Hardly a week goes by where I don't make this recipe. I love to pack this cilantro lime Chickpea Salad recipe for lunch, and I even love to stuff it in a soft tortilla as a wrap for a quick protein-rich snack. It contains chickpeas roasted with taco seasoning and a lime cilantro dressing with avocados and tomatoes. It packs so much flavor, plus it's vegan!
This bowl of deliciousness is so hearty and satisfying. We're using taco seasonings (smoked paprika, oregano, garlic powder, and chili powder) on the chickpeas and then toasting them in a pan over high heat. The result is ever-so-slightly crispy chickpeas that are so good, you can eat them on their own as a snack!
It's hard not to sneak a handful of the roasted chickpeas while I'm making this chickpea salad, but I resist! Once the chickpeas cool, they receive a creamy vegan lime cilantro dressing that is similar to what you would top a fish taco with. We'll use vegan mayonnaise and plenty of cilantro and lime to punch up the flavor.
Once the dish is done, you're free to pile it in a bowl and enjoy with a spoon, just the way it is. I like to serve it with tortilla chips for my kids to scoop up, or with warm corn tortillas for tucking into like a burrito or taco.
How to Make Chickpea Salad
We'll need a skillet for making the chickpeas crispy and a large bowl for mixing the dressing. You can mix the dressing right in a serving bowl, if you like.
This chickpea salad recipe comes together in less than 30 minutes, and it keeps in the fridge for up to 4 days. However, the chickpeas will lose a lot of their crispness in storage. The taste is still delicious, and I really enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day!
If you like simple chickpea recipes, try my Chickpea Soup with Parmesan.
- Chickpeas. One 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained rinsed and dried very well with a kitchen towel.
- Olive Oil. It doesn't need to be extra virgin, because we are cooking over high heat.
- Oregano. Regular dried oregano is great, but Mexican dried oregano is even better. Crush it in your palms before adding to the recipe.
- Smoked Paprika. One teaspoon of smoked paprika gives this roasted chickpea salad so much smokiness and meatiness. Do not skip! I use this in everything, especially my Pinto Bean Burgers.
- Garlic Powder. One teaspoon of dried garlic granules is a bit easier than fresh garlic here. Plus, we'll be roasting it, so dried garlic powder prevents any burning!
- Chili Powder. Chili powder is actually a spice blend, and it's what brings so much taco-flavor to these roasted chickpeas.
For the chickpea salad dressing:
- Mayonnaise. We use vegan mayonnaise to keep this recipe vegan. Our favorite brand is Vegenaise, but you only need 2 tablespoons, so use whatever type of mayo you like.
- Lime. It's really best if the lime juice is fresh here, but since we don't need the lime zest, you may use bottled lime juice, if that's all you have.
- Cilantro. One small bunch of cilantro, clean and finely chopped. This is about ½ cup of finely chopped cilantro. Also, please note that I chop everything--stems and leaves included. Most of the flavor in cilantro is in the stems, so chop the whole plant, just be sure to chop the stems very finely.
- Cayenne Pepper. It's optional, but a small amount of heat and spice is so good in this chickpea salad.
- Garlic. You can use 2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced, or another teaspoon of dried garlic powder, just like we used for the chickpeas.
- Maple Syrup. Just a touch of sweetness (one tablespoon) helps balance the acidic lime and spicy flavors here.
- Red Onion. Don't worry if you're not a big raw red onion fan, because we're going to soak it in warm water for a few minutes before adding it to the salad. Personally, I could eat a raw onion like an apple, but I understand most people need it a little more mild.
- Cherry Tomatoes. One cup (about 5 ounces) of cherry tomatoes that you slice in half.
- Avocado. One medium, perfectly ripe avocado, diced is optional, but so yummy and creamy here.
First, open your can of chickpeas, drain them, rinse them, and then place them on a clean kitchen towel. Dry your chickpeas very, very well in the towel, using a second towel if you must.
Next, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet, and add the chickpeas, oregano, smoked paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, and salt. Saute until the chickpeas are golden brown and starting to crisp up, about 8-10 minutes over medium-high heat.
Make the dressing: in a serving bowl, add the vegan mayo, lime juice, chopped cilantro, cayenne, garlic, olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper.
Whisk this together very well, and set aside.
Add the chopped red onion to a small bowl and cover with warm water. Let soak for 5 minutes, and then drain.
Combine the chickpeas in a bowl with the drained onions, dressing, chopped cherry tomatoes and diced avocado. Toss very well and serve.
This salad keeps for up to 4 days in the fridge in an air-tight container, but please note that the crispiness of the chickpeas will fade as it chills. I do not recommend freezing it, because it contains too many different textures that do not thaw well.
I eat this plain with a spoon, but we also serve it over salad greens, with tortilla chips on the side, or even rolled up in a warm tortilla as a wrap. You can scoop it into a pita pocket and enjoy it on the beach, too.
Chickpeas are a great source of plant-based protein that contain iron, fiber, and many other nutrients. The rest of the ingredients in this chickpea salad are vegetables, and we all know that we should eat more vegetables for their phytonutrients.
- 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
Cilantro Lime Dressing:
- 2 tablespoons vegan mayo
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 small bunch of cilantro (~½ cup chopped)
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced (or 1 teaspoon powder)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup finely diced red onion
- 5 ounces diced Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
- First, make the chickpeas: Rinse and drain the chickpeas very well, and then place them on a clean dry kitchen towel. Rub them dry completely, and use a second towel, if needed.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chickpeas, salt, oregano, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and chili power. Saute the chickpeas until golden brown and starting to crisp up around the edges, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat if they threaten to burn. It’s a good idea to place a splatter screen on top, because they can pop out of the pan as they cook. This should take about 8-10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat under the chickpeas, and let them cool in the pan while you make the dressing: In a serving bowl, combine the vegan mayo, lime juice, chopped cilantro, cayenne, garlic, olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper.
- In a small bowl, add the finely diced red onion and cover with warm water. Let soak for 5 minutes, and then drain.
- Add the onion, cherry tomatoes, diced avocado and cooked chickpeas to the serving bowl.
Toss and serve the salad plain or with tortilla chips. Taste for more salt or lime juice, if needed.
Mayonnaise: We use vegan mayonnaise to keep this recipe vegan. Our favorite brand is Vegenaise, but you only need 2 tablespoons, so use whatever type of mayo you like.
Lime Juice: It's really best if the lime juice is fresh here, but since we don't need the lime zest, you may use bottled lime juice, if that's all you have.
Cilantro: One small bunch of cilantro, clean and finely chopped. A small handful is baout ½ cup finely chopped, and I chop everything--stems and leaves included. Most of the flavor in cilantro is in the stems, so chop the whole plant, just be sure to chop the stems very finely.
Cayenne Pepper: Optional, but a small amount of heat and spice is so good in this chickpea salad.
Garlic: You can use 2 cloves of fresh garlic in the salad dressing, or another teaspoon of dried garlic powder, just like we used for roasting the chickpeas.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 446Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 589mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 13gSugar: 11gProtein: 11g