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 1-1/2 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 1-1/2 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 OR 1-1/2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked, cooked, and drained)
- 4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil **
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
- 1/2 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.