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Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

Chickpeas and fresh veggies combine with basil pesto sauce to make this Mediterranean chickpea salad. This powerful plant-based protein salad can be a delicious lunch or side dish that is made very quickly. It is healthy, high in protein and full of flavor. Hearty yet light and flavorful!

Why you will love this Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

You can never say no to a delicious salad and can enjoy this recipe all year round. This salad is made with budget friendly ingredients. It is super versatile to fit your flavor preferences and dietary needs. Loaded with vitamins, nutrients, fiber and plant-based protein to keep you full.

Should I use dried or canned chickpeas?

You can use both! There is no noticeable difference between canned and dried chickpeas. Canned chickpeas help you save time. Dried Chickpeas need to be soaked and cooked by you and there's more than one way to deal with them. You can cook them on the stove, in a slow cooker or in a pressure cooker (instant pot). Soaking and cooking time is different in every way.

  • Long soak and simmer on the stove: 10 hours or overnight for soaking, plus 2 hours cooking.

  • Slow cooker: overnight soaking and approximately 4 hour on high heat or 8 hours on low heat.

  • In a pressure cooker (Instant Pot): overnight soaking and about an hour cooking.

I prefer to soak them overnight and cook them in an instant pot for quicker results. Usually, I prepare a big amount, then let the chickpeas come to a room temperature, divide in portions in airtight containers or ziplock bags and store them in the freezer. Every time I want to prepare a chickpea salad, I defrost desired portions from a night before by letting them defrost naturally on my kitchen counter or directly in the microwave (adding them in a microwave safe dish- without the ziplock bag!).

In any case, after cooking them, be sure to drain and rinse chickpeas.

Info: 1 cup of dried chickpeas will make approximately 3 cups of cooked chickpeas.

How to make Basil Pesto Salad Sauce

You can either use a store bought pesto sauce or make your own!

Ingredients for homemade Pesto salad sauce:

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

3 tbsp. pine nuts

2 tbsp. grated Parmesan (optional)

1 clove garlic

lemon zest from 1 lemon (optional)

2 tbsp. lemon juice

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

water (optional)- for adjusting consistency

In the bowl of a food processor combine basil leaves, garlic and pine nuts. Pulse until chopped. Then drizzle olive oil, lemon juice and add lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper to taste and blend until smooth. Use immediately or cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


There are endless ways to make the mediterranean chickpea salad. Some of my favorite alternatives:

  • Feta cheese

  • green olives

  • pepper

  • white or red beans

  • lemon dressing

  • parsley

How long does this recipe last?

I recommend serving the salad right away. However, if it happens you have leftovers, store them in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 days.



Preparation time: 10 mins

Servings: 4


2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cucumber, diced

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1 medium red onion, diced

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives

2 tbsp. basil pesto sauce

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (optional)

salt & pepper (optional)


  • Drain and rinse chickpeas. Add them in a bowl with the diced cucumber, halved tomatoes, diced red onion and Kalamata olives.

  • Whisk basil pesto sauce with some extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl and pour over the salad.

  • Mix to combine well.

  • Add additional pesto sauce if desired and enjoy!

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see pictures of your creation on social media. Hashtag them #sweetandsaltyfeelings and tag @sweetandsalty_feelings

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