This flavor-packed chickpea salad is the perfect vegan alternative to your favorite chicken salad recipe! The best part is that is only takes 15 minutes to make from start to finish.
This flavorful recipe is delicious when served on its own, on top of a salad or greens, or wrapped up in your favorite tortilla.
Though I typically picture chickpea salad as a spring and summer recipe, you can enjoy this dish all year long.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It's vegan, plant-based, and gluten-free: This dish is a great option for a variety of different dietary needs and preferences!
- 15 minute meal: It takes just fifteen minutes to make this recipe from start to finish and is a super easy recipe to follow.
- Perfect for a make-ahead meal: This chickpea salad recipe actually tastes better on day two! That makes it perfect for meal prepping or an easy and delicious vegan make ahead meal.
Chickpeas: For ease I chose to use canned chickpeas for this recipe. Make sure you drain and rinse them really well before getting started.
Pickles: I used dill pickles in this recipe because they have a ton of really good flavor. I strongly recommend not omitting the pickles or it will really change the overall outcome of the dish.
Fruits, veggies, and nuts: I chose to use a combination of fresh and dried fruits, vegetables, and some nuts in this recipe. It really gives us a great variety of flavors and textures!
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and quantities.
Substitutions & Variations
Swap dill pickles for bread and butter pickles: Though the original recipe calls for dill pickles in both the main ingredients and within the dressing, you can swap them out for bread and butter pickles instead. You will get a different overall flavor but if you prefer them to dill, you can absolutely go for it!
Warm things up: This recipe is intended to be served chilled but you can take things to the next level by heating your chickpea salad instead.
Make a warm chickpea salad melt by toasting a scoop of the chickpea salad and a slice of your favorite vegan cheese on a thick sub roll.
Swap out the fruits or veggies: It's okay if you need or want to swap out any of the ingredients for the main portion of the recipe. I would try to limit swaps or omissions but if you need to take something out I strongly recommend adding two times the amount of something else.
For example, if you don't want to add grapes, add twice the amount of apples.
Add more nuts or seeds: for extra protein and an extra crunch you can add more nuts or add in shelled sunflower seeds or pepitas.
Step by Step Instructions
Image 1: Start by opening the can(s) of chickpeas, draining them, and rinsing them really well. Boil a small pot of water and add the chickpeas to it. Allow them to cook for about 3-5 minutes until they are a slightly softened. Drain them after cooking them.
While the chickpeas cook mix together all of the ingredients for the dressing and set that aside.
Image 2: After the chickpeas have been drained place them between two clean dish towels and roll them around and apply gentle pressure to remove most of the chickpea skins. Toss the skins or compost them.
Use a potato masher or a fork to mash up about half of the chickpeas (or more if you want).
Image 3: Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and pour the dressing on top. Mix well so everything is well coated in the dressing.
Image 4: For best results cover the chickpeas and place them in the refrigerator overnight to allow the flavors to meld. You can enjoy them right away though!
Serve in any way you prefer for a delicious plant-based lunch, dinner, or snack.
How to Serve Chickpea Salad
There are a ton of options when it comes to serving this flavorful recipe. some of my favorite choices include:
- Sandwich: Serve warm or cold between two slices of your favorite bread.
- Wrap: Like the sandwich option, serve with lettuce wrapped up in the tortilla of your choice.
- Salad/Greens: Add a scoop or two on top of your favorite greens or salad. You don't need to add dressing but a light vinaigrette would be a delicious addition.
- Dip: If you plan to eat a lighter lunch you can scoop up bites with your favorite crackers or even thick slices of apples or celery.
- On its Own: One of my favorite options is to simply enjoy this yummy recipe on its own. Grab a fork and dive in.
- Make it in advance. Like many dressings, sauces, and pasta salads, this recipe is best when made slightly in advance. My making this recipe 12-24 house in advance you'll allow the flavors plenty of time to meld which will change the entire taste of the dish for the better!
- Boil the chickpeas. Though it isn't necessary to boil the chickpeas, doing so will give them a much softer texture, will make them easier to mash, and I feel gives the dish an overall better consistency.
- Peel the chickpea skins. If you REALLY want to bring things to the next level texture-wise, gently roll the chickpeas between two clean dish towels after boiling them to remove most of the chickpea skins. This will give you a smoother chickpea texture and consistency.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Chickpeas are an incredible alternative to meat in many recipes and dishes. Like many meats, chickpeas have a neutral flavor and will take on the flavor of the seasonings and sauces that you cook them in.
Many vegans and people eating a plant based diet love incorporating chickpeas into their meals. They are incredibly diverse and take on the flavors that you use in the dish, have a great texture, and help you work toward your daily protein goals.
Short answer, yes canned chickpeas are the same as cooked dried chickpeas. Many people including myself enjoy the flavor and texture of dried then cooked chickpeas as opposed to canned chickpeas but it's not a huge difference. You'll save so much time and effort using canned chickpeas instead.
More Plant-Based Salads You'll Love
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Vegan Chickpea Salad
- 2 cups chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 cup dill pickles finely chopped
- ½ cup apples diced
- ½ cup celery chopped
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup grapes halved
- ½ cup walnuts
- ¼ cup tahini
- 3 tablespoon cool water
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon dill pickles finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Start by draining and rinsing the chickpeas. Add them to a pot of boiling water and allow them to cool & soften for 3-5 minutes. Drain after them are finished cooking.
- While the chickpeas cook mix all of the ingredients together for the dressing and set that to the side.
- Wash and prep all of the remaining ingredients according to the ingredient list.
- Once the chickpeas have cooled slightly place them between two dish towels and roll them around applying gentle pressure to remove most of the chickpea skins. Toss the skins then mash half of the chickpeas using a fork or potato masher. Mix all of the ingredients including the dressing together.