This Mediterranean Chickpea Salad is simple but so flavourful! It combines chickpeas with fresh vegetables and delicious canned tuna, all dressed up with a classic Spanish vinaigrette. It makes a great standalone meal, but it’s also perfect as a side or starter. What’s more, do you need a packed meal or have a planned picnic or barbecue? This is your salad as it can be prepared in advance and it’s so good that everybody will love it.
I cannot recall the first time I ever ate this salad at home. It has been one of those recipes that I have grown up with. Well, actually at my parent’s we didn’t add cucumber, because I’ll tell you a small secret… I don’t like cucumber (don’t ask me why, cause I try very hard to get to like them, but I never succeed – it’s basically the smell, not the texture).
So why do you see cucumber in here? My partner is the greatest fan of cucumbers and since he was going to take this salad as packed lunch on the next day, I decided to add them – just note that it is totally optional lol.
Canned or Dried Chickpeas?
If you want to have a meal in literally 5 minutes then go for canned chickpeas. Nowadays, there are really good brands like this Spanish one (we are very lucky in Spain when it comes to pulses and legumes). In addition, they don’t call for switching on the stove so if it’s a very very very hot summery day when you just can’t be bothered to turn the heat on, definitely go for canned chickpeas.
What to look for in canned chickpeas? Make sure they are tender ones and that they have only been cooked with water and salt only. If you read the ingredients list, you can sometimes find other weird ingredients included… If possible, avoid these ones.
If you happen to have dried chickpeas, which is great too, just account for some extra time (I actually used dried chickpeas for the salad you see in the pictures). What you need to do is soak them for 12 hours (I do it overnight) – make sure you put plenty of water as they will double in size! Also, if it’s very hot, allow them to soak in the fridge. Then drain them, rinse them and put them in a pot with room temperature water. Cook for 1-2h in a regular pot (time may vary depending on the soaking time, chickpea size…) or 20-30 minutes in a pressure cooker.
Tune this Mediterranean Chickpea Salad to Your Liking
If you want to switch out any of the salad ingredients for your preferred addition, you easily can! Not a fan of cucumber like me? Leave it out. Want to keep it vegan? Remove the tuna, chickpeas already have a high protein content. Are you vegetarian? Swap the tuna with feta for instance.
Other delicious additions are:
- Hard-boiled eggs: I love to roughly chop them and stir them into the salad. The yolk adds a delicious creamy touch.
- Avocado: a plant-based option to add creaminess.
- Olives: green or black, they are another Mediterranean staple.
Last But Not Least, the Vinaigrette
A classic Spanish vinaigrette consists of 3 elements: extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and salt. To these I have added parsley to add a fresh touch and black pepper for the fragrance, I think they pair so well with the chickpeas. You can omit the parsley if you don’t like it. Alternatively, you can also add some dijon mustard (whole grain or smooth, up to you), it gives a little kick to it all.
All in all, this classic parsley vinaigrette is perfectly tart and fresh and you can put it on everything. If you have any leftover dressing, store it in a jar and keep in the fridge for days.
Another option would be to use my capers vinaigrette, also very Mediterranean. So use the one you prefer for this Mediterranean Chickpea Salad.
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If you make this Mediterranean Chickpea Salad, be sure to leave a comment and rate it. Hearing from you is everything! Oh, and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram, I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking!
Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- 250 g cooked chickpeas - drained weight
- 12 cherry tomatoes - quartered
- 50 g canned tuna - drained weight
- 1 small red onion - finely chopped
- ½ cucumber - partially peeled, halved and sliced
- 120 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 40 ml red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley - chopped
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Rinse the chickpeas and place them to a bowl.
- Add the tomatoes, tuna, onion and cucumber.
- Prepare the dressing by mixing all the ingredients. Adjust salt and black pepper to taste.
- Dress the salad and toss to combine. Enjoy!
- It serves 2 people as a main, 4 people as a side.