A satisfying vegan chickpea salad ready to eat in just a few minutes! Lemon, dill, capers, and sweet-spicy jalapeño relish punch up the flavor and make this a mixture that is so delicious on salads, in component rainbowls/buddha bowls, and sandwiches (great on toast)! This recipe is gluten-free, grain-free, oil-free, and whole-food plant-based diet. So quick & easy, too!
Chickpeas are so easy to work with, and so easy to love - they’re really filling and versatile. I eat them almost every day, in one form or another - usually in hummus. When I want to change it up, I make this recipe. It’s full of fresh flavor and can come together quickly, so it’s an ideal lunch.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Silken Tofu works really well here to add a creaminess. This recipe used to contain mayo until I realized that tofu would work as more of a whole-food option and updated it. If you only have mayo, that will still work!
Lemon juice adds a nice brightness and rounds out the flavor here. In a pinch, a vinegar would likely do, though I haven't tried it. Other citrus could work, though will alter the flavor.
Any mustard will do, though I prefer spicy brown mustard.
Coconut aminos have a bit sweeter flavor, but soy sauce or tamari would likely substitute well.
Shallots or red onion would be my first choice, though spring onions or sweet Walla Wallas work nicely, too.
I feel the star of this dish is the fresh dill. I love springtime because fresh dill becomes more available, and dried dill is really no substitute for the vibrant flavor fresh dill brings. An otherwise meh salad is suddenly fantastic with a bit of this beautiful herb. All that said, in a pinch the dill could be omitted and you'd still have a delicious chickpea salad.
Organic Jalapeño Relish is so delicious in this recipe. jalapeño relish is the best supporting ingredient. The sweet hot zing of this relish supports the light and bright dill beautifully.
It can be found at many grocery stores and it’s available at Thrive Market. I love the organic, vegan, and sustainable products I can find there - and many, like the relish, are difficult to find elsewhere. The convenience of ordering online and having it shipped is wonderful, and I receive my order quickly, too. There are always deals going on, and simply joining Thrive Market provides a free membership to someone in need. I’m particular about where I spend my money, and I feel good about shopping there.
Other relishes with a sweet note work well to balance the lemon juice, capers, and mustard. If you don't have a sweet relish, though, any will do. You could add a teaspoon or so of a sweetener like maple syrup to help create balance.
Capers add a wonderful, unique tartness here. You may want to try dill pickle in its place for something close, but really there isn't much of a substitute for capers.
Lemon zest elevates this dish, but can be omitted if needed.
Cooked or canned chickpeas are the vehicle for all of these amazing flavors. If you only have a different kind of bean, though, go ahead and try it- beans are generally neutral enough to carry the flavors well.
You may not need any salt & pepper (though I tend to add pepper to everything). The mustard, capers, and lemon juice may cover the salt. That's why I recommend tasting first and adding salt & pepper only if desired.
Ways to Enjoy these Chickpeas
I love that chickpea salads can be enjoyed in a bowl with veggies or as a sandwich filling. They make for a satisfying packable lunch, and this particular one will likely have you wanting to pack your lunch more often rather than eat out.
In a Salad
Once you’ve made the chickpea salad, it’s ready to top your salad of choice. I like going to the farmers market and getting whatever organic produce happens to be in season, then going from there. The salad pictured includes arugula, spinach, kale, and mixed lettuces with cucumber, pink and purple radishes, and avocado. I like garnishing my salads with edible flowers whenever possible, like the pansies pictured.
In a Sandwich
This protein-packed chickpea salad makes an excellent sandwich spread, too. This is the kind of sandwich to look forward to at lunchtime! Again, feel free to mix up the veggies depending on what’s in season. Here, I’ve included the same veggies in the sandwich that I used in the salad, and it is a delight - especially on an everything bagel! Make sure you have a napkin handy.
More Salad Recipes
Vegan Chickpea Salad
- blender or small food processor, or bowl & whisk
- 4 tablespoons silken tofu
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 teaspoon mustard I usually use spicy brown, but any will do
- 1 teaspoon water
- 2 teaspoons coconut aminos
- ½ teaspoon maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons shallot or red or spring onions, minced
- 2 tablespoons dill fresh, minced
- 1 tablespoon relish jalapeño or other sweet relish
- 3 cups chickpeas cooked, or two cans, rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest optional but so delicious
- salt & pepper optional, to taste
- Combine the tofu, mustard, lemon juice, capers, water, coconut aminos, and maple syrup in a blender or small food processor. Alternatively, whisk these ingredients in a large bowl until smooth.
- In a large bowl, combine the mixture above with the shallot/onion, dill, relish, and zest (if using), stirring well to combine. Then add the chickpeas and stir well. Taste and add salt & pepper, if desired.
- The mixture will be more flavorful if the flavors are allowed to meld for awhile in the fridge before serving. Then, enjoy on a salad, in a component bowl, or in a sandwich.