How to Make Italian Chickpea Salad

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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!

And contrary to what you may be expecting, I don’t even use garlic in the salad because it overpowers the chickpeas and other fresh vegetables.

Anxious for just the recipe? Go here.

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.

Recipe Ingredients

All the ingredients should be readily available at your local grocery store or maybe they’re right there in your own home garden. 😊  

Ingredients for Your
Italian Chickpea Salad

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

Use Canned Chickpeas

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

Why not fresh chickpeas? If you want to use soaked dried chickpeas, I’m sure it would taste amazing, but we want to keep this easy and convenient so I’m sticking with canned chickpeas. Also, keep in mind fresh vs canned chickpeas have two different flavors.

Scallions

I don’t use scallions much, but for this Italian chickpea salad recipe, it adds a subtle layer of depth that gives the recipe a brightness to it. Similar to how I use lemon in my pasta with lemon and asparagus recipe, it adds just enough lift to round out the flavors.

If you don’t have scallions use white onion.

Red Onion

By using red onion instead of a yellow/white onion, we bring in a more Mediterranean presence to the dish. I also think the red onion helps balance the flavor of the chickpeas. 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

I recommend either black or Kalamata olives. Both taste great and I tend to use what I have on hand. There is also nothing wrong with using a combination of both. Always use pitted olives, and to make it easy on yourself, just buy them already pitted.

Chopped Italian Parsley

I recommend using Italian parsley, also known as flat parsley. However, if you only have curly parsley (the kind served at restaurants as garnishes) then feel free to use it. I’ve used both, but over time I’ve come to really love the Italian parsley in many of my Italian recipes.

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. Aldi I know sells organic extra virgin olive oil at a very reasonable price. I can’t vouch for the quality of the actual ingredients but I’ve used it in the past.  I also use Bertolli too, which is pretty good.

Extra virgin olive oil is what you use for salads. You get more of the olive flavor which means it tastes so much better than the bland regular olive oil. Regular olive oil is more for cooking and frying.

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 salad I make now. 

I’ve also found that the wine vinegars are too acidic. With the apple cider vinegar, you don’t compromise on flavor at all – just remember a little goes a long way.

Salt and pepper

This is optional and not required. I never add it to my salads, but I also try to keep my sodium intake very low. I recommend making it available on the side for people to add individually.

How to Make Chickpea Salad Italian-style

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.

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. This bowl will be your serving bowl and where you’ll add the other ingredients.

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.

Slice the scallions including the greens

slice the scallions

When you slice the scallions, you can use the green part as well. Just make sure they’re fresh and not wilted. You can cut off the roots at the end. Add to the salad bowl.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Tomatoes – tomatoes are also healthy, providing us with vitamin C, B and E, potassium, and lycopene. Lycopene is often used for reducing the risk of heart disease and even cancer. WebMD has a good article that explains the various ways tomatoes can help improve our health.

Onions – onions are widely known to have antioxidant properties that fight free radicals. But they help with our digestion, blood sugar and more as described in this article by Spice World.  

Olives – I’m so glad these are one of my favorite foods to eat because olives also contain high levels of antioxidants.  They are also known as healthy fats.

Take this Italian Chickpea Salad to Another Level

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. Pepperoncini
  2. Banana peppers
  3. Yellow or red bell peppers
  4. Zucchini
  5. Mozzarella
  6. Pine nuts
  7. Hard-boiled eggs

Other Similar Recipes

If you enjoy recipes like my Italian Chickpea Salad, then you may also enjoy these other recipes that are healthy and easy to make.

Watch the quick video below to see how quick and easy this recipe actually is! If you enjoy this recipe, make sure to join my email list for more recipes and tips!

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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!
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Course: Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 14 oz cans of chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 6 scallions sliced
  • 1 medium red onion diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes chopped (1 pint cherry tomatoes) fresh tomatoes only
  • 10-12 black or Kalamata chopped olives
  • 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
  • pinch salt and pepper to taste optional

Instructions

  • Rinse and drain the chickpeas or garbanzo beans from the can.
  • Chop the scallions, onions, tomatoes, olives, and parsley and add to the chickpeas.
  • Add the salt and pepper (optional).
  • Add the olive oil and vinegar and mix well.
  • Cover and store in fridge until ready to use.

Video

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.
How to Make Italian Chickpea SaladHow to Make Italian Chickpea SaladHow to Make Italian Chickpea Salad
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