to Make Chickpea Salad
- Chef’s Knife. One of my most prized kitchen tools. It makes chopping a breeze.
- Mixing Bowls. These are stackable for easy storage, and they work great for this recipe.
- Measuring Spoons. I love how easy these are to store and clean.
I hope this Mediterranean chickpea salad recipe brings some freshness to your week and variety into your healthy meal routine.
If you try the recipe, I’d love to hear what you think! Let me know in the comments section below. Your feedback is so important to me. ♥
Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
FOR THE SALAD:
- 1/2 cup finely diced red onion - about 1/2 small
- 2 cans reduced-sodium chickpeas - (15-ounce cans), rinsed and drained
- 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley - about 1 bunch
- 1 red bell pepper - chopped
- 1 orange bell pepper - or yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper - chopped
- 1/2 large seedless cucumber - chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta - about 4 ounces
FOR THE DRESSING:
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Place the onions in a bowl of cool water and let them soak while you prepare the other ingredients (this removes the harsher bite from the onions, while still giving great flavor).
- Place the chickpeas, parsley, bell peppers, cucumber, and feta in a large serving bowl.
- In a small mixing bowl or large measuring cup, stir together the dressing ingredients: olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Drain the red onions and add them to the chickpea mixture, then pour the dressing over the top. Toss to combine. If time allows, let marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or enjoy immediately.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Serving ideas: This salad is lovely as is, but to transform it into a main dish, try it stuffed inside pita pockets with hummus and mashed avocado or add grilled chicken and serve it over salad greens with an extra squire of lemon juice and drizzle of olive oil.
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