How about a delicious chickpea salad that's budget-friendly, healthy, and ready in 15 minutes or less? Sign. Me. Up.
While this recipe is crazy easy, there are a few important nuances to make it GREAT. Texture is the name of the game when you're making a chickpea salad like this, so pay attention to the size and how you chop everything.
The secret = chop all ingredients the same size as the chickpeas
Most people will make this salad and wonder why it doesn't look like the photo. The biggest reason this happens is that most people don't pay enough attention to the TEXTURE of the ingredients when chopping the veggies. To make a salad like this great, take the time to chop all of the ingredients to be about the same size.
Aside from being super easy and delicious, another reason I love this Mediterranean chickpea salad recipe is that it's SUPER flexible.
Don't like olives? Leave 'em out.
Prefer goat cheese over feta (or no cheese?). Sub it out.
Use it as a side dish, a healthy lunch or make it a complete meal. Below are some variations you can use to make this salad fit into your meal plan.
Tip: English cucumbers cost slightly more but are more crunchy and you don't have to seed or peel them so I think they're totally worth it. If using a regular cucumber, consider using a veggie peeler to remove half of the skin (it's tough) and use a spoon to seed it before you chop it. The seedy area will make your salad soggy.
Mediterranean Chickpea Salad Variations
This gorgeous chickpea salad is already gluten-free, soy-free, and corn-free, and it's easy to make dairy-free by omitting the feta cheese.
Make It Vegan:
- Simply leave out the feta cheese to make this chickpea salad vegan. Real feta cheese is often sold in blocks and is made from sheep's milk (or a blend of sheep's milk and goat's milk), which is easier to digest than cow's milk. If you avoid cow's milk like I do, look for authentic feta in the specialty cheese section of your store.
Make It a Meal:
- Including the quinoa in this dish turns it into a meal itself. Quinoa is packed with protein and fiber, which both fill you up and keep your blood sugar stable.
- If desired, serve this chickpea salad topped with 4 ounces of cooked salmon or chicken to turn this into an extra-filling meal. Use leftover salmon or chicken from a recipe earlier in the week to make it even easier.
Make It a Mixed Green Salad:
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad is awesome tossed with arugula or mixed salad greens. I like to use ½ cup of Mediterranean Chickpea Salad for every large handful of (2 cups lightly packed) greens. Double the dressing recipe when you make it and keep in a jar. Add an extra drizzle of dressing to the greens and bam, a big mixed green salad that's always interesting, never boring.
Make It Even Quicker:
- Prepare quinoa once a week to use in recipes like this. Cooked quinoa will keep in the refrigerator (or in a recipe like this or this) up to seven days. I like to make 2 cups quinoa (from 1 cup dried) and then use it in this recipe, make a few quinoa berry breakfast bowls, and one other quinoa salad in the week. Quinoa is easy to prepare (learn the trick here), and making it ahead makes whipping up this salad even easier.
How to Keep Your Mediterranean Chickpea Salad Budget-Friendly
Chickpeas (and beans in general) are already a pretty great price. Here are my tips to keep this chickpea salad as budget-conscious as possible:
- Buy dry quinoa in the bulk section of your store if your store doesn't have a good price in the packages (buy just ½ cup dry in the bulk section)
- Consider growing mint and basil in pots on your patio or in a garden. Both are easy and inexpensive to grow (especially mint!)—you can find starter plants at a local nursery, hardware store, or some grocery stores for around $3 and they'll produce months worth of food. Substitute them with my recommendations in the recipe notes below if you can't find fresh herbs at a good price.
- Consider using Thrive Market (a direct to consumer healthy market) for all of your pantry goods. I buy all of my extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, most beans and nuts, albacore tuna, parchment paper and more on Thrive Market because they have the best prices.
- I like to buy a small glass jar of kalamata olives in the condiments section (as opposed to the fresh olive bar) or on Thrive Market. A glass jar of olives will keep 2-4 weeks in the refrigerator to snack on or use in other recipes. You can also substitute them with a small can of black olives, which usually cost less.
Now it's time to make it. Be sure to come back and leave a comment if you make it with tips for readers in our community. Enjoy!Print
This Mediterranean Chickpea Salad recipe makes 4 large (meal size) servings or 8 small (side dish) servings. We love to make it at the beginning of the week and eat it for lunch all week long. If you love it, please leave a star rating in the comments below to help other readers in our community (thank you!).
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- optional: ½ cup cooked quinoa (from ¼ cup dry quinoa), see notes
- 2 (15-ounce) cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ large English cucumber*, chopped into ¼-inch cubes [if using a regular cucumber, seed it before chopping] (about 2 cups total)
- 1 pint small grape tomatoes, cut in halves or quarters (about 1.5 cups total)
- ¼ cup shaved or finely chopped red onion (halve it then use a veggie peeler to shave it if desired)
- ¼ cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced into halves or thirds
- 3 tablespoons feta cheese crumbles (leave out to make this vegan)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint (about 10 large mint leaves, chopped)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (about 10 large basil leaves, chopped)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt (plus more to taste if needed)
- a few spins freshly cracked black pepper
- (If using quinoa, prepare the quinoa first while you make the rest of the salad.)
Rinse the chickpeas and allow to drain well while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, and a few spins of freshly cracked black pepper. Set aside while you chop the veggies. (I make the dressing in the bowl I'll serve this in to save dishes. Alternatively, whish or shake the dressing ingredients in a mason jar and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.)
- Chop the cucumber, tomatoes, and olives to be about the same size as the chickpeas (about ¼-inch in size).
- Shave or finely chop the red onion. (I prefer to shave it with a veggie peeler, but chopped works too.)
- Chiffonade cut the herbs into shreds by stacking the leaves up and rolling them, then slicing them the short way into ⅛-inch shreds (Or simply shred or tear them into small pieces.)
- Add the drained chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, and onions to the bowl of dressing. Toss to coat all of the ingredients with the dressing. Add the fresh herbs and feta cheese if using and toss one more time.
- Taste and add another sprinkle of salt if needed. It's ready to eat right away, although we do think it tastes better if it sits in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow the veggies to absorb some of the dressing. Serve or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This salad does not freeze well (but we never have leftovers so not a problem.)
- This salad is great with or without the quinoa. It's more filling and more of a meal with the quinoa added to it.
- If needed, learn the trick to prepare perfect quinoa on this blog post.
- *English cucumbers cost slightly more but are more crunchy and you don't have to seed or peel them so I think they're totally worth it. If using a regular cucumber, consider using a veggie peeler to remove half of the skin (it's tough) and use a spoon to seed it before you chop it. The seedy area will make your salad soggy.
- I grow basil and mint in my garden, which makes this salad super affordable. (They both grow easily in pots, I suggest growing some if you can.) The fresh herbs are wonderful in this salad, but if you don't have access to fresh herbs, you can substitute them in this recipe for ¼ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning added to the dressing instead of using fresh herbs.
- If you only have mint or basil, this salad is still great. Use 2 tablespoons total chopped herbs (more or less to taste depending on your preference.)
- Any combination of fresh leafy herbs can work in this salad, so use up what you have on hand if needed. Parsley and mint, basil and oregano, or cilantro and mint would all be great here. I would avoid woody herbs such as rosemary or thyme in this recipe as they may be too heavy. Fresh oregano is extra strong, use only 1 teaspoon freshly chopped if you use it.
Keywords: Mediterranean Chickpea Salad, Chickpea Salad Recipe