Peruvian Chickpea Salad - Ensalada de Garbanzos - is an incredibly delicious salad that’s made in minutes. This combination of chickpeas, tomatoes, and onions is all tossed in a simple dressing that will knock your socks off.
This is a salad that you will make over and over again. It’s super simple and one that my aunt Renee would often serve. If you need something quick to prepare to bring to a gathering, this is it. This can be served as a side or eaten as a meal because it’s packed with protein and flavor and it’s wicked good. Yeah, wicked. I’m from Boston.
GOYA IS THE WAY TO GO-YA
You only need a few ingredients to whip this together - canned chickpeas, a tomato, red onion and fresh cilantro. I use Goya chickpeas because it’s packed to the top with actual chickpeas and not mostly water. I’ve purchased fancy cans at the fancy grocery store (do I really have to say the name?) only to find it was half full of beans and it was mostly water. Stick with Goya and you’ll be fine. No, I’m not being paid by Goya either. I just like a good product.
Red onion is used in this chickpea salad and it's “washed” before it’s combined with the other ingredients. I explain how to “wash” the onions in my salsa criolla post. But to explain quickly, you put the sliced onions in a colander and sprinkle liberally with some kosher salt. Squeeze the onions and salt together with your hand and run cold water over. You can also do it in a bowl which is how it's explained in the salsa criolla post. Whichever you like, do. Doing this removes some of the harshness from the onions and I do it when using raw red onions in a dressing.
If tomatoes aren’t in season where you are, then get a tomato that’s on the vine at the market. I used Campari tomatoes that have some flavor in the off season. Just make sure your tomatoes aren't hard. This is a time when hard is not good. Soft and maybe a little resistance when you give a little squeeze. You know what I mean?
As for the dressing, it’s made with a neutral oil. If you want to use olive oil, use a good one and not a cheap one that's bitter. Taste the oil. Do you like the way it tastes? If you do, then you’ll like the dressing. I use a neutral oil because it's what my family uses and this is a family recipe. A neutral oil also lets the other ingredients shine through.
A LITTLE ACID MAKES THIS CHICKPEA SALAD SHINE!
Lime is an important ingredient and it brightens everything up and man, does it make it taste good here. If you don’t have a lime and only a lemon then go out and buy a lime because this is meant to be used with lime juice and not lemon juice.
Red wine vinegar also gives a KA-POW to flavor. When you take a bite of this salad you are going to be wowed. Fresh minced garlic is added and I use a garlic press to release all the juices and it gives the perfect minced texture. It’s simple, just put the clove in and press. Done and done.
ADD SALT TO TASTE
Salt is like the minister of the ceremony marrying the flavors of this dressing. You need salt to bring out the flavors and I only use Diamond Crystal kosher salt. I won’t give an amount. You add to your taste. I add quite a bit and if I put down an amount it might scare some of you away. Instead, be oblivious to what you’re adding by just grabbing a pinch here and there and mix and taste. Then repeat until you get the flavor you want.
Got ten minutes? Make this delicious chickpea salad and enjoy it with your meal. Want a super healthy meatless meal? Serve this with a hunk of crusty bread to sop up the juices and you have yourself a vegetarian delight. Honestly, when no one is looking and it’s just me eating this salad I drink the leftover juices in the bowl. I know, barbaric right? Who cares! It’s that good.
TRY SOME OF MY OTHER SALADS:
- Spinach watermelon feta salad with lime vinaigrette
- Sweet and tangy cucumber salad
- Mexican street corn salad
- Sonoma chicken salad
- Peruvian oil and vinegar potato salad
Life is too short for mediocre food.
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- 2 (14 ounce) cans chickpeas, drained Recommended: Goya
- 1 tomato chopped See Notes
- 1 small red onion thinly sliced
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Place the sliced onions in a colander. Liberally sprinkle some kosher salt over the onions and squeeze them together with your hand. The salt “washes” them and removes some of the harshness of the onions. Run some cold water over and squeeze again. Then drain.
- In a bowl, add the chickpeas, tomatoes, red onions, and cilantro.
- Combine the dressing ingredients together in a measuring cup to keep it simple. Whisk together with a fork or small whisk. Taste and adjust for salt.
- Add the dressing to the chickpeas bowl and toss. Taste and adjust with more salt until it tastes good to you.
- The longer this sits, the better the flavor, but you can absolutely just eat it up immediately.
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