This 15-minute Simple Chickpea Salad is an easy and healthy summertime favorite. Canned chickpeas and a medley of vegetables are tossed in a lemon vinaigrette, then garnished with fresh herbs. Bring it to summer picnics, make it for healthy lunches, and more!
Chickpeas are some of my favorite beans to use in healthy recipes. Not only are they inexpensive and have a long shelf life, but they’re incredibly versatile! You can use them to make homemade hummus, as a protein source in soups and stews, or use them to add bulk to simple salads. The options are endless!
They’re what make this Simple Chickpea Salad so special. It’s a summertime favorite that’s bursting with plant-based protein, colorful vegetables, seeds, and herbs, all of which are dressed in an easy lemon vinaigrette. It’s the best way to eat the rainbow!
Why this recipe works
- The best well-rounded meal: Every bite of this vegan summer salad has a good mix of plant-based protein, healthy fats, and nourishing and cooling ingredients.
- Perfect for every occasion: Chickpea cucumber salad will always be a popular pick, whether you serve it for holidays, potlucks, summer picnics, or get-togethers with friends.
- So flexible: I’ve included a ton of variations to help you make this salad your own. Have fun with it!
Ingredients and substitutions
Chickpeas, herbs, and vegetables are dressed in a lemon vinaigrette to make this summer salad. These are the ingredients you need to make it:
- Chickpeas - I used canned chickpeas to keep the process quick and easy but boiled chickpeas will work just as well (learn how to cook dried chickpeas in the FAQs below).
- Cucumbers - Use Persian cucumbers (or mini cucumbers) to make the best cucumber chickpea salad. They’re much more tart, flavorful, and sweet than English cucumbers.
- Cherry tomatoes
- Red bell pepper - These are deliciously juicy and sweet in the salad! Feel free to use orange or yellow bell peppers instead.
- Red onion
- Sunflower seeds - For crunch and texture in the salad. You can swap these with any nuts or seeds you like (find more suggestions in the Variations below).
- Avocado oil - To make the vinaigrette. Feel free to use olive oil instead if that’s what you already have at home.
- Dijon mustard - Try not to replace this with yellow mustard, as it doesn’t have as much depth as Dijon.
- Dried oregano - On its own, dried oregano gives the salad dressing floral and herbaceous notes. To enhance these flavors, add a dried Italian seasoning blend or dried thyme to the dressing as well.
- Salt and pepper
- Lemon juice - Freshly squeezed lemon juice gives the simple vinaigrette its signature pop of brightness. Don’t skip it!
How to make a simple chickpea salad
This is an easy chickpea salad you can have ready and on the table in less than 15 minutes. Here’s how it’s made:
Step 1 - Add the chickpeas, vegetables, herbs, and seeds to a large bowl. Use two large spoons to toss them all together.
Step 2 - Make the lemon dressing by adding the oil, garlic, mustard, lemon juice, herbs, salt, and pepper to a jar. Seal the lid on top and shake to combine.
Step 3 - Pour the dressing over the chickpeas and vegetables before serving. Toss to combine, then garnish with fresh mint and lemon slices. Enjoy!
Tips for success
- If the raw red onion is too strong or tart for your taste, let the pieces soak in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes before adding it to the salad. This will tone down the strong flavors without taking away its sweetness.
- Only add the lemon dressing right before serving the salad. If you add it too soon, the vegetables and seeds will soak it up and become soggy.
- The dressing can be made up to 1 week before serving. Keep it in a jar in the fridge, then pour it over the salad right before serving.
Scoop up every bite of salad with pita bread, tortilla chips, pita chips, or crackers. Enjoy with cut veggies and more summer recipes or picnic favorites on the side, like BBQ chicken thighs, strawberry salad, sheet pan shrimp, veggies and sausage kabobs, stuffed zucchini boats, lemon butter scallops, or whipped feta dip.
- Use any vegetables or fruits you love - Load the salad with all of your favorites, like avocado, corn kernels, shredded carrots, olives, watermelon, steamed broccoli, Roma tomatoes, celery, peas, green beans, and so much more.
- Add cheese - Make it a Mediterranean chickpea salad by tossing in crumbled feta cheese.
- Add greens - Give it some extra bulk by tossing the chickpeas and vegetables with your favorite salad greens. Mixed greens, spinach, romaine, or arugula would all be tasty here.
- Give it some crunch - I love sunflower seeds for their subtle crunch but you can use pumpkin seeds, pistachios, or almonds in their place.
- Change the herbs - Toss in fresh or dried basil, Italian seasoning, mint, or parsley instead of or in addition to the cilantro.
- Add grains - Just like in my Quinoa Chickpea Salad, a scoop of your favorite cooked grains will add plenty of bulk here.
- Swap the dressing - Dress the chickpea salad in an orange vinaigrette, balsamic vinaigrette, or green goddess dressing instead of the lemon salad dressing.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, chickpeas are very healthy. Just 1 cup of chickpeas has over 40 grams of protein, which means that one serving of this salad should keep you full for hours. They’re also a fantastic source of fiber, B vitamins, and minerals.
Absolutely! Making this salad with cooked chickpeas means it will contain less sodium per serving, will have more flavor, and you’ll have better control over the texture of the finished beans.
Soak the dried chickpeas in a pot of water overnight, then drain the next day. Transfer the soaked and rinsed chickpeas to a large pot and cover them with water by 2 inches. Add in 2 bay leaves and a pinch of salt for flavor. Bring the water up to a boil, then reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 40 to 50 minutes (less time if you want firmer beans).
The leftover salad can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Looking for more summer salads to try?
- Mediterranean Hummus Salad
- Green Tuna Salad
- Watermelon Feta Salad
- Crunchy Cauliflower Rice Salad
- Tropical Fruit Salad
Simple Chickpea Salad
- 2 15oz cans chickpeas drained, rinsed
- 4 mini Cucumbers chopped small
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- ½ red onion chopped
- 1 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- 3 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lemon juiced
- Add chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, cilantro and sunflower seeds in a large bowl. Toss to combine
- In a small jar mix salad dressing ingredients and shake well to combine.
- When ready to serve toss in the dressing. Garnish salad with fresh mint leaves and lemon slices for a fresh and bright touch.
Helen Lama says
It’s really a good and refreshing salad
Silvia Dunnirvine says
Yes Helen, I couldn't agree more 🙂 thanks for your feedback!