This Balsamic Chickpea, Tomato & Cucumber Salad is a delicious spin on a classic summer salad. Lightly coated with an oil-free balsamic dressing and whipped up in one bowl, this easy vegan salad is perfect as an appetizer, side dish, or light dinner. No cooking required! 🎉
Bean salads are such a great, healthy meal option. They’re light, flavorful, and fresh. They also require no cooking and are packed with tons of plant-based protein and fiber to keep you full.
This is a fast and simple chickpea salad that doesn’t require fresh herbs, tons of chopping, or time marinating in the fridge. In fact, it can be mixed up and enjoyed in just a few minutes, using one cutting board and one bowl! 🥳
This salad is made with balsamic vinegar for zing, the versatile chickpea for protein, and then plenty of cucumber and tomato for classic summer flavor. 🍅🥒
As written, this chickpea salad (AKA garbanzo bean salad) is vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, and oil-free. With so many bases covered, this is a great recipe for those with dietary restrictions and makes a thoughtful vegetarian dish for a potluck. It’s also great as a whole-food, plant-based dinner for two with some whole-wheat pita bread!
This recipe does not contain:
- Olive oil
- Feta cheese
- Vegan feta alternatives
- Raw onions
- Two or three kinds of fresh herbs that you won’t be able to use up before they go bad…Just me? 🤦♀️
This whole-food, plant-based balsamic salad is:
- High in protein, fiber, iron, vitamins A & C, and calcium!
For this recipe, we’ll make a quick homemade balsamic dressing that’s a little bit creamy and very satisfying. Then we’ll add some delicious fresh vegetables and chickpeas. Perfect, crunchy salad with no herbs wasted. 👍
Most of the ingredients are in the name! This is a balsamic, chickpea, tomato, and cucumber salad. Here are some more details, though. 😉
Chickpeas (AKA Garbanzo Beans): A great source of plant-based protein and fiber, chickpeas are a great salad bean. Use no-salt-added canned chickpeas or make your own dried chickpeas from scratch. If you only have access to salted chickpeas, then you may want to reduce the miso by 1 teaspoon.
Tomatoes: In such a simple recipe, the quality of each ingredient is important. Use the best tomatoes you can find for this recipe. In the summer, the options are endless and delicious (endlessly delicious?), so pick your favorite. In the offseason, I’ve had luck with Roma tomatoes and some types of hothouse tomatoes on the vine. Cherry tomatoes are also a good, year-round choice with low water content. If you want tasty tomatoes, make sure you never refrigerate them!
English Cucumber: We’re using one long English cucumber. English cucumbers have lower water content than your garden variety cucumber (pun intended) and have almost indistinguishable seeds.
Balsamic Vinegar: Use a regular (read: inexpensive and acidic) balsamic vinegar of your choice for this recipe. I love aged balsamic for many things, but it’s not needed in this recipe.
Tahini: This is simply a paste made of ground sesame seeds. Tahini is a healthy fat source that helps make a nice thick dressing without olive oil.
Miso: The healthiest way to add salt and umami to any dish. Miso paste is made from fermented soybeans and helps make a quick and tasty dressing that’s salted, but not salty.
Italian Seasoning: It may sound strange to add dried Italian seasoning to a fresh salad. Trust me, though, it works! Use your favorite store-bought blend or mix it up yourself.
Tips & Instructions
This is a simple vegan salad recipe! Before getting started, ensure that your chickpeas are very well-drained. You’ll also want to keep the tomato liquid to a minimum in order to keep things fresher for longer in your fridge.
To do this, I typically just lift my tomatoes off of the cutting board (rather than sliding them into the bowl with all their juices). You can also seed the tomatoes for even less liquid, if you prefer.
Here’s how to make this balsamic salad:
- To a large mixing bowl, add your Italian seasoning, miso paste, tahini, and balsamic vinegar.
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together until combined. It will be very thick, almost like a paste. (That’s what we want since the water-rich vegetables will thin it out.)
- Add your chopped tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, and drained chickpeas right on top of the balsamic dressing.
- Then gently mix to coat the vegetables and chickpeas in dressing.
- Stop mixing once all veggies are lightly coated.
- Taste, then add freshly cracked black pepper and/or freshly chopped basil, if desired.
This is a great, basic recipe that’s easily customizable!
It makes a fast, filling, and delicious lunch or dinner that can be thrown together when you only have a few staple ingredients on hand. 🎉 However, there are lots of delicious variations you can try.
- Sliced kalamata olives
- Diced red bell pepper
- Sliced green onion
- Diced red onion
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Homemade croutons
- Chopped artichoke hearts (preferably marinated)
- Sliced pepperoncini
- Crumbles or chunks of marinated tofu
- Use cannellini, Great Northern, or navy beans for an equally delicious white bean salad. (Here’s how you can make your own Instant Pot White Beans with TONS of flavor at home.)
- No miso? No problem. Use 1-2 teaspoons of dijon mustard to make the dressing and then add salt to taste.
- Prefer not to use store-bought Italian seasoning? You can easily mix up your own dried seasoning blend using spices you have at home instead.
- Unfortunately, there’s no direct substitute for the dried Italian seasoning in this salad. Many Italian seasoning blends contain oregano, rosemary, marjoram, and sage, which aren’t great candidates for salads in their fresh forms. To brighten things up, though, feel free to add freshly chopped basil (in addition to the Italian seasoning) for a tomato basil salad.
There are a few differences! In terms of appearance, English cucumbers are long and thin, while regular cucumbers are shorter and squat. English cucumbers have thinner skin, very small seeds that are practically unnoticeable, and a lot less water than the regular, garden variety. At the store, English cucumbers are usually wrapped in plastic because they have thin skin and aren’t coated in wax.
Using an English cucumber is highly recommended. You can use whichever type of cucumber you have on hand if you prefer, though your results will be different. If you use regular cucumbers, your salad will have a bit more liquid. You will also have noticeable cucumber seeds.
This salad works great with a store-bought balsamic vinegar that’s nice and acidic. This type of balsamic vinegar is typically inexpensive and readily available at the grocery store. There’s no need for a nicer, aged balsamic vinegar in this recipe.
Regular balsamic vinegar has a thin and somewhat watery consistency with an acidic bite. On the other hand, aged balsamic vinegar is typically sweeter, more viscous, and almost syrupy. (It’s also more expensive!) Both are made from grapes, but the final products are very different and they have different uses.
Store your chickpea salad in a glass container with a tight-sealing lid for best results. This salad will keep well for 2-3 days in the fridge.
You can certainly store the salad for longer, though, if you don’t mind some extra liquid at the bottom of the container. (A result of the water-rich vegetables.)
If you know you’d like to meal prep this salad for the week ahead, then I would recommend seeding your tomatoes for best results. This will help reduce the water content and help the salad store a bit longer. Here’s a guide for how to seed tomatoes.
Helpful Tools for This Recipe
I hope you love this summery balsamic chickpea salad with fresh tomato and cucumber! If you’re looking for other great chickpea recipes that can be made in 10 minutes or less and require no heating, then you will love this vegan chickpea salad spread! Eat it as a sandwich or pile it onto crackers or cucumber slices. You really can’t go wrong!
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon miso paste
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons tahini
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 cups no-salt-added chickpeas, drained (2 15-ounce cans)
- 1 long English cucumber, cut in half moons (approximately 2 cups)
- 2-3 medium tomatoes, chopped (approximately 2 cups) *see notes*
- freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- freshly chopped basil (optional)
- Add Italian seasoning, miso paste, tahini, and balsamic vinegar to the bottom of a large mixing bowl.
- Whisk together to make a thick dressing.
- Then add your chopped tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, and drained chickpeas to the mixing bowl (on top of the dressing).
- Gently mix to fully coat the bean salad. Taste and adjust to your preference, adding freshly cracked black pepper or fresh herbs, such as basil.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate for approximately 20 minutes before serving if you prefer a cold salad. This salad is best served fresh, but can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Tomatoes: Two whole tomatoes will yield about 2 cups of chopped tomatoes, which is perfect for this salad. If you're making this salad in advance, such as for meal prep or a potluck, use 3 tomatoes and take the time to seed them. Seeding the tomatoes helps reduce the liquid in the final product and is a good idea for longer-term storage.
Substitutions: You may use white beans instead of chickpeas for a white bean salad. If you don't have miso, use 1-2 teaspoons of dijon mustard instead and adjust salt to taste after mixing.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1.75 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 293Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 134mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 12gSugar: 11gProtein: 14g
Nutrition information is an estimate only, based on the recipe as written. Data was obtained through MyFitnessPal's recipe creator.
The Background & Science Behind These Ingredients
- Raw tahini is recommended, since roasting may lead to acrylamide formation (a probable carcinogen).
- Miso is used in this recipe rather than salt because miso doesn’t cause an increase in blood pressure the way salt does.
What do you think?
Thanks so much for stopping by! If you make this recipe, then please leave a comment and rating. I would love to hear what you think and how it worked out for you!
If you don’t know (yet) how delicious and versatile chickpeas are, then you have to try these pumpkin energy balls! The secret ingredient? Chickpeas, of course! For more healthy meal ideas, please see all of my main courses.