Chickpea avocado salad is a perfect summer salad recipe that makes for a filling, nutritious and wholesome weekday meal in itself or as a part of a meal.
If you are looking for vegetarian salad ideas or wondering what protein to add to make your vegetarian salad filling, this is the one for you!
This salad is made of boiled/canned chickpeas, avocado, basic vegetables, cilantro, and a creamy Indian yogurt dressing.
A vegetarian (can easily be made vegan) high-protein and a non-boring, full of flavor Indian salad recipe that you would definitely want to try!
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I usually include salads as part of our lunch or dinner meals, and less frequently as a meal in itself.
The reason being, I prefer balanced meals that also include white rice or whole grains along with a protein source and vegetables.
The only exception is a legume/bean salad that we like to have as a dinner meal in itself when lunch has been heavy especially.
This salad option works perfect as a light yet filling and protein-rich, complex carb low-calorie meal.
What Makes This a Refreshing Summer Salad
The ingredients and the dressing used in this are what make it a refreshing and perfect summer salad that you can prepare for your summer potlucks, picnics, or barbeque parties.
Apart from chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and avocado, you will be tossing in some cucumber cubes, cherry tomatoes, carrot cubes, onion, bell pepper cubes, chopped cilantro in a yogurt-honey dressing.
Chopped cucumber, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers and the yogurt dressing scream all summer to me, don’t they?
Toss all the ingredients in a bowl except the dressing, prepare the dressing in a jar or a shaker and chill them both separately for a few hours. Mix in and serve chilled immediately.
The freshness of the vegetables, the tart from the yogurt with a hint of sweetness from honey, and the spice from black pepper and chaat masala complement each other so well in this salad.
Chickpea Avocado Salad with an Indian Twist
I am a pure desi when it comes to food choices and my palette always craves for Indian flavors.
Not that I don’t enjoy other cuisines, but Indian food is where my heart is. 🙂
In most of the salads I make, I look for ways to make them suitable for my Indian palette.
In this salad, I used the popular Indian spice mix, chaat masala in the dressing, which according to me, definitely makes the salad more flavorful and all Indian.
Chaat masala is an Indian spice mix made of cumin seeds, mango powder, black salt, coriander seeds, black pepper, asafoetida.
Although it is not difficult to make at home, I take the easier route of using the store-bought chaat masala.
You can also add in some coriander mint chutney for a chana chaat kind of salad.
Chickpeas: either dried chickpeas soaked overnight and pressure cooked, or canned chickpeas- both work fine.
Avocado: preferably use a ripened but firm avocado so that it does not get mashed up while tossing in, like mine did!
Veggies: cucumber, carrot, cherry tomatoes, or regular tomatoes chopped into cubes, carrot, bell peppers of any color, onions, and cilantro. You can add in more veggies of your choice.
Yogurt: I used full fat yogurt for a creamy yet light dressing. You can use greek yogurt or low fat yogurt instead.
Honey: it adds in a bit of sweetness which I like. You can, however, skip it if you are not keen on this.
Black Pepper: I use powdered black pepper, hence the tinge of black in the dressing. You can instead use freshly ground black pepper, or white is also good.
Chaat Masala: the Indian twist I talked about in the above section. I used store-bought chaat masala.
And lastly, salt of course.
No oil used in the dressing, since there is already a good amount of good fat from the avocado and the yogurt. Moderation is the key, isn’t it?
This salad is a perfect balance of complex carbohydrates and protein from the chickpeas, good fat from avocado and yogurt, fiber from the veggies, and of course the vitamins and minerals from these ingredients.
Frequently Asked Questions
Would skipping the chaat masala in the dressing make a difference?
Actually yes, because of the distinctive flavor it has due to its ingredients, as mentioned above.
However, you can skip it if you don’t have or use a pinch each of roasted cumin powder, coriander powder and a bigger pinch each of dry mango powder and black salt.
Should I soak the dried chickpeas?
It is important to soak chickpeas, or any legume for that matter, for a few hours before cooking.
The reason being, soaking them in water significantly reduces their phytate levels which can otherwise inhibit the absorption of nutrients.
This also avoids the possible bloating issue more likely to occur on consuming chickpeas.
I prefer to soak the chickpeas for a good 6 to 8 hours which is an ideal time for them to naturally swell up without getting fermented, and then discard the water and pressure cook.
Also, soaking them makes it less time consuming to cook.
In case you are running short of time, you can soak them in hot water for 3 hours or so.
If you are not a fan of soaking the peas at all, you will need to pressure cook them in an Instant Pot for 45 to 60 minutes.
Can I use canned chickpeas?
Yes, you can. Discard the liquid, rinse the chickpeas well, drain and then use.
How to make this a vegan chickpeas salad?
There are only two ingredients used in this that are non-vegan but with easily available vegan alternatives.
Replace the whole yogurt by any of the vegan yogurt options as per your choice- cashew milk, almond milk, coconut milk or soy yogurt.
You can also simply skip the yogurt in the dressing, and use olive oil instead.
Honey can be replaced by maple syrup, brown sugar, or jaggery powder, or you can just skip it if you don’t care for the hint of sweetness.
Can I make this salad in advance?
If you want to turn this into a make-ahead salad for your party or potluck or to carry to work the next day, you most definitely can, but with a few alterations.
Toss in boiled chickpeas and the vegetables into a storage box and refrigerate it. Do not season it with salt. Avoid adding onions at this stage and also the avocado.
Prepare the dressing separately and refrigerate it. You can also make a big batch and leave it in the fridge for a week.
Just when you are about to serve, toss in the avocado and onion, if using, and the dressing.
If you want to chop and store the avocado separately in the refrigerator, you can do that by squeezing some lemon juice all over it.
The chickpeas and the veggies (without the onion) together will stay good for a day, and up to 3 days when stored separately.
How to make Chickpea Avocado Salad: Step by Step
Step 1: Cooking the Chickpeas- Instant Pot and Stove-top
Soak 1 cup of dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans) in 3 cups water. It will double up in quantity, yielding almost 2.5 cups of soaked chickpeas.
Cook them in 3 to 3.5 cups water either in the Instant pot or a stove-top pressure cooker.
If you are using an Instant pot, pressure cook, for 6 minutes on high pressure. Let the pressure release naturally, or manually release after 10 minutes of natural pressure release.
If you are using a stove-top pressure cooker, use the same quantity of water and pressure cook on medium-high heat up to 6 whistles.
Step 2: Chopping the Veggies
Dice cucumber, carrot, bell peppers into cubes. I used 1/4 cup of each.
I cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters, I used 1/2 cup of these. You can cut into halves if they are small enough. .
Finely chop the onions or slice them into thin slices, whatever works for you. A 1/4 cup is good enough, you can use a little less too.
Cut the avocado into half, remove the seed, and chop it into bigger cubes.
Finely chop the cilantro leaves as well.
Step 3: Preparing the dressing
Take 1/4 to 1/3 cup of thick full fat yogurt in a bowl or a dressing shaker. If using greek yogurt, thin it down a little with a tbsp or two of water.
Add in 1 tsp honey, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper powder and 1 tsp chaat masala.
Whisk or shake them all well until well combined and set aside.
Step 4: Toss them all together
Add in all the chopped vegetables and cilantro into a mixing bowl.
Pour the dressing over the veggies, and toss them all until well combined.
Lastly, add in the chopped avocado and give a quick mix again.
The reason I suggest adding avocado at the end is that it can get mashed when mixed too much with the other ingredients, especially if it is quite soft.
Taste check for seasonings and adjust as per your taste. Serve immediately.
Chickpea Avocado Salad Variations
Here comes my favorite section of any recipe post I write, and especially in recipes like this where the variations are just endless!
Choice of Veggies:
You can throw in any other veggies of choice like sweet corn, sauteed or raw beets, steamed potato or sweet potato, radish, steamed broccoli for example. You can also add in some greens of your choice- baby spinach, arugula, lettuce, kale etc.
Herbs of Choice:
The choice of herb surely alters the flavor of the salad, making each version as good as a new recipe. Be it parsley, mint, dill, basil, or curry leaves as well!
Nuts and Seeds:
Love some crunch in your salad? Why not add in raw or toasted nuts and seeds like walnuts, peanuts, cashews, almonds, pistachio, pine nuts and/or sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds?
Addition of a Grain:
To make this a more complete meal, you can tip in any cooked grain of your choice- brown rice, white rice, wild rice, quinoa, millets, bulgur, barley, or couscous.
Choice of Legumes:
Kidney beans, black beans, black-eyed peas, brown chickpeas, green gram or brown lentils make great substitutions for chickpeas. Each legume or lentil makes for a new salad in itself for the different flavors they all bring in.
Addition of Fruits/Dry Fruits:
Watermelon, strawberries, cherries, apple, pear or drf fruits like dates, fig, raisins, cranberries also make a great addition in this.
Choice of Dressing:
Be it a simple lemon juice-olive oil-based dressing, orange juice-based dressing, vinaigrette-based, red wine-based, or cream cheese-based dressing, play around with the dressing of your choice and enjoy the burst of flavors!
Mediterranean/Greek Chickpea Avocado Salad:
Toss in some olives, crumbled or cubed Feta cheese, lots of parsley or dill along with boiled chickpeas and other veggies with olive oil-based dressing and enjoy it fresh.
Tip in some cooked pasta of choice to make this a completely balanced meal.
Chickpea Avocado Sandwich/Toast:
Not in a mood for a salad? Why not use the same set of ingredients and some bread slices to make delicious sandwiches or toasts? Just make sure to chop all the veggies fine and mash the chickpeas and avocado a bit so that they all come together as a chunky spread.
More Easy Recipes to Try
I hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy it as much as I enjoyed preparing it and writing it down for you all. 🙂
If you have any questions about the recipe, kindly post them below under comments.
I would love to see your recipe recreations. 🙂