Chickpea Chicken Salad

5 from 1 vote
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Chickpea “chicken” salad is a delicious and creamy, high-protein chickpea recipe that’s easy to make with ingredients from the pantry. Fresh, quick, and perfect for vegetarian lunches!

Chickpea chicken salad served on a slice of bread on a wooden cutting board, with a bowl of chickpea salad in the background.


This fresh and creamy chickpea chicken salad is a delicious vegetarian alternative to classic chicken salad! It tastes just like the real deal, only it’s made meat-free with mashed chickpeas, crisp veggies, and almonds mixed in a rich homemade dressing. This chickpea salad is high in protein, quick to make, and meal-prep-friendly for hearty meatless lunches.

Why You’ll Love This Chickpea “Chicken” Salad Recipe

  • Easy to make. Canned chickpeas make this recipe a breeze! Whip up a quick dressing and then mix the ingredients to have this chickpea salad ready in 10 minutes or less.
  • Great for lunches. This classic chickpea chicken salad is a satisfying vegetarian lunch idea, similar to my Southwestern chickpea salad. It’s easy to make ahead and keeps for days in the fridge.
  • Versatile. Serve this vegetarian chickpea chicken salad any way that you’d enjoy a traditional chicken salad. Alone, in sandwiches, over greens, you name it. Plus, it’s easy to customize this recipe with your favorite add-ins.
Ingredients for chickpea chicken salad.

Ingredients You’ll Need

I’ve included some notes on what you’ll need for the salad and the mayo dressing. Scroll down to the recipe card for a printable ingredients list.

  • Chickpeas – Canned chickpeas work great here. Remember to drain and rinse them first.
  • Onion and Celery – Chopped to add delicious fresh crunch.
  • Parsley – Freshly chopped parsley or another herb, like basil or cilantro.
  • Almonds – For crunch. You can use another nut, like cashews or walnuts if you prefer. Leave out the nuts to make this recipe nut-free.

For the Dressing

  • Mayo – This can be substituted with sour cream or plain yogurt.
  • Lemon Juice – Freshly squeezed is best.
  • Mustard – I like to use creamy Dijon mustard, but yellow mustard is fine, too.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Or another vinegar, like red or white wine vinegar, for a hit of acidity.
  • Seasonings – Garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

How to Make the Best Chickpea Chicken Salad

Just 10 minutes is all it takes to make this easy lunch salad. Here’s a short overview of the steps. You’ll find printable directions in the recipe card below the post.

  • Mash the chickpeas. First, add the drained chickpeas to a bowl and mash them using a potato masher or a fork. Leave about ⅓ of the chickpeas unmashed.
  • Add the other ingredients. Next, stir in the celery, onion, parsley, and almonds.
  • Add the dressing. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and then pour this over the salad. Give everything a good toss, and voila!
A bowl of chickpea chicken salad on a wooden cutting board.

Tips and Variation Ideas

There’s no better way to get a daily dose of plant-based protein than with this easy chickpea chicken salad. These are my final tips, plus some quick variations, for you to have on hand:

  • Drain and rinse the chickpeas well. Canned chickpeas come in brine, so be sure to drain them. It’s also worthwhile rinsing them to get rid of any unwanted flavors.
  • Don’t mash all of the chickpeas. Mash about ⅔ of the chickpeas and leave the rest intact for texture.
  • Chill the finished salad in the fridge. If you have time, pop the finished chickpea salad into the fridge for an hour. It gives the ingredients a chance to mingle and enhances the flavor.
  • Make it vegan. To make a vegan chicken salad, substitute regular mayo with vegan mayo.
  • Different dressing. Swap the dressing in this recipe for another kind, like creamy avocado dressing, or try this cilantro lime dressing for a Southwestern kick.
  • Roasted chickpea salad. For an extra layer of flavor, make this salad with roasted chickpeas.
  • Nut-free. To make this chickpea salad without nuts, omit the almonds. You can replace the nuts with pumpkin seeds if you’d like.
  • Sweeten it up. Add chopped apples, grapes, dried cranberries, or raisins for a hint of sweetness.
  • More add-ins. Try adding more herbs like dill, basil, thyme, or Italian seasoning. You can also play around with different flavors by adding curry powder or chili powder.
Overhead view of chickpea chicken salad served on a slice of bread next to a bowl of chickpea salad on a wooden cutting board.

How to Serve Chickpea Chicken Salad

Enjoy this recipe as-is, or serve your smashed chickpea salad between toasted bread slices or spread over fluffy French bread rolls for easy “chicken” salad sandwiches. It’s also great piled over crispy quinoa cakes for extra protein or rolled up in a “chicken” lettuce wrap.

For a light lunch, I love spooning chickpea chicken salad onto a bed of fresh greens, like arugula or spinach, or I’ll serve it over a Greek salad or cooked grains. It’s even delicious as a dip paired with crackers.

Chickpea chicken salad served on a slice of bread on a wooden cutting board, with a bowl of chickpea salad in the background.

Storing Leftovers

  • To Store. This vegetarian chickpea chicken salad keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days. Store the salad airtight and give it a fresh stir before serving.
  • Freeze. I don’t recommend freezing a chickpea salad as the texture of the chickpeas and dressing tends to change once it’s thawed.

More Salad Recipes

Chickpea chicken salad served on a slice of bread on a wooden cutting board, with a bowl of chickpea salad in the background.
5 from 1 vote

Chickpea Chicken Salad

By Erin
This chickpea “chicken” salad is a delicious and high-protein chickpea recipe that’s fresh, quick to make, and perfect for vegetarian lunches!
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped sweet red onion
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon sliced almonds


  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


  • Pour the chickpeas into a large bowl. Use a potato masher or forks to mash about 2/3rd of the chickpeas, leaving about 1/3 of them mostly intact for texture. 
  • Add the celery, onion, parsley, and almonds.
  • In a small bowl mix together all of the ingredients for the dressing until well blended. 
  • Pour the dressing over the chickpea mixture and mix until everything is well coated.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 476mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 6g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Erin
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Dinner Recipes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 320
Keyword: chickpea chicken salad, chickpea salad, chickpea salad recipe
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  1. This is really good! I don’t usually do vegan recipes, but I love chickpeas. I made this and it’s absolutely delicious!

  2. Just made your Chickpea Chicken Salad for lunch, and it’s absolutely delicious! I love how the chickpeas add a wonderful texture and the dressing ties all the flavors together beautifully.