This Indian chickpea salad (vegan) is delicious and nutritious. It can be enjoyed as a light lunch or a side dish. It has a tropical and spicy flavor from the coconut, chili pepper and cilantro. Mild and delicious, it is a guilt-free, plant based delight that will become your favorite!
This post contains helpful notes, tips, and tricks to help you make the perfect dish. However, if you are in a rush, please use the "Jump to Recipe" link above or the "Jump to" links below to get to the section you want.
This vegan salad with chickpeas reminds me of temple food.
Temple food and festival food have a special charm to them. This carrot salad recipe, for example, is one of those dishes that are so simple and unassuming, yet taste absolutely delicious!
Also know as sundal from the part of India where I come from, this plant based chickpea salad it is served as a snack during the festival of Navratri, as an offering to the goddesses. It is easy to make, requiring only a few ingredients and simple steps.
Do you have a favorite festival food that you like to make? Do let me know in the comments below. I would love to know. Padma
A note about this vegan chickpea salad recipe
Unlike your typical vegan salad with chickpeas, this sundal has a South Indian twist. Red bell pepper, vegan mayo, red onion, and a dressing of olive oil, Dijon mustard, and black pepper are common ingredients in most plant-based chickpea salads. However, this sundal uses coconut, cumin, turmeric, and chili peppers to create a flavorful dish. You can enjoy this Indian chickpea salad as a light meal or as a side dish with rice.
Allergen free labels
This Indian style vegan chickpea salad is a plant base recipe. It is healthy and nutritious (see the nutrition chart below for details) and is:
What pairs well with vegan chickpea salad?
This gluten free chickpea salad tastes great warm or cold and can be had as a light meal on its own along with a cup of coffee😊.
This salad can be the perfect filling for your wrap.
Just 10 simple ingredients - that's all! Fresh coconut is the star of this dish 🥥.
See the recipe card for quantities.
- For this recipe, I prefer to use dry chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, that I soak in water. This recipe can be made with canned chickpeas,
- Fresh coconut is the best choice for this dish, but you can substitute it with grated-frozen or coconut flakes.
- I use regular, brown mustard seeds.
- White lentils: Also known as urad dal. You can find them at your Indian grocers, or you can skip the white lentils if you don’t have them.
- Asafoetida is a spice that gives a unique flavor to the dish and also helps with digestion.
- You can adjust the spiciness of the dish by using green chili pepper as per your taste.
- I have used neutral oil here. Traditionally this recipe is made in coconut oil. Olive oil or peanut oil will work well too.
Have a question regarding the ingredients? Feel free to ask in the comments section below and I will try my best to answer it for you.
You will love this easy and vegan chickpea salad recipe for its creamy texture, delicious taste, and aromatic smell. Let me show you how to make it.
As always, the detailed instructions and notes are in the recipe card.
Soak the chickpeas: Wash the chickpeas and soak them in water for 6-8 hours (or overnight). Add turmeric to the water.
Cook the chickpeas: Drain the water in which the chickpeas have been soaking and rinse them. Cook them in a pressure cooker (6 to 7 "whistles") or large pot with 2 and ½ cups of water and salt. Chickpeas should be cooked soft and still hold their shape.
If you are using canned chickpeas, begin from here.
Drain the chickpeas. Keep aside.
Do not discard the water. We may need some of it when sautéing the chickpeas. Add the rest of it to your soup, stock or curries.
Grind: Coconut, cilantro and green chili to a coarse paste. Use an electric grinder or mortar and pestle. Keep aside.
Sauté: Place a skillet over medium high heat and add oil to it. Add the spices and fry till they splutter and turn brown in color.
When the lentils are turning brown and the mustard seeds are spluttering, add the paste of coconut, cilantro and chili. Fry for a minute.
At this stage, if you find that things are a bit dry in the pan, add some chickpea water (1 to 2 tablespoons) that you had drained and reserved earlier.
Add the cooked chickpeas and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, while gently mixing till the spices coat them well.
Optional garnishes: Add finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves; grated coconut; a dash of freshly squeezed lime juice.
That's it, this easy vegan garbanzo bean salad is ready! Serve this as a snack or as a delicious side to your main meal. See pairing suggestions below.
Notes, Variations and Storage
- You can use canned chickpeas for this recipe to save time and effort. This way, you only need about 5 minutes to cook the dish in the skillet. However, make sure to drain and rinse the chickpeas first. You can also reserve some of the water for sautéing and add the rest to your soups and gravies. If you use canned chickpeas, you should add the turmeric to the oil with the other spices. You can also skip the turmeric if you want.
- Fresh coconut gives the best flavor to this dish, but you can also use grated/ shredded, frozen coconut. Just thaw it before grinding. Another option is to use desiccated (dried) coconut.
Top tip: It is important that the chickpeas be cooked soft and still hold their shape. Chickpeas that are undercooked or overcooked will ruin the texture of the dish.
- Spicy - Increase the quantity of green chilis to suit your palate. Use fresh jalapeno if you have - it will work well!
- Love coconut? - Use coconut oil instead of regular oil for a more intense coconut flavor just as I have in this zucchini kootu recipe.
- To make it kid friendly, smash the chickpeas before tossing them in the spices. Your kid will the texture of mashed chickpeas.
- Other beans: This recipe will work well with black eye beans, brown chickpeas and dried yellow peas.
- Flavor boost: Add a dash of lemon juice and some chopped cilantro just before serving.
Store the leftovers in a glass container with a tight fitting lid. Good for 2-3 days.
Meal prep tip: Double or triple the quantity of chickpeas. Cook them and store them in the fridge to make this recipe another day. Good for 3-4 days.
Any doubts or questions? Feel free to ask via the comments below. I will try my best to answer them for you.
For cooking the chickpeas: I use the old fashioned pressure cooker - with a weighted stopper and a valve (see video). I have grown up seeing my mum cook with it. Use any other type of pressure cooker or instant pot or slow cooker to cook your chickpeas.
For grinding: On days when it is convenient for me (and I have the time!), I use a mortar and pestle to grind the coconut-chili-cilantro paste. On most days, I do it the quick way - by using an electric grinder.
For sautéing: I love using my well-seasoned cast iron pan for this. You can use any heavy bottomed skillet / frying pan that you have with you.
More plant based salad recipes
Frequently Asked Questions
Chickpeas are like a blank canvas for flavor! They taste good with almost all spice combinations:
cumin, ginger and garlic;
coconut, chili and cumin;
garam masala and ground coriander;
curry powder and lime juice
- these are some of the spices that work well with chickpeas.
Yes, absolutely! Sautéed garbanzo beans taste delicious!
Use a heavy bottomed skillet / frying pan, add oil of your choice.
Sauté the chickpeas with spices to your liking.
If using dried chickpeas, soak them before hand and boil them before sautéing.
If using canned chickpeas, drain the water, rinse and then sauté them with the spices.
You can cook chickpeas in 20 - 25 minutes when you use equipment such as pressure cooker or instant pot.
If using the stovetop method, add the soaked chickpeas to a pot with lot of water (at least 4 times to the quantity of chickpeas), add salt and cook for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until you get the desired softness.
Yes, chickpeas are suitable for vegans. Chickpeas are plant-based legumes and are a staple in many vegan diets. They are rich in protein, fiber, and various essential nutrients, making them a valuable source of nutrition for vegans. Chickpeas can be used in a wide variety of vegan dishes, such as hummus, soups, stews, salads, and even as a meat substitute in some recipes. They are a versatile and nutritious addition to a vegan diet.
Eating chickpea salad every day can be part of a healthy diet, but it's important to maintain variety in your diet to ensure you're getting a wide range of nutrients. Chickpeas are nutritious and provide protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, but relying solely on one type of food may not provide all the essential nutrients your body needs.
If you have made this chickpea salad (vegan) please take a moment to leave a comment and /or a rating below. This will make me super happy and motivate me to create more good content for you! Padma
Easy Chickpea Salad (Vegan)
- 1 pressure cooker or saucepan
- 1 sieve
- 1 skillet
- 1 spatula
- 1 mixer grinder or pestle and mortar
To soak the chickpeas
- 1 cup chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 4 cups water
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
To cook chickpeas
- 1 and ¼ teaspoons salt (adjust to taste)
- 2 and ½ cups water
- 6 teaspoons grated fresh coconut
- 1 green chili (or 2 if you like it spicy!)
- 1 stalk fresh cilantro (stem + leaves)
- 1 teaspoon neutral oil
- 1 teaspoons white lentils (urad dal)
- ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon powdered asafetida (hing)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chickpea water (only if needed)
To finish off (optional) - any or all of them
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon grated coconut
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
Soak the chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- Wash the chickpeas and soak them in water for 6-8 hours (or overnight). Add turmeric to the water. Adding turmeric at this stage with give the chickpeas an even yellow hue.1 cup chickpeas (garbanzo beans), ¼ teaspoon turmeric, 4 cups water
Cook the chickpeas
- Drain the water in which the chickpeas have been soaking and rinse them. Doing this will help reduce the tummy problems that chickpeas can cause! We also want to remove the turmeric from the water. The chickpeas have soaked up all the turmeric they can and that is good enough.
- Place the soaked chickpeas in a pressure cooker with 2 and ½ cups of water and salt. Cover and cook for 6 to 7 "whistles". Chickpeas should be cooked soft and still hold their shape.1 cup chickpeas (garbanzo beans), 2 and ½ cups water, 1 and ¼ teaspoons salt
- When the pressure cooker has cooled down and the pressure released, drain the chickpeas. Keep aside.Do not discard the water. We may need some of it when sautéing the chickpeas. Add the rest of it to your soup, stock or curries.
- Make a coarse paste of the coconut, cilantro and green chili. Keep aside.6 teaspoons grated fresh coconut, 1 green chili, 1 stalk fresh cilantro (stem + leaves)
Saute the chickpeas
- Place a skillet over medium high heat and add oil to it.1 teaspoon neutral oil
- Add the spices and fry till they splutter and turn brown in color.1 teaspoons white lentils (urad dal), ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds, ¼ teaspoon powdered asafetida (hing), ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- Now add in the coarsely ground past of coconut, chili and cilantro. Fry for 1 minute. At this stage, if you find that things are a bit dry in the pan, add some chickpea water that you had drained and reserved earlier.1 to 2 tablespoons chickpea water
- Add the cooked chickpeas and fry sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, while gently mixing till the spices coat them well.
- Finish off (and this is totally optional) by adding finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, grated coconut and a dash of freshly squeezed lime juice.2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro, 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice, 1 teaspoon grated coconut
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only.
Note: The nutrition information is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.