If you ask me, I’m a Salad fan and also have a great liking for Mediterranean flavors. This is the reason I simply love this Mediterranean Chickpea Salad. The crunch from the onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers in this tasty Chickpea Salad makes it a favorite, instantly. In addition to this, the spiced, herby lemon dressing adds a tang and a ton of flavor, and the olives bring in the desired umaminess. The recipe is vegan and gluten free. So, there’s absolutely nothing in this salad that you won’t like.
Table of Contents
About This Chickpea Salad
This Chickpea Salad is a Mediterranean style preparation as the ingredients in it are typically the ones used extensively in this particular food culture.
You have chickpeas, then olives, parsley and others. I have not added croutons or fried bread cubes in it, but you can add it as well in order to boost the crunchiness in the salad.
As a whole, Mediterranean cuisine is basically formed of the following cuisines: Greek, Turkish, French (majorly from the Provence region), Italian, Egyptian, Levantine, Maghrebi (northwest Africa), Spanish and a bit of Portuguese.
Traditionally, there’s a famous ‘Mediterranean trinity’ of 3 key ingredients, that is olive oil, wheat bread and wine, used in this type of cooking. Although this Chickpea Salad has just one of these, that is olive and olive oil.
There are many ways to prepare this specific salad. But I have made it into a Mediterranean Chickpea Salad which is a must try. This cuisine uses fresh produce in wonderful ways to create a dish, which is healthy as well as delectable. This salad is one such example.
How to make Chickpea Salad
Cook Chickpeas and More Prep
1. First rinse 1 cup chickpeas a few times in water. Then, soak in 3 cups water for 8 hours or overnight. After soaking the chickpeas will increase in size.
For any dish with chickpeas, I always use dried chickpeas. First, soak chickpeas in water for 8 hours. Then, cook them in an Instant Pot or stovetop pressure cooker.
Here I have shown the Instant Pot method, but then the chickpeas cook perfectly in a stovetop pressure cooker as well.
2. Rinse the chickpeas a few times again in water. Drain the water and transfer the soaked chickpeas in the Instant Pot insert.
3. Add 1 teaspoon salt.
4. Add 3 cups water. Stir to mix.
5. Close with the Instant Pot lid and set the vent to sealing position. Use the manual mode or pressure cook mode and set the time to 30 minutes at high pressure.
If cooking chickpeas in a stovetop pressure cooker, add the soaked chickpeas, 1 teaspoon salt and 3 cups water in a 3 liter pressure cooker.
On medium to medium-high heat, pressure cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until the chickpeas are tender. When the pressure settles down naturally in the cooker, then only open the lid.
6. After the cooking is complete and the Instant Pot beeps, wait for 12 to 15 minutes. Lift the vent and carefully release any extra pressure.
Remove the lid. Press the chickpeas with a spoon and they should flatten and get mashed easily.
Cool and taste a few chickpeas. If they have a firm bite in the center, this means that they are undercooked.
7. Using a mesh strainer, carefully drain all the water from the cooked chickpeas and keep aside.
8. Rinse and prep the vegetables. You need ½ cup chopped tomatoes, ½ cup finely chopped onions, ½ cup chopped cucumber and ½ cup chopped red bell pepper.
Also, finely chop 4 pitted green olives and 4 pitted kalamata olives or black olives. Peel the cucumber if the skins are thick.
9. In a mixing bowl, take 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, ½ teaspoon raw sugar and ½ teaspoon salt or as required.
10. Stir to combine thoroughly with a wired whisk.
11. Next, add ½ to 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, ½ teaspoon ground cumin (cumin powder) and ½ teaspoon crushed black pepper.
12. Add dried herbs – ¼ teaspoon dried thyme, ¼ teaspoon dried basil and ¼ teaspoon oregano. Choose to add your preferred dried herbs or fresh herbs.
If you like garlic, add about ½ teaspoon minced garlic at this point.
13. Stir to mix again.
Make Chickpea Salad
14. Add the cooked chickpeas to the prepared dressing in the bowl.
If using canned chickpeas, add at this point. Drain the liquids and rinse 3 cups of canned chickpeas a few times in water. Drain thoroughly and add to the dressing.
15. Add finely chopped onions and chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, red bell pepper. Also add finely chopped green olives and kalamata olives or black olives.
16. Next, add 3 tablespoons chopped parsley or coriander leaves.
17. Toss and mix thoroughly so that the dressing coats the chickpeas and the vegetables. Check seasonings and add more salt, lemon juice, paprika or black pepper, if needed.
18. Garnish Mediterranean Chickpea Salad with 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley and serve immediately.
Do not let the salad rest as the vegetables release water. So, only assemble the salad when you want to eat it.
Why Salads Work
A salad is one of those dishes which is present in each and every cuisine in this world. Salads can be warm, cold, sweet, sour, tangy, for summers or winters. You can even have a salad as a mid-day snack or a complete meal. It is wholesome, fills you up and keeps you light as well. Ever seen another dish as versatile as a salad?
As I said in the beginning, I am a salad lover as it also most of the times gets done quickly, and is a fuss-free preparation. So, on days, when I am tied with work or feeling a little lazy to spend hours in the kitchen, I toss up a salad within seconds and have a happy meal with it. Not to forget, a salad is the best bet during a hot day or in the summer season. It is refreshing, cooling and soothing.
Isn’t it obvious then, that I love working on different salad recipes? Because you never really know what pairs well with a certain ingredient and results in a fun, colorful, hearty salad. Some of my all-time picks include this Mediterranean Chickpea Salad, Sprouts Salad, Potato Salad, Avocado Salad, Corn Salad and the basic Vegetable Salad to name a few.
- Canned Chickpeas: If you have canned chickpeas, you can use them too. Take about 3 cups of canned chickpeas, drain the liquid and rinse well in water. To make a warm salad, heat the chickpeas gently in hot water. Drain and use as listed in the recipe.
- Chickpea Quality: When using dried chickpeas, ensure to use fresh ones and not the ones that are old or have turned rancid. Aged chickpeas also take a longer time to cook.
- Herbs: Some fresh herbs that go great in this salad are chives, dill, basil, parsley, oregano and coriander or cilantro. You can use either fresh herbs, dried herbs or a combination of both.
- Veggies: Don’t have bell peppers or cucumber? Skip them.
- Fats: Though the salad is best made with olive oil, if you don’t have it at home, use a light neutral oil like sunflower oil.
- Cheese: I have not added feta or parmesan cheese in this recipe. If you like these and have it handy, add. Paneer also works well in this recipe. Want to make it vegan? Use tofu.
Please be sure to rate the recipe in the recipe card or leave a comment below if you have made it. For more vegetarian inspirations, Sign Up for my emails or follow me on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.
Chickpea Salad Recipe (Mediterranean Style)
- 1 cup dried chickpeas – 190 grams will yield 3 cups cooked chickpeas, swap with 3 cups of canned chickpeas instead – read point no 1 in notes below
- 3 cups water – for soaking dried chickpeas
- 3 cups water – for pressure cooking in Instant Pot or stovetop Pressure Cooker
- 1 teaspoon salt or add as required
- ½ cup finely chopped onions
- ½ cup chopped tomatoes
- ½ cup chopped cucumber
- ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
- 4 green olives – pitted, finely chopped
- 4 kalamata olives or black olives, pitted, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro (coriander leaves)
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley or cilantro – for garnish
For Lemon Dressing
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon raw sugar or regular sugar
- ½ to 1 teaspoon sweet paprika or ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne or red chilli powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin (cumin powder)
- ½ teaspoon crushed black pepper or add as required
- ½ teaspoon salt or add as required
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ tsp dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic – optional
- First rinse the dried chickpeas a few times in water. In a bowl, soak chickpeas in 3 cups water overnight or for 8 to 9 hours. Cover the bowl while the chickpeas are soaking.
- Before cooking, drain all the water from the soaked chickpeas using a mesh strainer or colander. Rinse the chickpeas again a few times in water.
- Now you can cook chickpeas in pan on the stovetop, Instant Pot or in a stovetop pressure cooker.
To cook chickpeas in an Instant pot
- Add the soaked chickpeas, 3 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt in the inner insert of a 6 quart IP.
- Seal tightly with the lid and set the vent to sealing position.
- Press the manual mode/pressure cook mode and cook on high pressure by setting the time for 30 minutes.
- When you hear the beep sound after 30 minutes of pressure cooking, wait for 12 to 15 minutes. Then lift the vent carefully and release any extra pressure.
- Remove the lid. Press the chickpeas with a spoon and they should flatten and get mashed easily.
- Cool and taste a few chickpeas. If they have a firm bite in the center, this means that they are undercooked.
- If the chickpeas are cooked perfectly, carefully drain all the water and set cooked chickpeas aside.
Cooking Chickpeas in a stovetop pressure cooker
- Add the rinsed and soaked chickpeas, 1 teaspoon salt and 3 cups water in a 3 liter stovetop pressure cooker.
- On medium to medium-high heat, pressure cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until the chickpeas are tender. When the pressure settles down naturally, then only open the lid.
- Drain all the water and set cooked chickpeas aside.
Make lemon dressing
- In a mixing bowl, take all the ingredients listed under "For Lemon Dressing".
- With a wired whisk mix thoroughly.
Make Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- Add the cooked chickpeas.
- Add the finely chopped onions and the chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, red bell peppers. Also add finely chopped green olives and kalamata olives or black olives.
- Add 3 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves or cilantro (coriander leaves).
- Toss and mix the chickpeas, veggies and olives with the dressing.
- Check the seasonings and add more lemon juice, salt or paprika or black pepper if needed.
- Serve Chickpea Salad immediately garnished with finely chopped parsley or coriander leaves. Do not refrigerate or store the salad as on resting the veggies release water.
- If using canned chickpeas, add 3 cups of canned chickpeas. First drain all the liquids from the cans. Rinse chickpeas a few times in water. Make the lemon dressing and add rinsed chickpeas together with the chopped veggies, olives to it. Mix and serve.
- If making the salad with dried chickpeas, make sure to use chickpeas that are within their expiry date.
- This same salad can be made with cooked kidney beans, black eyed beans, pinto beans and fava beans. If you can get black chickpeas, make the salad with these and it will be delicious.
- Use either fresh herbs or dried herbs or a mix of both depending on what is available to you.
- Easily cut down on the seasonings and ground spices according to your taste buds.