This quick and easy Mediterranean Chickpea Salad has it all – punchy flavor, bright colors, loads of nutrients, and enough fiber and protein to keep you full and fueled for hours. Naturally vegan, it’s packed with plant based protein and nutrient dense vegetables.
If I said you could make an incredibly flavorful meal packed with protein, fiber, and vitamins in just 20 minutes without even looking at your oven, what would you say?
Liar, liar, pants on fire?
This situation is legit thanks to this herby, veggie-packed Mediterranean Chickpea Salad.
Using one of my favorite pantry staples (canned chickpeas) and a handful of fresh ingredients, you can be shoving this simple salad into your hungry face in less time than it takes to pre-heat the oven. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but I’m telling you, this recipe is quick! It’s also crave-worthy delicious, super filling, and flexible for everything from a weeknight dinner to a impressive potluck offering.
Mediterranean Style Chickpea Salad Ingredients
This ingredient list for this simple vegan salad is short, so go for the freshest and best quality ingredients you can source.
- Chickpeas: while we typically reach for beans cooked from scratch, we absolutely love using canned chickpeas in a salad. Their firm texture is perfect. Just be sure to drain then rinse thoroughly.
- Persian Cucumbers: Persian cucumbers are great for this recipe. They’re small and sweet with thin skin that doesn’t need to be peeled, and tiny seeds that don’t need to be scraped out. If you can’t find Persian cucumbers at your grocery store, opt for an english cucumber (also known as hothouse). These cucumbers needn’t be peeled, but I would scrape the seeds out before dicing.
- Ripe Tomatoes: use any ripe and juicy tomatoes you can get your hands on. You’ll want about 2 cups total. If using grape or cherry tomatoes, simply quarter them.
- Bell Pepper: any color bell pepper works here (red, orange, yellow) but I like yellow for the visual contrast to the tomatoes.
- Red Onion: self-explanatory! If you don’t like red onions or find their flavor too harsh, substitute four green onions, and slice them thinly.
- Fresh Mint and Parsley: they key here is fresh – dried herbs won’t yield the same flavor.
- Lemon Juice: fresh squeezed is best, but don’t stress if you only have the bottled kind – just make sure it’s fresh.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: use a good quality evoo for buttery, slightly peppery flavor.
- Paprika: just a bit adds a kick of flavor. Sweet or smoked paprika both work.
- Salt and Pepper: we reach for sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
How to make this chickpea salad
A quick, filling meal doesn’t get any easier than this. Naturally vegan and super quick (just 20 minutes!) this versatile chickpea salad is packed with fiber, protein, and a rainbow of healthy vegetables, then served simply with grilled pita bread. It’s an incredibly flexible and forgiving recipe, so it’s perfect for everything from meal prep to a potluck salad or weeknight side dish.
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- Marinate the chickpeas. A simple 15 or so minute marinate adds wonderful flavor to canned chickpeas, plus the acid and salt help soften them up a bit.
- Drain two cans of chickpeas, place into a colander or fine mesh sieve, and rinse under cool running water until the water runs clear.
- Transfer the chickpeas to a large mixing bowl and add lemon juice, olive oil, paprika, and salt.
- Toss to coat the chickpeas in the marinade, then place into the fridge to marinate for at least 15 minutes, and up to an hour.
- Dice the vegetables – cucumbers, tomatoes, bell pepper, and red onion. Aim for a ½″ dice, about the size of a chickpea, to ensure the flavors and textures from each ingredient are present in every bite.
- Mince the fresh herbs – mint and parsley. It’s okay if you mince some of the softer parsley stems, but do pluck the mint leaves from the woody stems first.
- Add the diced vegetables, chopped herbs, and a few rounds of cracked black pepper to the marinated chickpeas, then toss.
- Taste for seasoning and add more lemon juice, salt, pepper, or paprika to taste.
- Chickpea salad can be enjoyed immediately, especially if you’ve allowed the chickpeas to marinate for closer to an hour. You can also chill for an additional 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld further.
How to store chickpea salad
Store this salad in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days. I think it’s even better 24 hours after chilling, so it’s perfect for meal prep or a make-ahead side dish.
Give the leftovers a good stir before serving, as the dressing will have settled to the bottom of the container.
Because it’s vegan, this salad can stand at room temperature for 2 hours, so it’s perfect for entertaining.
Can I use chickpeas cooked from scratch?
Yes! Use 3 cups cooked chickpeas. I typically reach for scratch-cooked beans, but I actually prefer the firmer texture of canned chickpeas in a raw salad. If cooking from scratch, make sure the beans are on the firmer side.
What to serve with Mediterranean chickpea salad
- Serve this as a main dish with fresh pita bread. You may also want to toss in a few cups of baby arugula. This salad is packed with fiber and protein, so it’s got staying power.
- Serve this as a side dish with chicken shawarma and a dollop of yogurt or with beef kofta and tahini dressing.
- This salad tastes wonderful at room temperature, so pack it up for a potluck or offer it at your next picnic or backyard BBQ.
Tips for Making This Salad Perfectly
- Rinse the canned chickpeas throughly to remove the starchy liquid (aquafaba).
- Allow the chickpeas to marinate – don’t rush it! Marinating the chickpeas will infuse them with flavor, and also tenderize canned chickpeas. If you have the time, chill the finished salad for an additional 30 minutes – it will only improve the flavor.
- Season with salt conservatively if using canned chickpeas – they tend to have a lot of salt already, and it’s easy to over salt. You can always add more seasoning once the salad comes together.
- Be sure to dice the vegetables to a uniform size of about half an inch, roughly the size of a chickpea. This will give you a bit of each flavor and texture in every bite.
Make it your way
- Cheese: if you believe as I do that most dishes can be improved by the addition of cheese, add a cup of feta cheese along with the chopped vegetables.
- Yogurt: a dollop of greek yogurt goes a long way for both texture and flavor (and some extra protein too!).
- Olives: half a cup of your favorite marinated olives for extra fat and flavor. If you add olives, reduce the salt in the marinade by half.
- Greens: stir in 2 cups baby arugula.
- Pita Chips: this recipe is terrific as a dip! Serve with pita chips.
More quick veggie packed salads
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- Drain the chick peas, transfer to a strainer, then rinse under cool running water until the water runs clean from the strainer.
- In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas with the lemon juice, olive oil, paprika, and salt. Stir to combine. Cover the bowl and transfer to the fridge. Marinate at least 15 minutes and up to an hour.
- While the chickpeas marinate, dice the vegetables and chop the fresh herbs.
- Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, onion, mint, and parsley to the marinated chickpeas and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt, pepper, or lemon juice if needed until the flavor pops.
- Serve immediately with fresh pita. If time permits, chill for 30 minutes, then serve. Store leftovers in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 3 days.
- Substitute chickpeas 3 cups of cooked-from-scratch chickpeas for canned chickpeas.
- If time allows, chill the finished salad for 30 minutes.
- Season with salt conservatively if using canned chickpeas as they tend to have a high sodium content. Taste for seasoning at the end and add more if needed.
- Dice the vegetables to a uniform size of about half an inch, roughly the size of a chickpea, for best texture.
- Optional: add a a cup of feta cheese along with the chopped vegetables.
- Storage: store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days.