This Smashed Chickpea Salad is fresh, flavorful and easy to make with chickpeas, cucumbers, capers, tomatoes and fresh herbs. It’s delicious as a simple side salad, filled into a lettuce wrap or stuffed in a grain-free sandwich for a healthy vegan lunch.
Easy Vegan Chickpea Salad Recipe
Looking for a healthy vegan protein-packed meal? This Smashed Chickpea Salad is easy to make and full of protein, fiber and fresh veggies. Made with chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, red onions, capers, dill and vegan mayo and perfect for spring and summer when you’re craving a light and refreshing lunch. Salad recipes like this are the perfect make ahead meal for meal prepping and a delicious option for spring and summer potlucks, barbecues and picnics.
Why you’ll love this simple Chickpea Salad
- An easy no-cook lunch or dinner!
- A delicious protein-packed meatless vegan alternative to a classic tuna salad sandwich or chicken salad
- Simple to make ahead, freezer-friendly and works great for meal prep
- Naturally gluten-free, plant-based, vegetarian and refined sugar-free.
All you need are just a few simple ingredients to make the best chickpea salad. Feel free to change it up depending on what you like or have:
- Canned chickpeas: you’ll need one 15-ounce can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed. We like these organic chickpeas or you can also sub with 1 1/2 cups of cooked dried chickpeas.
- Red Onion: finely chopped.
- Cucumber: we like Persian cucumbers or English cucumbers but you can also use your favorite garden cucumbers if that’s what you have, just be sure to peel them first.
- Tomatoes: we like grape tomatoes but vine ripened, cherry tomatoes or Roma tomatoes work great here as well.
- Celery: for some freshness and crunch. You’ll need one stalk, finely chopped.
- Capers: we love the briney, tangy flavor these add to salads. If you don’t have capers, pickles work too.
- Fresh herbs: we used fresh parsley and dill for freshness and flavor.
- Dijon mustard or Wholegrain mustard: a must for any creamy salad.
- Garlic: you’ll need 2 cloves of minced garlic. If you don’t have fresh garlic, you can sub with garlic powder.
- Lemon: you’ll need fresh lemon juice from half a lemon
- Vegan mayonnaise: we use this vegan mayo with avocado oil but you can also sub with hummus, dairy-free yogurt or mayo of choice. Tahini or pesto would be other delicious options.
- Salt and pepper: Season to taste.
How to make Smashed Chickpea Salad
- Drain and smash the chickpeas: Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas to a large bowl. Use the back of a fork to mash chickpeas until mostly broken down, a few whole chickpeas is fine.
- Prep the veggies: Finely chop the red onion, cucumber, tomatoes, celery and capers. Add to the chickpeas along with chopped parsley, dill, mustard, garlic, lemon juice and vegan mayonnaise.
- Combine and season: Mix until combined and season generously with salt and pepper, to taste. You can enjoy immediately but we actually think it tastes best after chilling in the fridge for 20 minutes to an hour. Just be sure not let this salad sit at room temperature too long as it tastes best when chilled.
- Add to sandwiches or lettuce wraps: Add to lettuce leaves, grain-free tortillas, grain-free paleo bread or grain-free crackers by adding a scoop of smashed chickpeas along with lettuce or other sandwich fillers of choice.
This vegan tuna salad is versatile and totally customizable depending on what you like or have in your kitchen:
- Not a fan of capers? Leave them out and add canned artichoke hearts, olives or avocado.
- Ran out of fresh tomatoes? Use bell peppers or even sun-dried tomatoes work too.
- Swap the mayo: If you’re not a fan of vegan mayo, swap with hummus, dairy-free yogurt or mayo of choice. Tahini or pesto would be other delicious options.
- Don’t have fresh dill? Leave it out and add some fresh rosemary or thyme instead.
- Want to add some bulk? Pair with tuna or add some cooked grain-free cassava pasta.
This smashed chickpea salad can be served alone as a simple salad for lunch or used as a filler for a light dinner. Here are some delicious options:
- Sandwiches: Add it to your favorite grain-free paleo bread as a sandwich filler or an open-faced sandwich.
- Salad: Serve on top or along with your favorite leafy greens as a salad or on top of some lettuce leafs as a lettuce wrap.
- Wraps: Add a scoop to your favorite grain-free tortillas and serve as a wrap.
- Crackers: Make a delicious and fun kid-friendly snack plate by serving with some grain-free almond flour crackers or pita chips. We love these ones.
Storage and Freezer Tips
- How to store: This vegan chickpea salad is perfect for prepping ahead and enjoying the next day. Keep any leftovers stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Be sure to lightly toss again before serving.
- How to freeze: Freeze the mashed chickpea salad in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- How to thaw: Thaw in the fridge overnight or defrost in the microwave using the defrost mode.
More chickpea recipes:
More healthy vegan salad recipes:
This Chickpea Salad is fresh, flavorful and easy to make with chickpeas, cucumbers, capers, tomatoes and fresh herbs. It's delicious as a simple side salad, filled into a lettuce wrap or stuffed in a gluten-free sandwich for a healthy vegan lunch.
- 1 15-ounce chickpeas , drained and rinsed. Cooked chickpeas work too.
- ¼ cup red onion finely diced (rinse or soak in cold water for 1-2 minutes to remove some of the harsh bite if preferred)
- 1 celery rib finely diced (about ¼ - ⅓ cup)
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped spicy dill pickles we like Bubbies - use regular dill pickles if you prefer no heat
- 2 tbsp fresh dill finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh chives chopped (may sub with green onions if preferred)
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
- 2 tbsp vegan mayo or avocado oil mayonnaise work. May also sub with dairy-free or regula Greek yogurt or hummus
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Fine sea salt or kosher salt to taste
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Large gluten-free tortillas of choice , grain-free as needed - we like Siete or Maria Ricardo
- Hummus for spreading
- Butter / bibb lettuce and a few baby spinach leaves
- Thin avocado slices or cucumbers slices or both
- Cherry or grape tomatoes cut into quarters or halves (depending on their size)
Place drained chickpeas in a large bowl and use a fork to mash the chickpeas, leaving a few chunks or to desired consistency.
- Add the red onion, celery, pickles, dill, chives and parsley side-by-side to a bowl. Add the mayo and mustard then squeeze in the lemon juice and season with salt and black pepper. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Warm the tortillas as needed to make them more pliable.
Assemble the wraps (being careful not to overfill) by spreading a little bit of hummus in the bottom center of the tortillas and layer each with ½ - 1 lettuce leaf, 1-2 baby spinach leaves, 1-2 avocado slice or cucumber slice, and 1-2 cherry tomato quarters. Top with some of the chickpea mixture.
Roll the wrap up tightly burrito-style by folding the sides inwards towards the center to cover the filling. Hold the sides down then bring the bottom up to cover the filling.
Continue to roll up tightly while tucking the sides in. Cut into halves and enjoy.
*Nutritional values do not include the wrap ingredients.
How to store: This vegan chickpea salad is perfect for prepping ahead and enjoying the next day. Keep any leftovers stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Be sure to lightly toss again before serving.
How to freeze: Freeze the mashed chickpea salad in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How to thaw: Thaw in the fridge overnight or defrost in the microwave using the defrost mode.