This vegan chickpea salad recipe is the answer to all of your plant-based lunch needs! You can serve it on sandwiches, salads, and wraps! It's filling, healthy, and ready in just 15 minutes.
Before there was chickpea salad, there was chicken salad. Growing up, chicken salad sandwiches were my favorite lunch.
With just shredded chicken, mayo, a little bit of mustard, and dried dill, those sandwiches could easily fill up my belly and my heart.
This is one of the first recipes I shared on Cozy Peach Kitchen and it is still as good as ever. In fact, I've been eating this vegan chickpea salad (or some variation of it) for years!
Why this recipe works
- Quick and easy: I'm talking inexpensive pantry staples and only 10 minutes. What's better than that?
- Versatile: Keep chickpea salad traditional with chickpea salad sandwiches, or make a wrap, eat with crackers, or make a salad with leafy greens.
- Easily customizable: Add your favorite veggies, nuts, seeds, etc. to customize chickpea salad using whatever you have on hand.
- Healthy: Chickpeas are a great meatless alternative because they are packed with fiber, vegan protein, and complex carbohydrates. Smash them up with a handful of seasonings, toss them with veggies and you have yourself a satisfying vegan lunch.
Ingredients and substitutions
This recipe is made up of a few components: chickpeas, veggies, add-ins, the "creaminess" factor, and seasonings.
- Chickpeas: Also known as garbanzo beans, we'll use about 3 cups total or two 15 ounce cans. Alternately, cook chickpeas from dry in the instant pot.
- Veggies: I use the classic combination of celery, onion, and carrots. You can also try out bell peppers, diced broccoli, or any other fresh veggie you have on hand.
- Mayo and tahini: I use vegan mayonnaise and tahini, but you can use 100% tahini or 100% mayonnaise. Tahini adds extra depth and a touch of nuttiness. If you like a really creamy salad I recommend doubling the mayo.
- Spices: Whole grain brown mustard adds a punch of flavor. You can also use Dijon, spicy brown mustard, or honey mustard for a different flavor. Keep seasonings simple with salt, pepper, and dry dill.
- Extra add-ins: Add toasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds for extra crunch, nutrition, and depth of flavor. You can also add dried fruit like raisins or dry cranberries.
Step by step instructions
- Mash the chickpeas: Use a fork or potato masher (this potato masher is convenient for so much more than just mashed potatoes) to mash the chickpeas until mostly broken down. Leave a few whole chickpeas intact for texture. I think that it's easiest to mash chickpeas if you mash them with the mayo and tahini.
- Add the remaining ingredients: Add the apple cider vinegar, dry dill and salt. Stir to combine. Fold in the red onion, carrot, celery, sunflower seeds, raisins. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste and taste for salt.
- Chill: Chickpea salad is best served cold. Toast whole wheat bread and top with all the best sandwich makings: pickles, lettuce, tomato and avocado.
Tips for success
- Veggie size: I recommended finely dicing veggies so that they blend into the salad. Save prep time by using a food processor to quickly blitz vegetables.
- Texture: I recommend fully mashing ~75% of the chickpeas. Leave some chickpeas whole and some just a little broken down for a variety of textures.
- Have trouble mashing the chickpeas? I've found that simmering chickpeas on the stove softens them and makes them much easier to mash. Simmer canned chickpeas in the liquid from the can. Drain the chickpeas and pat dry with a clean towel before mashing.
- Mayo: I use vegan mayonnaise to make this recipe vegan, but an equal amount of regular mayo also works.
- Other beans: Yes, you can make chickpea salad with other kinds of beans! White beans are the best replacement for chickpeas. They're also much easier to mash.
Storage and freezing
Leftovers: Keep chickpea salad refrigerated in a closed container for 4-5 days.
Freezing: Freeze leftovers in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Let thaw completely in the fridge overnight before enjoying.
This chickpea salad is gluten-free if you use a gluten-free bread, but you don't have to go the sandwich route!
- Salad: Add to a bed of lettuce or spinach and drizzle with tahini goddess dressing.
- Snack or appetizer: Serve with crackers or baby carrots as a spread or dip.
- Wraps: Wrap up in a tortilla instead of bread for a handheld meal.
Meal prep: This recipe makes 5 sandwich servings, so it's great for packed lunches. I pack my sandwich in these glass containers and bring this freezable lunch box to work to keep my sandwiches cool until lunch-time.
Looking for more meal prep recipes?
Check out this recipe plus 3 other chickpea salad recipes on my Chickpea Salad 4 Ways YouTube Video.
Did you try this recipe? You can leave a star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ in the recipe card or a review down in the comments section. I always appreciate your feedback! You can also follow along on my YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest or sign up for my newsletter!
Vegan Chickpea Salad
- 2 15 ounce cans chickpeas see note 1
- ¼ cup vegan mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar see note 2
- 1 teaspoon dry dill
- ¼ teaspoon salt more to taste
- ½ cup diced red onion
- ¼ cup diced carrot
- ¼ cup diced celery
- ¼ cup roasted sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup raisins
- fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Add the chickpeas, mayonnaise, tahini and mustard a medium bowl. Mash with a fork or potato masher until most of the chickpeas are broken down. I like to leave a few whole pieces. You can also use a food processor to break down the chickpeas.
- Add apple cider vinegar, dry dill and salt. Stir to combine. Add in the remaining ingredients: red onion, carrot, celery, sunflower seeds, raisins. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste and taste for salt.
- Portion out ⅕ of the recipe onto a slice of whole wheat bread. Top with lettuce, tomato, and all of your favorite sandwich fillings.
- Chickpeas: If using canned chickpeas, drain off liquid and pat chickpeas dry with a paper towel or cloth to remove excess moisture. Two cans chickpeas = ~3 cups. You can simmer the chickpeas with their juices for ~10 minutes to make them easier to mash. Drain the chickpeas and pat dry before using.
- Apple cider vinegar can be replaced with regular vinegar or lemon juice as needed.
- Leftovers: This recipe makes 5 sandwich servings. The chickpea salad itself keeps for 4-5 days refrigerated in a closed container.
- Serving: Use chickpea salad in sandwiches, wraps, as a snack with crackers or veggies, and on salad. I pack my sandwich in these glass containers and bring this freezable lunch box to work to keep my sandwiches cool until lunch-time.