This flavorful vegetarian & gluten-free chickpea, pesto, and mozzarella salad is ready in 5 minutes using just 5 healthy ingredients! It's great as a side salad and can easily be modified into a main dish.
This spinach salad is a great side salad to enjoy with tofu cutlets, pesto pasta, or anywhere that needs a serving of veggies. It's a great alternative to classic chickpea salad, especially if you aren't a fan of mayo-based salads.
Pesto chickpea salad comes together in just 5 minutes using only 5 ingredients. Enjoy it as a side salad or make into a main meal by adding pasta, extra protein, and extra veggies like cucumber.
- Chickpeas: I use just one can of chickpeas but you can use two if you want to stretch the recipe further.
- Pesto: This recipe would definitely be amazing with my avocado pesto or homemade basil pesto but I usually use store-bought pesto because it makes the recipe truly quick and easy to make. One 6-7 ounce jar will do.
- Grape tomatoes: Slice in half for a pop of acid and flavor. Cherry tomatoes also work!
- Mozzarella pearls: Probably the best part of the recipe, these small little balls of mozzarella make the meal more filling and flavorful. Mozzarella balls come in all sizes, so you can go for the smaller ones if you prefer. You can also take a whole mozzarella ball and slice it up.
- Serving ideas: You can easily make this salad into a meal prep-friendly salad in a jar just by adding chilled pasta. It is also great served with crackers as an appetizer.
- Veggies: You can add any veggies that you like to this recipe. I think raw veggies like red bell pepper, cucumber, or broccoli would go well.
- Pasta: Make it a pasta salad by adding chilled rotini, elbow noodles, etc.
Definitely! Make this recipe vegan by using vegan mozzarella cheese (Miyoko's brand is delicious) and choosing a vegan pesto (my vegan lasagna has a homemade vegan pesto!).
White beans (cannellini, great northern, etc.) can be used in place of chickpeas.
Serving and storage
I recommend making the pesto salad and then refrigerating it for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Keep leftovers refrigerated in a closed container for up to 3-4 days.
I love serving this on a bed of spinach with plenty of freshly ground black pepper on top. It would also be really good in a wrap (just like these curry chickpea wraps!).
More vegetarian lunch ideas
If you like this salad then you'll love this one-pot mushroom and pesto orzo. You might also like these recipes:
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Chickpea Pesto Salad
- 15 ounce can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 6 ounces pesto see note
- 8 ounces mozzarella pearls
- 8 ounces grape tomatoes sliced in half
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- coarse salt to taste
- 4 handfuls spinach for serving
- Add chickpeas to a medium bowl. Add pesto and stir with a spoon to coat.
- Toss with mozzarella pearls (drain any liquid off the pearls) and halved grape tomatoes. Add an ample amount of freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.
- Optional: chill for 30 minutes or enjoy as is. To serve, divide the chickpea salad into four portions. Serve each portion on a bed of fresh spinach. Enjoy!
- Pesto: Jars vary in size but anywhere around 6-7 ounces works. You can also use homemade pesto.
- Leftovers: Keep leftovers refrigerated in a closed container for 3-4 days.
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So simple and fresh! A great idea for lunch.