Marinated chickpeas are an easy way to add protein and herby flavor to salads, wraps, and bowls. They take just 15 minutes to mix together and are perfect for meal prep! This post features 3 different marinade flavors to try.
Just like marinated tofu and other proteins, chickpeas are even better after marinating. I first started marinating chickpeas for my Mediterranean quinoa bowls, and since then I've been experimenting with a few different flavors.
This recipe features three different styles of marinated chickpeas: sun-dried pesto, balsamic marinated chickpeas, and falafel-style chickpeas. If you're more of a visual learner, check out my YouTube video all about marinated chickpeas.
This is the perfect recipe for meal prep because it can be served in several different ways and the chickpeas actually taste even better after a few days in the fridge.
- Quick & easy: It only takes about 15 minutes to make a batch of marinated chickpeas.
- Versatile: Perfect for lunch meal prep. Add marinated chickpeas to pasta, wraps, or salads. They are also great as a snack or appetizer!
- Flavors: All three of these recipes feature bright, fresh, and herby flavors. This is an easy way to add an instant pop of flavor to otherwise simple meals.
Some of the ingredients used in each recipe are the same, while others are different. Each recipe uses chickpeas, olive oil, some kind of vinegar or lemon juice, salt & pepper, and fresh or dry herbs.
The image below shows the ingredients for the sun-dried tomato chickpeas and falafel chickpeas. Disregard the shallot, it is not used in these recipes.
- Chickpeas: These recipes are written for one 15.5-ounce can of chickpeas, which is equivalent to roughly 1 and ½ cups of chickpeas. I make Instant Pot chickpeas from dry chickpeas, but the convenience of canned chickpeas works just as well.
- Olive oil: I recommend high-quality olive oil because it imparts a fair amount of flavor to the chickpeas. However, olive oil can be replaced with any of your favorite neutral cooking oils, like avocado oil or even canola oil.
- Balsamic vinegar: As with olive oil, high-quality balsamic vinegar is preferred for the best flavor.
- Lemon juice is used in all three marinated chickpea flavors. As a rule of thumb, one medium lemon tends to yield 2 tablespoons of juice and 1 teaspoon of lemon zest.
- Sun-dried tomatoes combine with dry basil and slivered almonds for the pesto-style marinade. I recommend choosing dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes for more control over the amount of oil in the marinade. Oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes are also trickier to break down in a blender. Slivered almonds are already sliced almonds. I recommend these because they are easy to break down, but regular almonds will work if that's what you have on hand.
- Fresh herbs: Fresh dill and parsley are used in the falafel-inspired chickpea marinade. I recommend sticking to fresh because this is a key flavor component in the recipe.
Tips for success
- Blender/food processor: The sun-dried tomato chickpeas do require a blender or food processor to make. If you don't have one available, just chop the almonds and sun-dried tomatoes by hand. This will take more effort, but it is doable.
- Marinade time: As with other marinated meals (think marinated pasta salad, marinated baked tofu, etc.), longer marinade time yields more flavorful food. While the chickpeas are ready immediately after assembly, they taste even better after chilling for an hour or on the next day.
- The chickpeas do not necessarily have to be chilled before serving, but it is recommended.
- Serving utensil: If serving in wraps or sandwiches, I recommend serving the chickpeas with a slotted spoon. This allows the excess marinade to drain off, which keeps the pita and bread from becoming soggy.
- Different flavors: The best part about marinated chickpeas is that there are endless flavor options! Feel free to experiment with different types of oil, vinegar, and other seasonings. I think that pesto-marinated chickpeas would be delicious, similar to the method I used in my pesto orzo salad.
- If doubling or tripling the amount of chickpeas, all other ingredients should also be doubled/tripled.
- The balsamic and falafel-style chickpeas are best served cold, while the sun-dried tomato chickpeas can be served cold or warm.
Leftovers are best within 4 to 5 days. Keep chickpeas refrigerated in a closed container.
Freezing: The sun-dried tomato chickpeas freeze best because they don't have fresh herbs or onions. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months, then let thaw overnight in the fridge before serving. The other varieties can be frozen, but note that the herbs and onions wilt and their texture decreases in quality after freezing.
- Bowls: Serve a scoop of chickpeas with quinoa or farro, fresh crunchy veggies like cucumber and bell pepper, and hummus. Check out these Mediterranean-style chickpea bowls for reference.
- Salad: Swap out the chickpeas in this mason jar salad for marinated chickpeas, or add marinated chickpeas to arugula salad or spinach salad for additional protein.
- Wraps: Just like chickpea salad, marinated chickpeas go well in wraps or stuffed into pita with lettuce, cucumbers, and hummus.
- Pasta: The sun-dried tomato chickpeas go really well served warm in pasta with sauteed spinach, sauteed onion, and goat cheese. The other two varieties go well in chilled pasta salads.
- Snack or appetizer: Spread a plate with a block of goat cheese, then top with a large scoop of sun-dried tomato chickpeas and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with crackers for a party appetizer or fancy snack.
Looking for more chickpea recipes?
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Marinated Chickpeas (3 Ways!)
- 15.5 ounce can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- ½ small red onion finely diced
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- ¼ cup chopped dill
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic grated
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice from ~1 medium lemon
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest from ~1 medium lemon
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt adjust to taste
Sun-Dried Tomato Chickpeas
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, parsley, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add the chickpeas. Stir to coat in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for an hour to chill or serve immediately.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the red onion, chopped parsley, dill, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, cumin, and salt. Add the chickpeas. Stir to coat in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for an hour to chill or serve immediately.
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Chickpeas
- Add the sun-dried tomatoes and almonds to a blender. Pulse a few times until they are broken down into crumbly pieces. Transfer to a medium bowl.
- To the same bowl whisk in the olive oil, water, lemon juice, basil, smoked paprika, and salt. Add the chickpeas. Toss to combine in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for an hour to chill or serve immediately.
- Sun-dried tomatoes: I recommend dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes instead of oil-packed tomatoes for this recipe. It allows for more control over oil amounts and makes blending the tomatoes a lot easier.
- Almonds: Slivered almonds are thinly sliced almonds. I recommend these because they break down very easily. Regular almonds also work.
- If you don't have a blender, the almonds and tomatoes can be chopped by hand.
- Leftovers should be stored refrigerated in a closed container. They are best within 4 to 5 days.
- Serve on top of salads, in wraps or pita bread, tossed with pasta, or as a snack with crackers. The balsamic and falafel-style chickpeas are best served chilled, while the sun-dried tomato chickpeas can be served chilled or warm.