This 20-minute chickpea salad has a creamy avocado dressing with basil and lemon. It is a great protein source for plant-based diets and is perfect to serve at potlucks, summer cookouts, picnics and barbecues.

This easy tasty vegan recipe makes a great side dish for Grilled Lemon Marinated Chicken or goes along with Burgers or grilled pork tenderloin.

close-up of chickpea salad

Why We Love This Chickpea Salad Recipe

Serve this salad when you want to round out your barbecue menu with a nutritious plant-based side dish. In addition to being a great side dish for potlucks to pair with traditional grilled meats, it also serves as a great source of protein for vegetarians. It is a terrific alternative to three bean salad because it is colorful and the flavors pair with a variety of cuisines.

It is one of my favorite salads for entertaining or meal prep because it can be made ahead and sits well and once it is stirred together it doesn’t become soggy when it is made for a picnic or cookout.

It is loaded with fresh veggies and vibrant flavors from lemon zest and basil.

This is a great recipe all summer long! I love this salad as an easy weekday lunch any time of year for both meat-eaters or those following a vegan diet. I am so excited to share this easy chickpea salad recipe, and I cannot wait to hear what you think. So stir up a big batch and enjoy!

Ingredient Notes

ingredients for the salad with labels

Canned Chickpeas

I used canned chickpeas, also sometimes called garbanzo beans, for this recipe so that it would come together super fast. Since canned chickpeas are already cooked it is ready in less time than cooking from scratch!

Once you open the cans, drain the liquid by pouring them into a strainer. Then rinse off any excess canning liquid with cool tap water. Rinsing and draining help reduce the amount of sodium in the recipe.

If you like to cook your beans from scratch you can do that instead. Instructions are below in the expert tips section. You can also use your Instant pot to cook dry chickpeas without soaking.

Avocado

I wanted to make this salad both creamy and vegan, so I used avocado in the dressing to make it thick and creamy (like mayonnaise) but still plant-based. Look for a black-skinned and soft avocado, that is not too mushy or past ripe.

Basil, Parsley and Lemon

For amazing flavor, you’ll need a half cup of chopped fresh basil. This goes right into the food processor with the avocado and it makes the dressing so good!

The dressing also has fresh lemon juice and zest from a whole lemon. Look for organic lemon when using lemon for zesting to avoid pesticide residue. Zest the lemon first before cutting it in half to juice it.

I also used a considerable amount (1 cup) of chopped fresh parsley to bulk up the serving and add freshness. If you are a fan of fresh dill you could add in a teaspoon or so, depending on your personal taste.

Vegetables

I also used red bell pepper, red onion and cucumber. Here’s how to dice onion if you need a refresher. You can also use finely sliced green onions or scallions instead of red onion.

The crunch of the crisp cucumbers is a really nice aspect of this recipe, so to prevent the cucumber from becoming watery, cut it in half lengthwise, and then scoop out the seeds with a spoon. You can use English cucumber or Persian cucumbers, which have very few seeds in them to begin with. Once you remove the seeds, chop the cucumber.

If you do not care for red pepper, you can swap in green pepper or use a cup or so of cherry tomatoes (cut into halves) instead.

This recipe is really flexible, so if you happen to have extra veggies that you are hoping to use up, go ahead and chop them ad add them in.

How To Make Chickpea Salad

Step 1

Puree the avocado with the garlic, lemon, lemon juice, olive oil, basil and salt until it is smooth. You can use a food processor or mini-prep to do this. If you don’t own one, you can also do this by hand, but make sure to chop the basil as fine as possible so that it really blends the flavors into the dressing.

the dressing after being pureed in the food processor

Step 2

Combine the drained chickpeas, chopped bell pepper, cucumber and red onion in a bowl with the parsley.

the chickpeas and veggies in the bowl

Step 3

Mix the dressing into the chickpea salad and stir until it is completely coated with the dressing. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste if necessary.

dressing and chickpea mixture once it is mixed together

FAQs, Tips and Tricks For Making Chickpea Salad

How many cups does this make and what is the serving size?

This recipe makes seven cups total, for seven one-cup side dish servings. To serve this as a plant-based main course, you can double the portions.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

The best way to make this ahead is to chop the veggies and keep them separate. Once it is stirred together it should be served within four hours. The dressing keeps well in an airtight container with a layer of plastic wrap pressed against the surface. It may darken slightly but the flavor will be good. Note that the flavors may be slightly muted, so make sure to season with salt and pepper just before serving. If you are concerned about the appearance, it is best to make the dressing and use it within four hours.

Can I use dried chickpeas instead of canned chickpeas?

Yes! To make this salad with dried chickpeas, do the following:

  1. Start with 1 cup of dried chickpeas.
  2. Soak them overnight on the countertop in plenty of cool tap water.
  3. Drain, cover with fresh water in a large saucepan, and simmer until they are tender.
  4. Make sure to monitor the level of the water so that it doesn’t get too low.
  5. Cooking times vary from 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  6. Drain well and cool the chickpeas with cool running water before adding them to the salad.
  7. Season with additional salt as the canned chickpeas would have been salted.

Do canned chickpeas need to be cooked?

Canned chickpeas are already cooked and do not need to be cooked further.

Should I wash canned chickpeas?

We always recommend draining and rinsing canned chickpeas and other beans because this helps to remove any excess canning liquid and additional sodium. The only exception to this is if a recipe specifically calls for the canning liquid.

What other kinds of dressings goes well with chickpea salad?

My lemon vinaigrette or this tarragon vinaigrette would both be good alternatives to the lemon basil avocado dressing. You can also use balsamic vinaigrette instead of these other two options. Use 3/4 cup dressing per batch of salad. Make sure to taste and adjust the seasoning too!

Variations To Try

  • Instead of the avocado dressing, use our Lemon Tahini dressing and add in black olives and feta cheese for a Mediterranean-inspired combination.
  • Sub in a blend of other tender herbs for some or all of the basil such as dill, cilantro, tarragon or chervil.
  • Swap out the raw onion, cucumbers and red bell peppers and add in roasted veggies instead. A blend of onion, pepper and either eggplant or zucchini would be lovely.
  • Add in sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts.
creamy chickpeas with herbs and red pepper closeup

Try These Other Chickpea Recipes

Try These Other Delicious Healthy Bean Salad Recipes

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter where I share weeknight meal plans delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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overhead of bowl of chickpea salad with herb sprigs to garnish

Chickpea Salad Recipe


  • Author: Katie
  • Total Time: 20
  • Yield: 7 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This easy tasty vegan chickpea salad has a creamy avocado dressing with basil and lemon. It is a great protein source for plant based diets and is perfect to serve at potlucks, summer cookouts, picnic and barbecues.


Ingredients

Scale

1 avocado

1  clove garlic, minced

1 lemon, zested and juiced

½ cup chopped basil

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced

1 small red bell pepper, diced

1/3 cup chopped red onion

1 cup chopped parsley


Instructions

  1. Puree avocado, garlic, lemon zest and juice, basil, olive oil and salt in a food processor or mini prep.
  2. Combine chickpeas, cucumber, red pepper, red onion and parsley in a large bowl.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately, or chill up to 4 hours.

Notes

MAKE AHEAD INSTRUCTIONS

The best way to make this ahead is to chop the veggies and keep them separate. Once it is stirred together it should be served within four hours. The dressing keeps well in an airtight container with a layer of plastic wrap pressed against the surface. It may darken slightly but the flavor will be good. If you are concerned about the appearance, it is best to make the dressing and use it within four hours. 

  • Prep Time: 20
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: No cook
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 209
  • Sugar: 5 g
  • Fat: 11 g
  • Carbohydrates: 24 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 7 g

Keywords: chickpea salad,vegan chickpea salad,chickpea salad with avocado