Chickpea salads have the stuff of perfect weekday lunch. Satisfying, satiating texture proteinand a colorful mix of vegetables to help you reach your daily quota. But when it comes to flavor, that’s where this summer meal category tends to fall short. Well, let me tell you, this chickpea salad, with mint chutney, might just be the tastiest salad you’ve ever had.
With fond memories of my mother’s cooking and a trio of flavorful ingredients, your mind is about to be blown. Growing up, every dinner was served with a side of kachumber. Kachumber is a salad made simply with tomatoes, onions and cucumber. Similar to a chopped saladmy mom dresses it with a drizzle of lemon and adds a little spice with it chaat masala.
Purifying and fresh, my brother and I would dive into the giant bowl and devour it with our hands (between bites of chana masala and Palak Paneer). And while that didn’t cut it as a main meal, I’ve since made the salad one of my go-tos for a quick and easy side dish packed with flavor.
Tips for making this chickpea salad
True talk: Alone, chickpeas can be a bit bland. Although this salad requires minimal cooking time, I like to add flavor by sautéing the chickpeas in the tastiest spice blend.
If you’ve ever tried my recipes, you’ll know that I set the standard for fresh spices and get the most flavor out of them. The easiest way to do this is to activate these spices with a little heat in a saucepan. Toast your spices in a skillet until fragrant, then add the chickpeas and stir until coated. Flavor, filled.
How to wrap your flavorful mint chutney
Every desi mom I know has her own mint chutney recipe – tastes and preferences vary, and everyone has their own (strongly held) opinions on what flavors to offer. So take this as my permission to use this mint chutney I adapted from my mother however you see fit.
Ingredients needed: mint, coriander, lime or lemon, a spicy pepper, an onion and sugar. My mom likes to make sure all the flavors are balanced (that’s key to making this chutney the star of the show). You won’t know what to add without tasting as you go. I used a very spicy serrano and went a bit heavy with the lime, balancing it all out with a little more sugar than I thought I needed.
When you strike the right balance, your chutney will pack an unbeatable amount of bright, fresh flavor – it really is next level. The chutney makes this salad so delicious, but it would also be tasty spread on a sandwich, mixed with yogurt and served as a dip, or drizzled on the cat (my favorite).
Can I make this chickpea salad ahead of time?
Absolutely! In fact, I suggest making this salad about an hour ahead to let the flavors meld. Or, you can pre-chop all the vegetables as part of your weekly meal prep and prepare fresh single-portion salads to take home.
I hate raw onions. How can I tone down their flavor?
If you don’t like raw onion, cut your onion in half and soak it in water for about an hour. This helps cut the bite out of the raw red onion.
How to serve your chickpea salad
I like to serve this salad with a side of naan for dinner to make it a bit more hearty. You can also use this salad as a salsa inside a pita with fresh greens and/or your favorite protein of choice. I will sometimes add chopped avocado if I have some in the fridge, or with hummus to eat with pita chips. However you serve it, this chickpea salad will be a flavorful addition to the table.
This article was originally published in May 2017 and has since been updated.