Chickpea Salad with Feta and lemon vinaigrette is wonderful served as a light lunch with a wedge of warm flatbread, or as a side dish to your favorite grilled meats and seafood. Originally published June 2, 2014.
My Mom’s Recipe for Chickpea Salad with Feta
My mother has been making this chickpea salad for as long as I can remember. It’s one of those dishes that I’ve always made “by eye,” so it was fun to finally measure everything out when preparing it for the blog.
The salad is simple yet satisfying, combining hearty chickpeas with tangy Feta, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and fresh herbs. It’s also very adaptable to your personal tastes by adjusting the quantity of lemon juice in the vinaigrette or swapping out different herbs or cheeses.
Chickpea salad is a great side dish for grilled chicken or lamb chops. Personally, I like it best served on its own with nothing more than a fork and a warm wedge of naan to dip in the lemon vinaigrette at the bottom of the bowl. Perfect for a meatless lunch.
Heading to the market? Check out my Feta guide to learn more about the cheese and what to look for!
Chickpeas: My Go-To Legume
Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans and ceci) are my favorite member of the legume family. They’re delicately-flavored, packed with protein and nutrients, and are naturally gluten-free.
Did you know? You’ll most often find beige chickpeas at the grocery store, but there are also green, purple, red, and black varieties! To read more about, check out the All About Chickpeas guide on The Spruce Eats.
As a pantry staple, I love how versatile chickpeas are. You can serve them spiced and baked for a guilt-free snack, blended as the base roasted red pepper hummus, or to make hearty meatless soups stews.
I also love folding them into couscous salad for a protein boost, and dressing them as the star ingredient for chickpea salad, as I’ve done here.
Canned vs. Dried Cooked Chickpeas
I use both varieties to make this recipe, depending on my schedule. For convenience, my pantry always has cans of chickpeas on the shelf.
When I want to make a recipe like this chickpea salad, particularly on a busy weekday, I haven’t always had the foresight to plan ahead in cooking the beans. That said, when the scheduling stars align, freshly-cooked chickpeas are my first choice.
I find that cooked, dried chickpeas tend to be more buttery in texture than the canned variety, with a deeper flavor. The texture pairs especially well with the Feta in this recipe.
How to Cook Dried Chickpeas
To cook dried beans, you can either use a soak and simmer stovetop method, or use an electric pressure cooker.
To cook chickpeas on the stove: Sort through the dried beans to remove any stones or discolored beans. You’ll need 1-½ cups dried chickpeas to make 3 cups cooked.
Rinse chickpeas and place in a large bowl with enough water to cover by about 2 inches. Soak overnight (12-hours).
Drain and transfer soaked chickpeas to a large pot. Fill with water to cover chickpeas by 2-3 inches and bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce heat and simmer for 1-½ to 2 hours, until chickpeas are tender, but not mushy. Drain and cool until just slightly warm or room temperature.
This pressure cooker method from The Kitchn cuts the overnight soak down to 1 minute, and the two-hour simmer down to 15 minutes.
Did you know? Freshly-cooked chickpeas freeze well! If you make a batch in advance and store them, they can be just as convenient as canned.
Chickpea Salad FAQ’s
Q. Can I use other herbs in this salad?
A. Absolutely! I add fresh parsley year-round, but during the summer months especially, I like to introduce other flavors. Fresh basil is lovely, as are thyme leaves, a hint of oregano, dill, or even a little chopped mint.
Q. What cheeses could I use instead of Feta?
A. Feta is my first choice for this salad, for its salty, briny, creamy flavors and textures. That said, you could also switch it up by adding shaved Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese (like in my Arugula Salad).
Crumbled goat cheese would also work well (fold it in gently so it doesn’t break up too much). Or, try tossing in warm, fried halloumi cubes.
Q. Can I Make Chickpea Salad Ahead for Meal Prep?
A. Yes, with a minor tweak. The flavor of the salad will definitely improve as the chickpeas marinate in the vinaigrette. I find that if the salad sits overnight fully assembled, the herbs tend to wilt a bit. The crumbled Feta can also start to break down.
To prep the salad ahead, mix everything together but the herbs and cheese. Fold them in before you’re going to serve.
Bear in mind that the oil in the vinaigrette might solidify a bit when it’s chilled. This is normal. The dressing will return to a fluid consistency as it warms back to room temperature (about 20 minutes on the counter).
Chickpea Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and Feta
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas (2, 15 ounce cans, rinsed and drained)
- 4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil **
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
- ½ cup crumbled Feta
- Gently dry chickpeas between a double-layer of paper towels, discarding any loosened skins.
- In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic. Add in chickpeas and parsley and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.***
- Gently stir salad and fold in crumbled Feta. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper and serve.
This was just the recipe I was looking for!
I had a similar salad at a Mediterranean restaurant and was craving it. There was something magical and, at first, unidentifiable in it.
My son and I figured it out…yay us!
*Very* finely shaved fresh fennel.
My go-to lunch, party favor and dinner side.
This recipe is gorgeous. Thank you!
This is going to be a regular go to. It was quick easy and delish!
Marie H. says
I absolutely loved this salad! It is so bright and fresh tasting. I made it exactly according to directions. Perfect!
Amanda Biddle says
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Marie! Thank you for your review!
Amanda Biddle says
You need 3 cups of cooked chickpeas. 1-1/2 if starting with dry beans.
Amy Nash says
This is just gorgeous and I’m dying to make this for lunch one of these days when it isn’t so rainy! I love those recipes that are done “by hand” and figuring out how to capture that knowledge since we have a bunch like that where grandmas or aunts who were “famous” for such-and-such recipe have passed on and no one can quite recreate the dish anymore! The flavors and textures in this salad are just so fantastic!
YUM! A local cafe makes similar salad and I have always wanted to replicate it at home, I need to try this version out. I also need to try out that instant pot method of cooking the chickpeas, I like the sound of a faster soak and cook time!
I love chickpeas and I almost always have a few cans on hand! I need to start buying raw chickpeas- but I’ll probably keep being lazy :D This looks fabulous- I want it for lunch tomorrow!
What a lovely and flavorful salad! I love feta with chickpeas together!
Amanda Mason says
Ok…yes to everything about this salad! Chickpeas are also my go to legume and I love that I can used canned or dried! I’m printing out this salad right now and I’m definately making it this week! So healthy – I love this!
Your pictures of the chickpea feta salad are tempting me to make this asap! Such a beautiful salad full of gorgeous fresh flavors and the best part is that it’s filling too. My husband is a huge chickpea fan so I will have to try your recipe soon! Protein power. :)
First of all… First photo – STUNNING! The styling is just spot on with so many layers and textures that compliment each other. I keep just studying it over and over again!
Second – wow, I didn’t even know that there were so many varieties of chickpeas. I’ve only seen the beige one but now I’m curious to see all the other coloured versions. I bet combined together they would make a stunning colourful chickpea dish.
I love non-greek Fetas. Russian stores usually carry about 5-6 different kinds and I like to try them out before buying. I like bulgarian feta a lot.
I love cooking with chickpeas! They are fantastic in salads, soups, dips, and even when ground into flour to bake with! This chickpea and feta salad looks delicious… I can’t wait to make it once the weather warms up a bit and serve it with grilled chicken. Definitely pinning!
Leslie Gibbons says
I now have a new “go to” light and healthy lunch. This was very quick to prepare and used items found in my kitchen. I added a bit more lemon as that is one if my favorite flavors and served it for dinner along with steak. It was very good. This will definitely be added to my regular rotation of recipes