This easy Chickpea Salad recipe takes only 10 minutes to make and is bursting with yummy and healthy Mediterranean ingredients, like feta cheese, sliced cucumbers, and sun dried tomatoes. Everything is tossed in a delicious fresh herb vinaigrette for a simple make-ahead vegetarian light main course or side dish, and it’s perfect for meal prep.
Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are one of my favorite legumes. With a firm texture, they’re perfect for this make-ahead salad that can easily withstand a few days in the fridge. With a nutty flavor, they’re a bit more interesting than white beans or other legumes.
Chickpeas are cheap, and they’re super healthy, too!
This recipe is a great way to use up that random can or two of chickpeas you have in your pantry. And it’s very versatile- you can use dried herbs instead of fresh, omit any of the fresh ingredients, and really make it your own.
If you’re looking for fresh, healthy Mediterranean flavor, give this easy chickpea salad with feta recipe a try!
How to make chickpea salad
Just whip up a simple vinaigrette, toss it with some chickpeas, cucumbers, and feta cheese, and you’re good to go! Here are the details.
- First, macerate the red onions in a little red wine vinegar. Macerating just means soaking for a bit. This will help take the “bite” out of the raw onions, bringing out their natural sugars, making them less spicy and more sweet. I do this in a large bowl so I can just add everything to the same bowl (fewer dishes!).
- While the onions are taking a vinegar bath, prep the rest of your ingredients. Chop some sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, as well as some fresh herbs (any kind you want!), drain and rinse your chickpeas, slice a cucumber, and crumble the feta if it didn’t come crumbled.
- Add the rest of the vinaigrette ingredients to the onions and vinegar. A little bit of honey, salt and pepper, fresh herbs, the chopped sun dried tomatoes, and extra-virgin olive oil. Try not to drink it right out of the bowl.
- Finally, add the chickpeas, cucumbers, and feta cheese to the bowl and toss to coat.
Tips and tricks
- I recommend finely chopping up the sun dried tomatoes, until it’s almost more like a paste. Large pieces of sun dried tomatoes can have an overwhelming flavor- I prefer the flavor to be more evenly dispersed in every bite.
- To pump up the sun dried tomato flavor, you can substitute 1-2 tablespoons of the extra-virgin olive oil with some of the oil from the sun-dried tomato jar!
- I recommend adding 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and adjusting after making the salad. The amount of salt you add will depend on how much salt the chickpeas have already (different brands have different amounts).
- Before slicing, cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp. You can leave it in if you want, but because there is so much water in that part, it may contribute to a soggier salad.
- Instead of macerating the red onions, you can use pickled red onions.
Can I make it vegan?
Yes, very easily! Just use sugar instead of honey in the vinaigrette (or another sweetener), and omit the feta or replace with your favorite vegan feta substitution.
- Dried herbs may be substituted for fresh. I recommend using 1 tablespoon total, and adding them with the onions and vinegar so they have a chance to soften for a bit and infuse their flavors. You can use oregano, dill, mint, or a combo, or a pre-mixed combo like Italian seasoning.
- Another vinegar or lemon juice may be substituted for red wine vinegar. Use 1 tablespoon of strong vinegars, like white or apple cider, and 1.5-2 tablespoons of less acidic ingredients like balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon juice.
- If using dry sun dried tomatoes (as opposed to packed with oil), I recommend rehydrating them in hot water for 30 minutes or so before using. Otherwise, they may be a bit chewy.
- You can omit the cucumbers and feta if you don’t have any, or you can use another vegetable or cheese. Bell peppers, sliced zucchini, or chopped baby spinach or arugula are great alternatives to cucumbers, and queso fresco, goat cheese, and cotija are all good substitutes for feta cheese.
- You can use jarred roasted red peppers in place of the sun dried tomatoes.
- White beans can be substituted for chickpeas.
What kinds of fresh herbs to use
I used a combination of basil, mint, dill, and parsley, because it’s what I have growing in my garden.
You can use almost anything you want! But I don’t really recommend the “tough” fresh herbs that are better cooked, such as rosemary and thyme. These are very strong in flavor and may not be the best for a fresh salad.
How to store it
This chickpea salad can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
The cucumbers will get a bit soggy as time goes on- I recommend leaving them out and adding them just before serving if this bothers you. I didn’t bother, and the salad was still delicious!
Other Mediterranean Salad Recipes
If you love the healthy ingredients and yummy flavors of this Mediterranean chickpea salad, you’ll love these other easy cold salad recipes.
- Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Feta
- Panzanella Salad (Italian tomato and bread salad)
- Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Lemon, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts
- Beet Salad with Feta, Cucumbers, and Dill
- Mediterranean Chickpea and Orzo Salad
- Greek Pasta Salad with Herb Vinaigrette
- Egyptian Barley Salad with Pomegranate and Feta
Looking for other ways to use canned beans? Check out these easy canned bean recipes.
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Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- 1/4 cup red onion finely diced
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs I used parsley, dill, basil, and mint
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil
- 2 15-oz cans chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 small cucumber seeds removed, quartered or halved, and sliced (peeled if desired)
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- In the bottom of a large bowl, add the diced onion (1/4 cup) and the vinegar. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, as you prepare the other ingredients.
- Add the honey (1 tablespoon), kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon), black pepper (1/4 teaspoon), fresh herbs (1/4 cup), chopped sun dried tomatoes (2 tablespoons), and olive oil (1/4 cup) to the onion and vinegar mixture. Stir or whisk until well-combined.
- Add the two cans of chickpeas (drained and rinsed, and as much water shaken off as possible), the sliced cucumber, and the crumbled feta (1/2 cup) to the bowl and toss to coat.
- Serve immediately or, for the best flavor, cover and allow to chill in the refrigerator for two hours to let the flavors marry (if you do this, you may want to leave the cucumber out until just before serving, as it may get soggy).
- For extra sun dried tomato flavor, substitute 1-2 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil with oil from the sun dried tomato jar.
- If using dry sun dried tomatoes (as opposed to packed in oil), I recommend rehydrating them by letting them sit in hot or boiling water for 30 minutes before using them. Otherwise they may be a bit chewy.
- Feta cheese may be substituted with goat cheese, queso fresco, or cotija cheese, or another crumbly farmers cheese.
- Fresh halved cherry tomatoes may be substituted for sun dried and added with the sliced cucumber.
- Cucumber and sun dried tomatoes may be omitted if you don't have them.
- If you don't have red wine vinegar, another vinegar may be used, such as apple cider or balsamic, or lemon juice (use more balsamic or lemon juice as they are less strong- I recommend 1.5-2 tablespoons).
- Store in the fridge for up 5 days in an airtight container. The cucumbers will get soggy over time (still yummy though). But if you are planning on making this for meal prep, I recommend just leaving the cucumbers out and adding them when you serve.