Chickpea Salad

February 2, 2009


My girlfriends and I threw a bridal shower for our friend Emily on Saturday night. It wasn’t a run-of-the-mill shower, by any means. It was at night, for one thing. And we traded dainty cups of tea for icy blood orange margaritas. Oh, and one other thing: the bride was already married! (She went and had such a quick engagement that we didn’t have time to fête her before the nuptials; thankfully, we (and she) subscribe to the better late than never philosophy.) All in all, the tequila and the darkness and the married lady made for a great bridal shower.



Surprising no one, I jumped at the chance to cook for the shower. I’ll admit that the first item on the menu was the margaritas. But today’s recipe was the second thing I added to the menu. I knew Emily liked chickpeas and I did all sorts of brainstorming for a chickpea dish. Again and again, I came back to a chickpea salad that has become a staple for us since I discovered it on Orangette.



Not willing to relinquish my original margarita plan, I decided to give the chickpea salad a latin twist to fit our fiesta theme. I traded the lemon juice in the original recipe for lime juice and used grated manchego in place of grated parmesan. I also threw in some minced cilantro and finely chopped red onion. But I heeded Molly’s keys to the recipe: a good quality canned bean and excellent olive oil. Salt (I used kosher) is important too; taste as you go until you’ve got just enough to make all the flavors sing.


The original recipe is hard to beat, but this incarnation was pretty great too. The lime juice and olive oil melt the manchego into an almost creamy vinaigrette that wraps up the meaty beans. And the flecks of purple onion and grassy herbs give a little pop of brightness, both in terms of color and flavor. It was right at home with the margaritas and, even more importantly, it met the guest of honor’s high chickpea standards.

Chickpea Salad with Cilantro and Lime
Adapted from Orangette (original recipe here)

3 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons best quality olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced red onions
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1/4 cup loosely packed shredded manchego cheese
big pinch kosher salt, plus more to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and stir gently to mix. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve immediately, or chill, covered, until serving.

Yield: 6-8 servings

21 Responses to “Chickpea Salad”

  1. Natasha A. Says:

    I love the original! I will have to give this a try!

  2. mike Says:

    That looks great – growing up, when I was perusing a salad bar, the chick peas were always my favorite. What could be better than a salad composed almost entirely of them!

  3. ronnissweettooth Says:

    I can’t wait to make this. When you say ‘a good quality canned bean’ which do you use (or do you try not to name brands?)?

  4. Meeta Says:

    this is a wonderful salad! i love chickpeas so i’ll be giving it a try soon!

  5. Tracy Says:

    Love chickpea salads, I love the lime juice in it.

  6. Olga Says:

    This looks so great! I like the addition of cheese. Love chickpeas!

  7. eggsonsunday Says:

    Yum, looks delicious! What a great lunch this would be. I was never a fan of chickpeas for a long time, *until* I discovered that there really are some good quality ones out there…there’s a big difference, huh? Great idea to switch the flavors up to go with the margaritas (which, I’m sure, were stunning with the blood orange juice!) -Amy

  8. cassie Says:

    i love chickpeas! so happy to have another recipe to put into the rotation of my constantly-eating-them carousel. yay!

  9. kickpleat Says:

    Yum! That is a mighty fine salad.

  10. Emily Says:

    As to be expected, this salad is amazing. That new husband of mine is hoping to try it, too. Another great excuse to integrate chickpeas into our meals. Thank you too much!

  11. toxobread Says:

    I like the new twists that you made to the salad. Both incarnations sound delicious.

  12. Donna Says:

    Oh Yum. I bet the lime makes it outstanding. I love your photos! Makes it so appealng!

  13. Love chickpeas, so love this. What canned beans do you use?

  14. duodishes Says:

    Manchego is a fave! Would it be horrible if we just had to add proscuitto to this???

  15. Natasha: I think there a lot of us fans of the original out there!

    mike: Oddly enough, chickpeas were probably my *least* favorite thing in the salad bar, as recently as college. But, I’ve come around and am making up for lost time.

    ronnissweettooth: I like the Whole Foods brand (365) and prefer an organic brand. If that’s not available where I’m shopping, I like Bush’s (rinsed very well).

    Meeta: I hope you do!

    Tracy: The lime juice gives a nice, bright kick. I hope you try it!

    Olga: The cheese is indeed a great addition, but not in the way I expected. Both in the original recipe (parmesan) and this adaptation (manchego), the cheese almost melts and adds body and richness.

    Amy: I’m a bit new to chickpeas too. But I love them now.

    cassie: Your carosel sounds delicious. : )

    Emily! I’m so glad you liked it. I hope Jon likes it too.

    toxobread: Thanks!

    Donna: Thank you!

    sweetandnatural: See my comment to Meeta, above.

    duodishes: Or, I know! To keep with the Latin twist, how about some serrano ham? Mmm.

  16. Kari Says:

    I just bookmarked a recipe from Smitten Kitchen for a version of Molly’s salad. This adaptation looks great. The other one had butternut squash, and for some reason, Whole Foods is out! Weird.

  17. Robin Says:

    Looks fantastic. Love the sound of manchego and cilantro in there. Jim will be wild about it!

  18. Why use “a good quality canned bean”? Why not start with dried beans?

  19. Kari: A run on butternut, eh? I do see it everywhere these days.

    Robin: So good. Hope you guys try it!

    Bowl of Plenty: I see no reason why that wouldn’t work. But using canned beans is obviously quicker and it’s actually really tasty.

  20. Maris Says:

    I love chickpeas! It’s great to use them in recipes besides hummus.

  21. Kevin Says:

    That chickpea salad looks good!

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