Today’s recipe for Creamy Chickpea Salad is a plant-based “spin” on chicken salad. It’s super easy to make and is a solid addition to your meal prep routine. Why? In my opinion, not only is it easy to make, but you can also add a few things to change up the flavor thus creating multiple dishes!! Make a batch of the basic Creamy Chickpea Salad on Sunday and then use the different variations during the week to make it a little bit different each day.
The basic recipe is only seven ingredients most of which require little prep. Then with just a bit more time, you can add a few more ingredients and change it up and get totally different flavors. The options are endless but I give you eight different ways that I think work well.
What makes this Creamy Chickpea Salad recipe so quick and easy is that it requires very little prep. You can cook your own chickpeas, which may take more time but pretty much they can cook unattended, or you can take a shortcut and purchase canned beans. The only thing that really needs to be chopped are the onions. The chickpeas a bit of mashing which can be done quickly with a potato masher or a fork. After that, throw everything into a bowl and mix it up!!
It’s no doubt that chickpeas are one of my favorite legumes. They have lots of uses and kind of a neutral taste, so they mix in well with a variety of preparations and flavors. I eat them often in hummus, on salads and also with pasta and sauce.
Chickpeas have been around for a long time and likely hail from Egypt which may be why they are frequently used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods.
Chickpeas are loaded with protein and eating 100 grams (slightly less than 2/3 cup) of cooked chickpeas provides 164 calories along with 9 grams of protein or 18% of the daily required needs of protein for a person eating a 2,000 calorie diet. Also, chickpeas are low in fat and a good source of fiber providing 8 grams of fiber per 100 grams, which is almost 30% the daily requirement of 25 grams.
Chickpeas are packed full of other essential vitamins and minerals. Essential nutrients are those that our body can’t make on their own, meaning we need to eat them. These nutrients all serve various functions in the body.
The top performers of eating 100 grams of chickpeas are:
- Manganese 52%
- Folate 43%
- Copper 18%
- Phosphorous 17%
- Magnesium 12%
- Zinc 10%
How does eating more chickpeas aid your health?
May help with weight control
Chickpeas are high in fiber, low in energy density and have a medium amount of protein which may benefit your hunger and satisfaction (satiety) when eating them. Research studies indicate that those that consume more chickpeas and legumes are lower in weight and measurements.
May aid blood sugar levels
Chickpeas are naturally a low glycemic index food and some studies indicate eating chickpeas improves insulin resistance.
Lower risk of cardiovascular disease
Eating chickpeas may reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol via the soluble fibers they contain. In addition, studies indicate that eating more pulses lowers blood pressure.
May reduce risk of cancer
This benefit likely comes from the various phytonutrients in chickpeas such as lycopene, saponins and others.
Chickpeas contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber helps to slow down digestion which may also improve satiety. The insoluble improves healthy bowel movements.
For this Creamy Chickpea Salad recipe, I substituted Greek yogurt for the mayonnaise traditionally used in most creamy salads. The tricky part is that the yogurt is slightly more bland while having a more milky taste to it. I’ve added in lemon or lime juice and bit of extra mustard to try to spice it up and camouflage the dairy flavor. Using the yogurt also requires adding a bit of salt and pepper for flavor. The recipe is flexible so feel free to add more mustard or lemon/lime juice to get it to a taste that you prefer.
The avocado is added in as a healthy fat replacement for the fat removed when eliminating the mayonnaise. That way you still get a similar creaminess and texture in this version of a creamy chickpea salad.
Delicious variations on the basic Creamy Chickpea Salad
Green Apple and Cranberry*
Dice up one granny smith apple into small pieces. Add apple and 2 T dried cranberries to the salad. For one serving, use ¼ of an apple and 1½ tsp dried cranberries.
Mango Chili Lime*
Replace lemon juice in recipe with lime juice. Dice up ½ cup mango. Add mango, ½ tsp aji panco chili powder and an additional 1 T of lime juice to the salad. For one serving: use 2 T mango, dash of chili powder and 1 tsp lime juice. NOTE: Aji panco is a peruvian pepper and you an likely buy it online from Amazon or another spice vendor. A recommended substitute I believe may be easier to find in the US is is ancho powder.
Replace lemon juice in recipe with lime juice. Add ½ cooked corn, ¼ cup diced bell pepper, 2 T minced cilantro, ¼ tsp chipotle chili powder*. If you don’t have chipotle chili powder, you can substitute with smoked paprika and a dash of cayenne. For one serving: 2 T cooked corn, 1 T diced bell pepper, 1 ½ tsp cilantro and dash of chipotle chili powder.
Add 1 tsp oregano, ¼ cup feta cheese and 2 T diced Kalamata olives. For one serving add dash of oregano, 1 T feta cheese and 1½ tsp olives.
Slice up zucchini, onion and eggplant into ¼ slices, brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast them in the oven for 15-20 minutes until tender. Allow them to cook and then top off the basic chickpea salad sandwich or wrap with the roasted vegetables.
Mix in 1 T Buffalo sauce, ¼ cup finely diced celery. Sprinkle blue cheese crumbles on top. For one serving: 1 tsp buffalo sauce (or more if desired), 1 T celery and sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles.
Pomegranate and Spinach
Add in 1 cup julienned spinach strips and ¼ cup of pomegranate seeds. For one serving: ¼ cup spinach and 1 T pomegranate seeds.
Mix in 2 cups finely chopped romaine lettuce into classic chickpea salad and sprinkle top with parmesan cheese. For one serving: ½ cup romaine lettuce and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
The ones with the asterisks are pictured in the post!!! My top two favorites are the Mango Chili Lime and the Spicy Buffalo. I feel like they have the most flavor going on but then I generally go for anything on the spicy side!!!
Serving it up!!
Make a sandwich
You can eat this Creamy Chickpea Salad on just about any type of bread. I recommend choosing whole grain breads which contain more nutrients making them a healthier option.
Most grains contain three distinctive parts: the bran, germ and endosperm. The bran which makes up the outer shell of the grain contains fiber, B vitamins and antioxidants. The germ which is the inner part of the grain contains B vitamins, some protein, minerals and healthy fats. In summary, whole grain breads contain all three parts of the grain whereas in refined white bread, everything is stripped away except for the endosperm.
The easiest way to determine whether or not your bread contains whole grains is to check the ingredient list. You want a bread that contains the word “whole” along with the grain at the TOP of the ingredient list.
Or eat it with greens
This Creamy Chickpea Salad works well served on top of your choice of greens. I recommend choosing leafy greens such as green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, kale, spinach, arugula or watercress because they are full of tons of nutrients!! You can also add in other cut vegetables to make a filling salad for your meal.
If you want more low carb but still want to eat it like a sandwich, consider making lettuce wraps with romaine or Bib lettuce leaves or stuffing the salad in a tomato or bell pepper half!!
Creamy Chickpea Salad
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- ¼ cup red onion chopped
- 1 T Dijon mustard
- 1 T lemon or lime juice
- ½ avocado mashed
- ½ cup 2% Greek yogurt
- 2 T green onion
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place the chickpeas in a bowl and gently mash with a fork. The mixture doesn’t need to be completely smooth so just mash until it is a consistency you desire. I like mine with a little bit of pieces still intact.
- Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Dice up one granny smith apple into small pieces. Add apple and 2 T dried cranberries to the salad. Mango Chili Lime
Replace lemon juice in recipe with lime juice. Dice up ½ cup mango. Add mango, ½ tsp aji panco chili powder to the salad. Southwest
Replace lemon juice in recipe with lime juice. Add ½ cooked corn, ¼ cup diced bell pepper, 2 T minced cilantro, ¼ tsp chipotle chili powder*. If you don’t have chipotle chili powder, you can substitute with smoked paprika and a dash of cayenne. Mediterranean
Add 1 tsp oregano, ¼ cup feta cheese and 2 T diced Kalamata olives Roasted Veggie
Slice up zucchini, onion and eggplant into ¼ slices, brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top off the basic chickpea salad sandwich or wrap with roasted vegetables. Buffalo
Mix in 1 T Buffalo sauce, ¼ cup finely diced celery. Sprinkle blue cheese crumbles on top. Pomegranate and Spinach
Add in 1 cup julienned spinach strips and ¼ cup of pomegranate seeds. Caesar
Mix in 2 cups finely chopped romaine lettuce into classic chickpea salad and sprinkle top with parmesan cheese.
Did you try out this recipe? What about any of the different variations? Please be sure to leave me a comment here and tell me your thoughts. And, if you like the recipe be sure to give it FIVE STARS!!!
Here are some other quick and easy recipes and meal prep tips from the blog you might want to check out!!!