This simple Indian chickpea salad is the easy vegan curried chickpea salad you’ve been waiting for! Indian spices, crunchy veggies, and an oil-free dressing.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- The prep time is as quick as chopping a red onion, a celery stalk, and a red bell pepper. I’ve estimated 20 minutes, but you might make it in less.
- A perfect recipe for canned chickpeas, or those Instant Pot chickpeas, you need to find a home for.
- The salad dressing with Indian spices, mustard, lemon juice, and maple syrup is made without nuts or olive oil for a healthy salad that's low in fat and high in satisfaction.
- Serve this versatile salad as a quick side dish or a quick lunch stuffed into pita bread, sweet potato wraps, whole wheat tortillas, or slices of toast with lettuce and a few sliced cherry tomatoes for a complete meal.
Ingredients, Notes, and Substitutions
Chickpeas. Use canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans) or 3 cups of cooked chickpeas if you cook dry chickpeas from scratch on the stovetop or pressure cooker. Chickpeas add dietary fiber, flavor, and satisfaction.
Crunchy veggies. Combining red onion, bell peppers, and celery gives this salad a flavorful boost. You can use another color of bell pepper if you prefer. A good substitute for celery is diced cucumber. Use half a yellow onion to replace the red, shallots, or green onions. This is a whatever you have on hand kind of salad.
Mustard. Use prepared, mild mustard for the dressing. Dijon mustard may be too strong, given the flavor profile of the spices. A good alternative is a grainy mustard.
Garam masala. Use a prepared mix or make your own with our favorite garam masala recipe.
Curry powder. Look for curry powder at most local grocery stores. You may want to omit the cayenne pepper and add a little black pepper if it is hot curry powder. You can always off red chili flakes on the table for those who like it spicy.
Lemon juice. The tangy dressing is all about the liberal use of lemon juice. Aim for ¼ a cup and add more if you want. I've not tried this recipe with lime juice, but you can experiment.
Turmeric. Many curry powders and garam masala mixes have turmeric, but I like adding a little extra for the earthy flavor. It also makes the color sparkle.
Please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions.
Step 1: After draining and rinsing the chickpeas, use a potato masher or large fork to mash the chickpeas.
Step 2: Use a spoon to mix in the spices. It is easier to distribute them if you do this before adding the rest of the ingredients.
Step 3: Stir in the mustard, lemon juice, and maple syrup.
Step 4: Add the onions, celery, and diced red peppers.
This is a quick prep, but there are a few rules I like to follow. First, add the chickpeas to a large bowl and use a potato masher to crush most or all of the chickpeas.
You may want to mash half the chickpeas if you serve this delicious recipe as a side salad. This is enough for the dressing to have something to cling to but will still retain a salad texture.
As a filler or spread, mash more chickpeas, so they stay put when added to something bready.
Once you mash the chickpeas, toss in the spices and mix well. Then add the dressing ingredients and, finally, the chopped veggies. After tasting, you can adjust the flavorings and add salt or black pepper to taste.
Serve this simple chickpea salad as a side dish or over lettuce leaves to add as individual side salads. The flavors complement lentil dishes, from simple curry recipes to soups.
Use this salad to stuff tomatoes for a pretty lunch delight.
It’s perfect for snacking and dipping with pita chips or crackers. Of course, I mentioned that sandwich (because it’s SO good). And another quick vegan lunch idea? Ah, stuffed whole wheat pita pockets. Yum and yum!
And if you want a quick main dish, this is the perfect compliment to baked white or sweet potatoes. Seriously, try this – you won’t regret it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Store leftovers in an airtight container for 5 days. I don’t recommend freezing it because the texture and flavors won’t be as good as fresh. Leave it out to heat to room temperature if desired, and stir in a little lemon juice or mustard to freshen it up.
Recipes like chana chaat have a specific spice mixture known as chaat masala, which has a unique flavor, including Indian black salt, which has a pungent, sulfurous flavor (think eggs). Chana chaat has a different flavor profile, including green chutney or lemony tamarind chutney. This chickpea salad recipe doesn’t include chaat masala or the same ingredients.
Yes. This recipe complements black and white beans (and those in between). One of our favorites for this recipe is pinto beans, but great northern or cannelloni beans are also delicious. And, if you don’t want beans at all, consider using black or green lentils. You can also replace the chickpeas with potatoes for a potato salad that compliments your favorite Indian cuisine.
Additional fresh vegetables such as shredded carrots or celeriac are good additions to this salad, but you can also experiment with unusual ingredients such as water chestnuts for extra crunch. Less unusual ingredients include diced zucchini, cucumber, or cauliflower. Fresh herbs, like chopped cilantro, parsley, or dill leaves, will also add flavor and color that complement this yummy salad's ingredients.
More Chickpea Salad Recipes
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Indian Chickpea Salad
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- 2 cans chickpeas - drained and rinsed (3 cups)
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper - optional
- 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 medium red onion - diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 medium celery stalk - diced small
- 1 medium red bell pepper - diced small
- Add the chickpeas to a large bowl and smash the chickpeas using a potato masher or large fork.
- Add the curry powder, garam masala, turmeric, and cayenne pepper, and toss the spices with the chickpeas.
- Next, mix the mustard, lemon juice, and maple syrup well.
- Add the onions, celery, and red peppers and mix.
- Taste and adjust the flavorings and add salt and/or black pepper to taste.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.