This Middle Eastern vegan chickpea salad combines elements from tabbouleh and a Mediterranean chickpea salad to make a delicious herby, fiber- and protein-dense Balela salad, bursting with fresh flavor! This chickpea cucumber salad recipe requires just 11 ingredients and under 10 minutes to prepare - for a naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan chickpea salad.
This middle eastern chickpea salad requires pre-cooked chickpeas. If you're using tinned chickpeas, then give them a drain and rinse (you can save the canned liquid to make aquafaba or freeze until later). Otherwise, you'll first need to soak dried chickpeas overnight and cook them in advance.
Step 1: Chop the ingredients
Finely dice the tomatoes (if they're super juicy, you can remove the seeds, but I usually don't), red pepper, cucumber, and green onion.
Remove the stems from the parsley and mint and optionally finely chop or leave them as whole leaves. The choice is up to you.
Mince the garlic and juice the lemon into a small bowl. Add the olive oil and give the simple dressing a whisk to mix.
Step 2: Assemble the balela salad
Combine all the chopped ingredients and the chickpeas into a large serving bowl.Then top with the sumac and olive oil dressing and gently toss to combine.
You can enjoy the chickpea cucumber salad immediately or leave it to "marinate" for 15-20 minutes with the dressing to allow the flavors to develop.
How to Store?
Storing: I recommend enjoying this chickpea salad fresh for the best flavor. However, you can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. Due to the abundance of fresh herbs and "wet" ingredients like cucumber and tomato (which soften and release liquid while resting), the chickpea cucumber salad will soften and become a little "sad-looking" after a couple of days. For a longer-lasting salad, I recommend omitting the tomatoes and storing for between 4-5 days.Make ahead: to prepare this salad in advance, I recommend chopping the vegetables (but not the herbs) and combining them with the chickpeas in advance. Then, add the herbs, dressing, and any salt just before serving. This way, you can store the salad in your fridge for between 3-4 days.
Adjust the ingredients to the season: this salad is pretty forgiving. If it's mid-winter and you're unable to find nice tomatoes, omit them. Likewise, feel free to add extra ingredients based on what's in season.
The salad texture: how big you chop the vegetables will directly affect the texture and flavor of the salad. Smaller pieces will be more like tabbouleh and allow to get lots of flavor in a single bite.
Use fresh ingredients: this salad shines with fresh herbs and veggies.
Allow the salad to marinate: try to be patient and allow the chickpea cucumber salad to marinate for 30 minutes before serving - you won't regret it!
Can I substitute the sumac? If you don't have sumac, I recommend using Za’atar, another Middle Eastern spice. Though, it doesn't have the same citrusy, tangy flavor.
Check the blog post for more tips and serving suggestions.