This Spanish chickpea salad recipe or ensalada de garbanzos, is a refreshing salad loaded with fresh seasonal ingredients. It is a quick and easy dish to prepare yet is packed with delicious flavours. This salad consists of cooked chickpeas combined with seasonal vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and olives which is then finished off with a simple dressing.

top view of a bowl of spanish chickpea salad with a white onion and tomato next to it

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Chickpeas, garbanzo beans or just garbanzos as they are called in Spanish are very frequently used in Spanish cuisine in a wide variety of dishes like soups, stews and salads. They can be eaten both warm and cold after cooking. Chickpeas are often regarded as an integral ingredient in Spanish traditional foods.

As salads are one of the most popular dishes to eat in Spain during the warm summer months, so is this chickpea salad recipe. It’s easy and fast to prepare, a perfect salad to make in advance and store in the fridge for later use, especially when it’s hot and you don’t really feel like spending lots of time in the kitchen preparing a meal.

This dish is so satisfying and tasty, perfect for at home, to take to work for a wholesome lunch or bring to a picnic or potluck meal with friends.

top view of a blue checkered bowl of spanish chickpea salad with green olives and a pink salad spoon and fork

Why you’ll love this chickpea salad

  • Customizable: This chickpea salad is easily customizable. You can add as many of your favourite ingredients as you wish. Leave out or add more vegetables as desired. Or consider adding feta cheese, bacon bits and crunchy nuts.
  • Variation in textures: The soft and tender chickpeas are great in combination with the crunchy vegetables to have a variation in textures.
  • Easy to prepare: Quick and easy, that’s what everyone wants during summer. This recipe comes together in just 15 minutes with no cooking needed.
  • Ease of use: This salad can be either served as a standalone dish or as a side salad.

which ingredients to use

ingredients to make spanish chickpea salad with tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, onion white and red
  • Chickpeas: For making this recipe use jarred or canned chickpeas. Or if you prefer, you can also choose to cook chickpeas from scratch.
  • Onions: Use either white or red onions. Both have a more mellow and sweeter taste and are less pungent than standard yellow onions. I use a combination of white and red onions for a variation in taste and colour.
  • Tomatoes: Any type of fresh and ripe tomatoes will do for this chickpea salad.
  • Cucumber: Use either Spanish or English cucumbers. When using English cucumbers there’s no need to peel or remove the seeds. When using Spanish cucumbers, it is best to remove the skin and the seeds as they can taste quite strong and slightly bitter.
  • Olives: I have opted for green olives, but black olives are also perfect for this salad, or a mix of both. Use pitted olives as they are easier to slice.
  • Green onions: Use the green parts of green onions, spring onion or scallions to garnish before serving.

For the dressing:

  • Olive oil: Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil to give this salad a fruity, fresh and mildly buttery aroma.
  • Lemon juice: I like to use fresh lemon juice in combination with the soft chickpeas. As an alternative you can opt for a mild tasting vinegar such as apple cider vinegar or sherry vinegar.
  • Garlic: Half a clove of garlic is just enough to give this salad a mild aromatic kick. If you are not a fan of fresh (and raw) garlic, you can use a teaspoon of garlic powder instead.
  • Seasoning: Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper is enough seasoning for this salad.

How to make chickpea salad

Note: All the exact quantities of the ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post

This salad with chickpeas comes together in no time, especially when using store bought canned or jarred chickpeas. You only need to chop the vegetables, with no cooking involved.

  • Prepare the dressing: In a mixing bowl, whisk to combine the olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar, minced garlic, salt and pepper until the mixture becomes emulsified and appears smooth and well blended.
  • Drain the chickpeas: Add the canned or jarred chickpeas in a sieve or mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water. Leave to drain the excess liquid for a few minutes.
draining water from canned chickpeas in a strainer
  • Chop the vegetables: Dice the tomatoes and finely chop the onion. When using an English cucumber, finely dice the cucumber. Again, no need to peel or remove the seeds of an English. When using a Spanish cucumber, remove the peel if it looks spiky. Often the seeds taste somewhat bitter, so remove the seeds if you wish. Finely slice the green part of the green onion and the pitted olives.
chopped ingredients for chickpea salad with chopped tomatoes, cucumber, onions and chickpeas in bowls
  • Make the salad: In a medium bowl, combine the chickpeas with the tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and olives. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to combine. Garnish with green onion greens.

How to store

This Spanish chickpea salad recipe is a great make-ahead dish, making it perfect for preparing in larger quantities ahead of time and storing in the fridge for later use. It’s an easy option for lunch or a light weeknight meal throughout the week.

After combining the salad ingredients, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. If you plan to consume the salad the same day or at most the next day, it’s fine to mix in the dressing beforehand. However, if you’re storing the salad for longer, it’s best to add the dressing later. This is because the dressing can make ingredients like cucumbers and tomatoes become soggy and soft over time.

For lunch or a picnic, adding the dressing in advance works perfectly fine if you intend to eat the salad within a short period.

close up of a bowl of chickpea salad with olives, tomatoes, onions, cucumber and green onions

How to serve

Serve this salad as a standalone dish, possibly adding extra ingredients to make it more filling like feta cheese, bacon bits or canned tuna. It’s also a great side dish for a whole range of main dishes and does really well for a summertime barbecue or garden party. Consider serving alongside chicken, pork, fish, Spanish omelette or as a salad with Spanish lentil soup.

Spanish chickpea salad

This Spanish chickpea salad recipe or ensalada de garbanzos, is a refreshing salad loaded with fresh seasonal ingredients. It is a quick and easy dish to prepare yet is packed with delicious flavours. This salad consists of cooked chickpeas combined with seasonal vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and olives which is then finished off with a simple dressing.
Prep Time15 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Course: Salads
Cuisine: Spanish
Servings: 4
Author: Sabine

Ingredients

For the chickpea salad

  • 3 cups (18 oz / 500 grams) canned chickpeas drained weight
  • 2 cups (400 grams) tomatoes
  • 2 cups (300 grams) cucumber
  • 1 medium onion red or white
  • ¼ cup (35 grams) green olives pitted and sliced
  • ¼ cup green onion or spring onion finely sliced

For the dressing

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or sherry vinegar
  • ½ clove garlic grated
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

For the dressing

  • Whisk to combine the olive oil, fresh lemon juice, grated garlic, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.

For the chickpea salad

  • Add the canned chickpeas in a sieve or mesh while straining under cold running water. Leave to drain.
  • Finely chop the cucumber, tomatoes and onion. Slice the pitted green olives and finely slice green onion or spring onion (only the green part).
  • In a large bowl, mix to combine the drained chickpeas with the chopped onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and olives.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to combine until well coated.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve in a large bowl with a garnish of green onion greens.

Notes

  • Chickpeas weight: 1x 15-ounce can (425 grams) is equal to 8.8 ounces (250 grams) drained chickpeas.
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