I adore all beans and legumes. Kidney beans of all colors, pigeon peas (so delicious stewed with shredded green banana balls!), lentils, and of course, chickpeas (aka, garbanzo beans). Fortunately, my family is a fan of beans also, and they are a staple in our diet. In this post, I bring you a vegan chickpea salad recipe that I like to prepare frequently. But not without first giving you a mini class on the benefits of these beans (I can’t help it!) Fun Fact: my daughter calls chickpeas “the ones that look like little onions” and now I’m going to stay with that association!
Here in Puerto Rico, beans are also a big part of our diet, which is very beneficial for us. Beans, or legumes, as they are really classified, provide us with a significant amount of nutrients. They are an excellent alternative to animal protein, supporting a plant-based diet. And they are also a rich source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
There is evidence that frequent consumption of chickpeas and other legumes helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions. In addition, they help control blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes. Finally, they promote the feeling of satiety, which in the long run helps to maintain a healthy weight.
As we can see, consuming beans regularly benefits our health in many ways. The recommendation, for an average 2,000 calorie diet, is to eat at least 2 cups of legumes a week. Fortunately, these foods are very easy to include regularly, both for their great taste and for the flexibility they offer when preparing them.
Are canned chickpeas healthy?
For this recipe, I used canned chickpeas since they’re much more convenient.
Chickpeas are as nutritious as they are versatile. Half a cup of chickpeas contains a good amount of protein, fiber, potassium, folate, and they also provide iron. Plus, they’re naturally cholesterol-free, low in sodium (when they’re not canned), and very low in fat and sugar. Since they are so high in fiber and protein, they help you feel fuller longer. They also help keep blood sugar stable.
There are a variety of tasty ways to eat chickpeas, for example:
- Stewed, like we usually eat them in Latin cuisine
- In the form of hummus
- In salads
- As falafel
- In pita bread sandwiches
- In soups
- With pasta salads
Chickpeas are also very cheap, which makes them even easier to incorporate into our diet. Who said that eating healthy has to be expensive? 😉
Also, they are easy to find in supermarkets, both canned and dry varieties. Although dried legumes have slightly more nutrients and are cheaper than canned ones, they require more time to prepare.
However, canned chickpeas are still a good alternative as long as we drain the liquid fand rinse them (since they contain sodium). Nowadays, canned beans are available without added salt, which is an even better option. But make sure to check the nutrition label. Sometimes the label says that the food is packed with “sea salt,” which has the same amount of sodium as common table salt.
Beans and chickpeas are filling
The combination of the fiber from the chickpeas and the vegetables together with the healthy fats from olive oil make this salad one that keeps you satisfied.
This salad is good on its own, or you can use it in wraps for an easy, nutritious lunch. It can also be used in pita bread or ground up, hummus style. It keeps well in the fridge, so if you prepare enough, you can use it the next day for a quick and convenient meal. Also, since it is served cold, it is perfect to take it to your next picnic, or to work.
How to make a vegan chickpea salad
This recipe is so easy to prepare, it’s perfect for those busy weekdays. First, mix all the vegetables, herbs, and chickpeas in a bowl.
Then, prepare the vinaigrette by mixing the lemon juice, salt and pepper in another bowl. Add this to the chickpeas and mix well.
Let stand in the fridge for at least an hour before serving to allow flavors to develop. And that’s it! Easy, right?
Vegan Chickpea Salad
- 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed preferably packed without salt
- ½ fresh cucumber, chopped leave the skin on for extra fiber
- ½ medium tomato, chopped
- 2 tbsp red onion, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp fresh basil, or ¼ tsp dried
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Mix all the vegetables, herbs and chickpeas in a bowl.
- In another bowl, mix the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper well, and add to the chickpeas. Combine well.
- Let stand covered in the refrigerator for at least an hour, to allow the flavors to develop.
- Serve as a salad, in wraps, or grind in a food processor to serve it as a dip.
So, next time you’re at the grocery store, remember that the humble can of chickpeas is packed with important nutrients. As we just saw, including more legumes in your diet is a simple and inexpensive way to increase the nutritional profile of your diet. So, try this recipe, and you will see that it is not only tasty and versatile, but it is perfect for getting more plant based foods into your lifestyle.
And now tell me, do you include legumes in your diet? What is your favorite way to eat them? Do you think you can include them more often as a substitute for animal protein? Put all your comments below!
Hi! I’m Melissa, Registered Dietitian and mother of two dragons. When I’m not talking nutrition you can find me rolling around the floor with my kids, sewing, crafting, cooking or missing the 90s (seriously, music just isn’t the same). Read More…