How to Make Italian Chickpea Salad

Chickpeas are the rock star ingredient in this delicious and healthy Italian chickpea salad. Also known as garbanzo beans, these protein-rich legumes are more versatile than many people give them credit for, especially when it comes to Italian recipes.

Italian chickpea salad

This recipe is not only loaded with flavor, it’s super easy to make. We’ve used this recipe for many years and is one of our favorite go-to salad recipes to share with friends and family. I know you’ll love this recipe!

Italian Chickpea Salad

In this Italian-style chickpea salad, I keep to my rule of thumb and use simple and fresh ingredients that will give you the best flavor. There is no need to over-complicate the recipe. I make this recipe frequently as a quick lunch or even a light dinner and it’s satisfying every single time!

There are many ways to make chickpea salad and different parts of the world have their own versions. In this recipe, I use common vegetables that are used in many Italian recipes, even adding in spring onion for some extra brightness.

This salad is perfect for vegetarians, vegans or anyone wanting a healthy good tasting salad. It also is perfect for potlucks and picnics.

Video

If you prefer video, here’s a YouTube Live I did showing how easy this recipe is!

Recipe

Here’s my recipe that I use to make my chickpea salad. It includes exact measurements but feel free to adjust to your tastes. It’s a very forgiving salad except if you add too much vinegar.

Step by step visual instructions are further down below!

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chickpea salad

Italian Chickpea Salad

This is one of my favorite Italian recipes. I actually make it all year round, not just in the summer. You can use it for a healthy meal for dinner or lunch or to take to a party. It's easy to make and everyone will love it!
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Course: Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 14 oz can of chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 14oz canned cannellini beans
  • 1 medium red onion diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts from a jar
  • 1/8 cup chopped pepperoncini
  • 1 roasted red pepper chopped from a jar
  • 2 medium tomatoes chopped (1 pint cherry tomatoes) fresh tomatoes only
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata chopped olives add some black olives if you can
  • 2 TBLE chopped parsley Italian parsley if available
  • 5 TBLE extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 TBLE white wine vinegar (red is fine too or even apple cider vinegar) I use organic apple cider vinegar for the health benefits
  • 3 TBLE lemon juice not from concentrate – can use fresh lemon
  • pinch salt and pepper to taste optional

Instructions

  • Rub the inside of the salad bowl with the inside of a garlic clove. Then chop the garlic and add to the bowl.
    1 clove of garlic
  • Rinse and drain the chickpeas or garbanzo beans, and the cannellini beans from the can and add to the bowl.
    1 14 oz can of chickpeas drained and rinsed, 1 14oz canned cannellini beans
  • Combine all the remaining ingredients except the oil, vinegar, and lemon juice.
    1 medium red onion diced, 1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts, 1/8 cup chopped pepperoncini, 1 roasted red pepper chopped, 2 medium tomatoes chopped (1 pint cherry tomatoes), 1/2 cup Kalamata chopped olives, 2 TBLE chopped parsley
  • Add the salt and pepper (optional).
    pinch salt and pepper to taste
  • In a small jar, mix the the olive oil and vinegar and lemon juice.
    5 TBLE extra virgin olive oil, 3 TBLE white wine vinegar (red is fine too or even apple cider vinegar)
  • Add the dressing to the salad and mix well.
  • Cover and store in fridge until ready to use.

Notes

  1. Use what you have on hand and adjust quantities as you see fit. The above is a guideline as I usually don’t really measure specifics. For example, you will see in my video I only had red wine vinegar, so I used that instead of the white. In fact, since then I’ve come to prefer organic apple cider vinegar too. You can omit the scallions, but they add a nice flavor.
  2. Use a mix of olives if you want, such as Kalamata and black.
  3.  If serving to people who are picky, don’t mention it has chickpeas. Too many people think these are boring legumes, but especially for those on a diet – it is a perfect recipe!
  4. Prepare a day in advance for easy day-of prep.

Recipe Ingredients

All the ingredients should be readily available at your local grocery store. 😊

Here’s what you’ll need, plus some tips.

Canned Chickpeas. This recipe uses canned chickpeas, although depending on the brand they might be called canned garbanzo beans.

Canned Cannellini beans.

Red Onion. By using red onion instead of a yellow/white onion, we bring in a more Mediterranean presence to the dish.If you don’t have a red onion, then yellow is still a suitable choice, which I admit I’ve done on a few occasions.

Fresh tomatoes. Notice I’m not using canned tomatoes. We are using only fresh tomatoes. You can use two medium tomatoes, or you can use about a pint of cherry or grape tomatoes.

Olives. Use kalamata olives as the main olive choice, but also add in some chopped black olives too if you can.

Pepperonicini. Use the sliced ones from a jar. This adds some acidity to the salad.

Roasted red pepper. Make life easy for yourself and use the kind that come in a jar. Just pull one out and chop it up.

Artichoke hearts. I use the kind that come in a jar. Again – keeping it easy.

Italian parsley. If you only have curly, you can use that.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Always and I repeat, always use extra virgin olive oil in salads. And even better, use organic and first cold pressed.

Vinegar. I used to use only white or red wine vinegar for this recipe. However I’ve come to really appreciate the health benefits of organic apple cider vinegar and use it in almost every Italian salad I make now. 

With the apple cider vinegar, you don’t compromise on flavor at all – just remember a little goes a long way.

Salt and black pepper. Optional

Step by step instructions

Here are the steps for making a chickpea salad that has an Italian flair to it! This recipe uses lots of healthy ingredients and is super quick to assemble. Don’t fret if you don’t have everything – just improvise and use what you have.

Step 1. Rinse the canned chickpeas or garbanzo beans

rinse canned chickpeas or garbanzo beans

Your chickpeas will be covered in a thick liquid for preservation in the cans. For this salad you’ll need to rinse and drain them before adding them to a large bowl.

Step 2. Chop the red onions

chop the red onions

Next you’ll want to chop and dice a medium size red onion. If the onion is pungent, soak the diced onions in cold water with ice cubes for at least 20 minutes. This will reduce the pungency. Add to the bowl.

Step 3. Chop the parsley

chop the Italian parsley

Chop about two tablespoons of the parsley. Smaller is better, especially with Italian flat parsley as the leaves are thicker. Add to the bowl.

Step 4. Chop the tomatoes

chop the tomatoes

Next, chop the tomatoes. I try to cut all my ingredients to be equal in size, and that includes the tomatoes. If using cherry or grape tomatoes, quarter them. Add to the bowl.

Step 5. Chop the olives

chop and add the olives to the chickpea salad

Finally, chop your olives – similar to the tomatoes, make them appropriate in size by either slicing them or cutting them in quarters. Add to the bowl.

Step 6. Toss with the olive oil and cider vinegar

Add in the olive oil and apple cider vinegar and give a stir to mix it well and coat all the ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve.

Helpful Tips for Making Italian Chickpea Salad

I already gave a bunch of tips in the ingredient section above, but here are some more!

Can this chickpea salad be made in advance?

Yes! In fact, I encourage you to make this chickpea salad recipe the day before. First, it will save you time the day of serving, which is always a plus. Just pull it out and serve.

Secondly, when salads that use a marinade like this sit for at least a few hours to a day in the refrigerator, it gives the flavors more time to blend together.

Can you freeze chickpea salad?

I would not recommend freezing this salad. I’ve never tried it and don’t think I will. 😊 Besides, there won’t be enough left over to freeze anyway.

How do you store it as leftovers?

If you make enough for left overs, this salad makes a great lunch the next day. Just store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days at most. Try to use within a day as I find that is best.

What goes well with Italian chickpea salad?

Glad you asked! So, you don’t have to use this recipe as a main meal. You can use it as a side dish as well. Suggestions for recipes that go with this would be chicken dishes or vegetable based dishes.

Health Benefits of an Italian Chickpea Salad

This Italian salad is loaded with healthy ingredients. Let’s first talk about chickpeas because they not only add flavor to a salad, but they also provide us with some health benefits along the way.

Chickpeas – In this article by LiveEatLearn, they list out some good reasons why we should be consuming garbanzo beans. Some of the things they mention are:

  • Nutrient-dense (1 cup provides 15 grams of protein)
  • Low in saturated fat
  • 12 grams of fiber
  • Rich in lysine and arginine
  • Contains folate, phosphorus, zinc and Iron!

Modifications

Here’s a list of some variations or modifications you can make to this recipe. My recipe for Italian chickpea salad is tried and true, but you may have ideas of your own – which is totally fine! Here are some other ingredients you can add:

  1. Zucchini
  2. Quinoa
  3. Hemp seed
  4. Mozzarella
  5. Pine nuts
  6. Hard-boiled eggs

I hope you’ve enjoyed this recipe, please feel free to leave a comment below!

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How to Make Italian Chickpea Salad

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