Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

Easy. Healthy. Good.
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There are people who think of salads as mere sides, or decoration on a plate, and there are people (myself included) who think of salads as a whole meal. This Mediterranean chickpea salad is one of those beautiful salads that can be either: it can be served in a small scoop alongside some whole grains and (more) protein, or it can fill your bowl (and your tummy) on its own. 

What are chickpeas?

Rich in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, these round legumes have been eaten as far back as 8400 BCE. They are fast—safe to eat from a can—and versatile. You can throw them in a soup or stew, process them into hummus, or make them the filling star of any salad. 

For all their convenience, chickpeas are a big staple in our kitchen. My personal goal (which I don’t always meet) is to eat a can of beans a day. Chickpeas definitely help. Because their flavor is pretty subtle, they go well with almost anything. I can toss them into whatever I’m eating last minute, or prep them to be the highlight of my meal. 

What Is The Mediterranean Diet? 

The Mediterranean Diet is named for the region around the Mediterranean sea, and what the people who live there eat. The diet focuses on fruits, veggies and whole grains, leaning towards beans, nuts and fish for protein and olive oil for healthy fat. 

This Mediterranean chickpea salad perfectly presents what the diet is all about. It’s loaded with fibrous fruits and veggies, and uses legumes and olive as filling counterparts. You may be thinking, “what fruit?” In fact, olives, red pepper and cucumbers are actually all fruit. It seems wrong, but it’s oh so right. 

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad Ingredients

I think at this salad’s core there are chickpeas with cucumber and onion. But if you have a can of white beans and no chickpeas, it will still work great. Same goes if you have a yellow onion instead of red. You could even make the salad without a cucumber, but I don’t recommend that unless you don’t like cucumber. It gives the salad such a refreshing punch, it’s probably the only ingredient I wouldn’t change.

As for everything else, it’s even more adaptable. Some choose their redness to come from tomatoes, others prefer bell peppers. (I prefer peppers since they last way longer in the fridge.) Those who eat dairy might not enjoy it without feta, and those who don’t might like vegan feta or none at all. I personally love kalamata olives and parsley on this salad, but not everyone does. 

And dressing-wise, things remain open to experiment. Classically, the Mediterranean chickpea salad calls for a lemon and olive oil or white wine vinaigrette. But if you have balsamic, that will do the trick. If you have a cream-based dressing, that will do the trick, too.

Health Benefits of Mediterranean Chickpea Salad 

Chickpeas: Full of fiber and protein, these golden legumes keep you satisfied while keeping your gut microbiome happy. Chickpeas boast a great nutritional profile, including minerals like manganese, copper, zinc and an impressive amount of iron. They are also high in vitamin B6 and B9, which are especially important in pregnancy and menstruation. 

Fruits and Veggies:

Cucumber: super hydrating, this water-filled veggie is packed with minerals and antioxidants. It’s been shown to lower blood sugar, and is fiber-rich and filling. It’s also got a great percentage of vitamin-K—and there’s even more in the skin, which is why I prefer English style and organic (less need to peel).

Onion: Not to be outshined by more exotic ingredients, the common yellow onion is a wonderful source of prebiotic fiber to feed the healthy bacteria in your gut. It’s also been shown to reduce blood pressure and bad cholesterol.

Red Bell Pepper: A great source of fiber, these colorful fruits are often mistaken for vegetables. They’re high in antioxidants to keep you looking and feeling young, covering all ABC vitamins plus vitamin E. They also have a special dose of capsanthin, the potent antioxidant that makes them red.  

Olives: Whether green or black, olives are the base for much lauded olive oil. In fact, olives are the real rockstar, full of healthy monounsaturated fat. They’re high in vitamin E—great for your skin—and pack a mean punch of fiber despite their small size. 


Parsley: This flavorful little plant might be the most detoxifying of all the herbs. With really high levels of vitamins A, C and K and is an important ally for digestive and urinary tract health. It is so cleansing, it’s commonly used to stimulate menstruation (and it works!).

Lemon juice: Though it tastes acidic on your tongue, lemon juice actually helps your body be more alkaline. Lemons are packed with vitamin C, and a particular citrus fiber that has been shown to lower cholesterol (though you might need your juice pulpy to get that last benefit). 

Olive Oil: One of the best oils to have in your kitchen, olive oil is best served at room temperature (or cold) as high heat changes its structure. It’s packed with monounsaturated fat, which is anti-inflammatory and might even reduce rates of cancer. Olive oil has also been shown to prevent strokes and heart disease.

Mustard: This popular condiment has gotten lots of attention for its surprisingly high health benefits. Mustard has unique glucosinolates, which are sulfur-containing compounds found in cruciferous vegetables. These compounds are anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-fungal. They’ve even been shown to protect against cancer.

Black Pepper: A unique compound in black pepper called piperine not only reduces free radicals but is also anti-inflammatory. Black pepper can make other healing spices like turmeric and even nutrients like iron more effective, too.

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How To Make Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

Mix all ingredients and call it a day! Just kidding. Not really though, because it’s super easy. In a medium bowl, combine chickpeas, cucumbers, onion, olives, red bell pepper and parsley. Whisk the lemon and olive oil separately with a little sugar, salt and pepper, then toss onto the salad. You’re done!

This salad can be eaten alone, served with warm pita bread or with a grain like pasta, rice or quinoa. 

Trying the Mediterranean Diet?

There is no shortage of delicious Mediterranean food! This chickpea salad meets its perfect match in cold and creamy tzatziki sauce. You could eat it on top as extra dressing, or on the side.

View Easy Vegan Tzatziki

Do You Love Chickpeas As Much As I Do?

If so, you’ll love this chickpea buddha bowl! The chickpeas are roasted in delicious spices and served on quinoa (or your grain of choice) with zucchini, red peppers and sweet potatoes. You could even sub the yogurt lemon dressing for tzatziki!

View This Delicious Chickpea Buddha Bowl

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5 from 2 votes

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

This quick easy salad is delicious as a meal or a side. Packed full of fruits, veggies and olive oil, it's a classic healthy Mediterranean dish.

mediterranean chickpea salad, chickpea salad ingredients, vegan mediterranean salad, Filling vegan salad, What are chickpeas, what is the mediterranean diet, Chickpea salad, vegan salad, vegetarian salad, vegan chickpea salad
Prep Time 14 mins Cook Time 1 min Total Time 15 mins Difficulty: Beginner Servings: 8


Salad Ingredients

Dressing Ingredients


  1. Combine all salad ingredients in a medium bowl. 

  2. In a jar or small bowl, shake or whisk together all dressing ingredients. Pour over salad. 

  3. Serve immediately or refrigerate for a couple hours to further improve flavor. Can be stored in the fridge 4-5 days. 

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