Pan-fried Chickpea Salad Recipe

A salad made by pan-frying chickpeas with leeks and a bit of garlic. The creamy dressing is made with plain yogurt and curry powder, and the salad is finished off with plenty of chopped cilantro and chopped red onion.

Pan-fried Chickpea Salad

I did my best to sneak off to Japan for two weeks without you noticing, and let me start by saying, it is still very much winter there. Rain, sleet, snow, and morning mist all made commendable appearances. One of the first things I did upon arrival in Tokyo was invest in a serious umbrella. It seems no one in Tokyo shelters themselves from the elements with less than a four-foot span. My pocket umbrella was laughable. Needless to say, I can't wait to share some of the highlights and photos with you. The bad news is that it might take me a week or so to organize the photos (and links) of the places we visited. In the meantime, I thought I'd share a simple chickpea salad. This was the first thing I cooked when I got home. A chickpea salad might seem an odd way to get things going in the kitchen again, but a day before we left San Francisco I cooked up a big pot of chickpeas. We didn't put a dent in them, and I tossed them in the freezer before we walked out the door. I don't normally freeze beans, but was happy to see them when I got home, and they held up beautifully. After a quick trip to the farmers market I pan-fried the chickpeas with some baby leeks and a bit of garlic. I used a creamy dressing made with plain yogurt and curry powder, and finished off the salad with plenty of chopped cilantro and chopped red onion. It's a substantial salad, flecked with plenty of color, and I love the way nuttiness of the chickpeas play off the tangy curry-spiked dressing.

Chickpea Salad Recipe

You can add all sorts of things to this salad depending on the season - sliced green beans, asparagus, or broccoli florets (all blanched) might be good choices. Or simply add a bit of sauteed spinach. I almost opted out of the curry approach at the last minute, seduced by some vibrant broccoli I picked up along with the leeks at the market. I was thinking that a lemony-broccoli pesto would be a great dressing in place of the curried yogurt. Or how about a version of this salad using Thai curry paste instead of Indian curry powder? In this scenario I might skim some of the coconut cream off the top of a can of coconut milk and use that in place of the yogurt - again thinning it with warm water, coconut water, or broth. If I'm going to make this an entire one-pan meal I might through in some tofu or black lentils for that little extra boost of protein.

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Pan-fried Chickpea Salad Recipe

If you are pinched for time, you can certainly skip the browning of the chickpeas - just skip adding any leeks altogether and add the chopped garlic and the lemon zest to the yogurt dressing. The only ingredient I would add to this version the next time around would be a handful of toasted, slivered almonds. Just a hint of sweetness, toasty nut flavor, and lots of crunch. You can use canned chickpeas, but chickpeas cooked from dried beans are infinitely better tasting, and the texture much better.

1 tablespoon clarified butter, olive oil, or coconut oil
2 cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), pat them completely dry with clean dish towel
1 cup of chopped leeks
1 medium clove of garlic, minced
zest of one lemon
1/3 cup plain yogurt (I typically use low-fat Greek)
1 1/2 teaspoons Indian-style curry powder (or to taste)
scant 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 or 2 tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup of loosely packed fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup red onion or red spring onions, chopped

Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet and add the chickpeas. Saute over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until they start getting a bit golden in color. Stir in the leeks and cook until the chickpeas are more golden and the leeks have browned a bit as well, roughly 7 - 10 minutes total. At the last minute stir in the garlic and the lemon zest. Remove from heat, and set aside.

While the chickpeas cool (I like to serve this salad at room temperature), make the yogurt dressing by combining the yogurt, curry powder, and salt in a small bowl. If you need to thin it out a bit, particularly if you are using Greek yogurt, whisk in warm water a tablespoon at a time. Taste, adjust, and set aside.

When you are ready to serve the salad, toss the chickpea mixture with most of the cilantro and most of the chopped red onion. Add about 1/2 of the yogurt dressing and toss again. If you like more dressing, keep adding until you are pleased. Serve on a platter sprinkled with the remaining onions and cilantro.

Serves 4 as a side.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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A friend recommended your site yesterday and we tried this delicious salad for dinner last night. It held up well in the fridge for lunch today and I know I'll be coming back daily for new inspiration! HS: Welcome to the site JWM :)


I like how you use chickpeas very often in your cooking. This is something I really need to start doing.


Could I use a variety of Indian spices instead of curry powder? If so, which ones & in what proportions? Where do I get umeboshi plum paste (or plums for that matter)? I moved from the SF Bay area to southern NJ where the only ume plums I've found (at an Asian food store) are full of artificial colors & preservatives.


This was really simple and great. I topped with a little mango chutney I had in the fridge. Even though I love the flavor I haven't cooked much with leeks, so this was an easy introduction. Will definitely make again and again. HS: I love the leeks too - I've been cooking more and more with them. Glad you liked them as well.


I made this yesterday and it was delicious!!! I plan to make it again soon. My grocery store didn't have any leeks, so I substituted green onions. It would have been better with leeks (I love them), but the green onions did the job just fine.


This looks delicious. I have some jarred Indian curry paste in the fridge that needs to be used and my husband and I both love chickpeas--they tie with black beans for my favorite beans. Ah, for the days of the farmers market in Minnesota--not until the middle of June! Then I can have leeks straight from the growers. I've got asparagus and broccoli waiting to be used, so you can guess how I'll adapt this. Last comment--a query: What do you think about small, diced, browned potatoes? I like to make sure a meal like this has a combo of lean protein and complex carbs, especially since I'd attempt to one-pot it. HS: Sounds delicious Erin.

Erin @ Sprouted In the Kitchen

I made this recipe last night. It was fabulous! I added a chopped red bell pepper to it. It was my first time cooking dried chickpeas. Very easy. I made a large batch and froze five additional cups of chickpeas in 1 cup increments. My question: what's the best way to thaw it? Refrigerator (time consuming); microwave (decrease quality?); running water?


great recipe for our autumn days here in Australia.... PS what is umeboshi paste( Nina's suggestion to use with coconut milk?)??


liked it vry much will try this today evening

feroz khan

This sounds like a great alternative to Tabouli. It still has lots of middle eastern flavors - curry, chickpeas, yogurt - but sounds much heartier and a little more savory. Thanks!


mmmm, delicious


Heidi, I wanted to let you know that I made your carrot salad, and artichoke dip for a party last night and they were spectacular! Your recipes always turn out wonderfully. Thank you!


I have never "soaked" any bean ,.,always canned..I love chicpeas and always had them this "mind thought "the equilevant of eating canned green beans and not having a clue??(yuck yuck ) i hope not..but do the soaked beans really taste that much differently ??need to know as I will try it ..


I already make a salad like this basically every day for lunch, with two critical differences: no leeks & I usually don't pan-fry the chickpeas. The addition of one of my favorite flavors--sautéed leeks--to the nuttiness of the pan-fried chickpeas makes it something to look forward to at noon! Yum!

Elizabeth Spragins

Oh, this looks just delicious. I could eat chickpeas every day, so I need lots of recipes to feed my addiction! To Trish in MO: I really dislike cilantro (sorry, Heidi!) and I always substitute Italian flat-leaf parsley. It doesn't really taste the same as cilantro, but the parsley has a nice freshness, and it's mild enough that it goes with almost anything.


Hi Heidi, What a wonderful combination of flavors and textures this dish is! I made this yesterday evening, but something went slightly awry in my attempt. I found the chickpeas to be a little on the dry side, as if by sautéing them I had drained them of most of their moisture. Could this be that I had them on too low a temp for too long? Is the purpose of sautéing to caramelize them and make them sweet? Maybe I should add more water to the dressing? I will definitely give this dish a second go, because despite the mild dryness this salad was a hit! All my best, Laura


This one really is a must do. Two thumbs up! Everyone enjoyed it, which surprised me because my kids usually dislike this kind of food. Bravo!

Easy Comfort Foods

I feel like its the unofficial chickpea season! The little darlings seem to be everywhere. Perhaps they're the perfect culinary vamp between winter and spring. I'll be testing this out soon, perhaps for a Sunday lunch with a glass of chilled white. Mmmmm.

sara at Culinerapy

You are soo lucky to get to Japan; I've been wanting to go for years! I'd second everyone who wants to know more about your trip. And the salad looks absolutely mouth-watering...

Liz Koppert

My family isn't crazy about chickpeas. Would white beens work with this recipe? I can hardly wait to try it. Also, I can't find greek yogurt where I live. Can I use plain yogurt?

Shannon Venable

This was a very nice dish (i was disappointed before I put on the yogurt sauce). I did a few variations, as this was my main dish. 1) i cored and sliced and stir fried over high heat 1/2 head of cabbage (conventional kind) and added it after adding the chick peas to give this dish more (pale?) greens. Stir fried brussel sprouts would have been an alternative. 2) I added some tahini to the yogurt (can't help it with chickpeas) 3) served with fresh basmati rice (brown) a very satifying but not too filling dinner for several!

Susan Lee

This looks incredible and I can't wait to try it. This is definitely a tapas night dish!

Deborah Dowd

That looks like the prefect almost spring dish. Warm and fresh! Fantastic looking!


Loved this salad! What an addicting dressing it makes. I used the lemon juice to thin out my Greek yogurt. So delicious! Thanks for the recipe!


This is to Mrs. Redboots. Look further into Coconut Oil. It is actually very good for you! There are many books about it and information on the internet. It tastes good too. Eartha

Sally Parry

I'm laughing to see that nithya at Hungry Desi had a comment. I just made her aloo paratha and this salad for dinner last night! Both a huge hit! I made about 1-1/2 batches, and split it in two. One was dressed with the yogurt/curry dressing. To the other I added ricotta salata and then dressed it with oregano pesto (from having made your giant limas). Both wonderful! I admit I did skip the red onion--tend against raw onions in our house. Thanks! It was a perfect birthday meal!


I hope you enjoyed your trip in my country, Japan! I'm looking forward to seeing photos. I really like this type of sald, and I cannot wait to try it!


Can't wait to hear all about Japan.


chickpea very nutrious so I like the way you cook.Soon I will try. Thanks.


Thank you - perfect timing! I just made this to bring to a baby shower. Lovely contribution to an early spring lunch potluck!! ps. Since you seem to visit Japan alot, do you have any tamago recipes? I love tamago and would love to be able to make it myself!


Thanks - I didn't know that you could freeze chickpeas!

nithya at hungrydesi

The receipe looks simply delicious, going to try it soon.


I made this tonight and it was just amazing! Mixed in a bit of sauted kale. Heidi --As an upstate New York resident I'd love your top 10 in San Fran. I feel fortunate to have visited your wonderful city twice so far in my 49 years - once before kids and once with 3 tween/teens. Both trips were the BEST! Love your inspiration! Colleen


What an amazing salad that you just whipped up. I can't wait to see your pictures!


Wow! That looks absolutely wonderful! I love meals like this. Simple and delicious!

Courtney (The Hungry Yogini)

I had to buy one of those huge semi-transparent umbrellas they sell at 7-11's while in Tokyo. Best umbrella I ever owned!


I love hearing your travel recommendations. Can you do a top ten list of your home, San Fran? HS: This has been on my to-do list for so long it's embarrassing.


Whoa.. my brain is not working, as you can tell. If I would have READ the blurb before the ingredients in the recipe, I would have seen I could use canned. OK, next question.. what is a good substitute for cilantro? I like it, but only when the mood strikes. My husband really takes convincing. Thanks!

Trish in MO

Do I dare insult you with the question of.. can I used canned chickpeas? Or would those be best left for some humus? That's what I bought them for, thinking I could make my own hummus, and I couldn't find dried chickpeas in a bag.

Trish in MO

Well it worked to put the beans on earlier in the day. I made this last night and my husband and I both REALLY liked it. I mostly doubled it and found the raw red onion a little biting, so I might reduce or else cook next time with the leeks. I liked it with and without a splash of balsamic vinegar and of course my husband puts Sriracha on everything :) and liked it a lot. This is a definite have again and filled us up for the evening as our meal.


I just tried this recipe and I must say it is amazing! Couple that with a mayo-pesto chicken sandwich it is absolutely fantastic!


Wow! this looks like it would taste better the next day?! Would it last a couple days for lunches in the fridge? Maybe toss on top of baby spinach and baby romaine for a neat salad or toss in a wrap? mmm and cumin sounds dee-ish, maybe even some smoked paprika? HS: I've been eating leftovers for days! And love your idea for using it in wraps.


Delicious Chickpea Salad !!!!! Greeting from Thailand. But I am Myanmar. Yours is similar to Myanmar food. So, I miss Myanmar when I saw your Chickpea Salad.

Thi Thi

I always freeze legumes in zippered bags, flat and make a point of recommending it to people. it allows me to thaw just a small amount and put the rest back.


I ate a version of this dish in grad school all the time, with canned beans, thanks for reminding me!


LOL. I made a version of this a few days ago. Actually, it was a chickpea version of your lentil almond dish. I carmelized red onions and mushrooms. Then added brussel sprouts. Removed from pan. Then sauteed the chickpeas until they had a nice crust, then added everything else back.


I've just returned from a 2 week vacation to plan some meals for the family and a shopping list for the bare pantry...and you were the first place I turned to. I've added your supernatural recipe search to my blog...and love that when I type in brussels sprouts to try it out, your golden crusted sprouts recipe is first in 2 and 4 year olds ask for it regularly. I'd love to be added to your supernatural recipe search friends list...I'm especially proud since it's the first time I've figured out how to insert a widget. Thanks!


I want to put cumin in the yogurt dressing since there's all that cilantro involved. Would that be weird? I've never tried cumin + yogurt before... HS: No, go for it, just add a bit at a time until it is to your liking.


Lovely simple dish. Looking forward to your full report from Japan.

Asata from Life Chef

I love the combination of chicken and chickpeas. I think it is the texture: Sort of buttery with a nice crunch. Wonderful!

Oh this is my favorite type of salad. The leeks are a wonderful idea!


Chickpeas and leeks. New combo!

The Duo Dishes

This looks so good, I'm always looking for new ways to make chickpeas. I love leeks too!


I am always looking for new ways to use chick peas (they even sound nicer than 'garbanzos.') And I love Nina's suggestion to incorporate umeboshi paste! Can't wait to see more pictures and recipes... HS: I agree! clever idea. I love hearing the different directions you all take my recipes.

Cook 4 Seasons

I want that salad right this very second. Ooooooh, and now I'm craving baby leeks.


this looks fantastic! welcome back from your trip!

emily w

Must be a garbonzo bean wavelength circulating....I made a very similar version of this several days ago with celery and raisins and fresh ginger. I always love your take (or should I save 'give') on the ingredients you choose. I thought of you when I was making this salad. So looking forward to reading/seeing your Tokyo travel posts. Your efforts are an inspiration; do you think, as I do, that you have the perfect job? Thank you, thank you. Your postings are always bright gifts bearing simple, attainable pleasures; most welcome.

Catherine Chandler

I absolutely love chick peas and will definitely try this recipe. Thanks!

vicky from culinary dishing

Yea, I was thinking to myself the other day, that you were going to go to Japan pretty shortly. But, didnt even notice that you were already back from the trip. cant wait to hear all about it. take all the time you want, but post everything in detail. Your 'gateaway' posts always energize me..


yes, please do share your secrets for freezing cooked (or simply soaked) beans. i am always making more than i need, but love to have them around. and forget canned beans--so bland and not worth the metal exposure. HS: I just cook them, drain them, let them cool, shake off any residual moisture using a strainer again, and then double bag them or use a heavy duty freezer bag. Into the freezer they go.


This looks delicious and I cannot wait to try it!


Can't wait to see your pics from the trip. I frequently freeze chick peas and add them to soups and stir frys. Your salad looks yummy!


Welcome back, Heidi! :) Can't wait to see those pictures! :)


Hummm, I love chickpea salad, it's my way to eat lots of proteins too... I never made it warm though. Will try it, for sure.


This looks incredible! Chickpeas have been my favorite legume lately and I look for any excuse to eat them!


Looks delicious - here in the UK you can (and I do) actually buy frozen chickpeas. What curry powder do you use? British supermarkets spoil you for choice with different blends (and using a powder is sneered at by British foodies anyway - you're supposed to mix your own blends! Life is too short, but I have at least three different blends in my kitchen). And I have issues with using coconut oil, as it is full of saturated fat, which I try to avoid; can you recommend a substitute?

Mrs Redboots

This looks simply wonderful. Anyone have suggestions for a substitution for the yogurt for those of us who avoid dairy? I was happy to see coconut oil in the ingredients. I love that stuff and use it now for everything. I don't know if you've tried it, but putting about 1 part umeboshi paste to 8 parts coconut oil makes a fabulous butter substitute, great on veggies especially. Heidi, thanks for your recipes, I look forward to them each week.


damn girl. damn.


This looks delicious! I also can't wait to see your pictures from Japan, I loved it there!

Eliza from Eliza Domestica

Thanks Heidi, this looks great. I made the Maranui Surf Club Salad last week after forgetting about it for faaaaar too long and it was a huge hit. This looks similar and also easy, and I recently picked up dried chickpeas so I'll do it the proper way--no cans! Can't wait to experiment with the dressings--might be great with something tahini as well...


This is beautiful. I cannot wait to see your pics from Japan -- a place I have always wanted to go. Were you there for business or pleasure?


I don't know which version to try--they all sound fantastic, and I love the pan-frying of the beans. What do you think of roasting (my favorite for vegetables) them with a little olive oil and kosher salt? HS: That would totally work :) I'd go lighter on the dressing though....


Love, love, love chickpeas with spinach, though I use cumin rather than curry. Speedy weeknight meal at least once every week or so.


Perfect! I'm making this for lunch. I love chickpea salads and haven't even thought of adding yogurt/curry powder to it.


Looks like a great recipe and I cannot wait to try! Quick question, though, I am curious as to how you froze your beans? I tend to over make them sometimes and always thought I would try freezing. Do you just stick them in a big ziploc? Or do you have to freeze them on a sheet pan first, for separation, like you would with fruit? Love to know! Thanks... HS: I don't bother with the sheet pan, I just make sure they are as dry as possible before bagging them - before they go in the freezer.

Shelley Boyle

It's always your most simple recipes I gravitate towards. This sounds great. Easy as pie! Wait...easier than pie! HS: Yes, I was actually making pies today, and you're right the chickpea salad is much easier ;)

Michelle @ What Does Your Body Good?

This looks amazing! I recently posted a chickpea salad on my blog -- great minds think alike!


I just happen to have some greek yogurt left over that I was wondering what to do with. This is perfect! Thanks and welcome back!

melissa s.

Welcome back! I just came back from visiting my daughter in San Francisco, I miss all the fresh veggies out there... cant wait to go back. just on my way to the store to try your salad cant wait to try. Enjoy the sunshine. HS: Hope you had a great trip Dale!


A woman after my own heart! This recipe looks like something I would want to eat any day of the week. I love chickpeas, and the yogurt dressing with curry sounds wonderful.

Sophia from Kitchen Caravan

I have a bag of dried chickpeas that have been languishing in my pantry for far too long. This recipe looks like a great way to use them! Phoo-D


I agree with Heather, what a lovely spring recipe. If only the weather here would match the spring sentiment.


Thank you! I'm just starting my journey to healthier eating and finding your blog is so . . . lucky! I've tried cooking other vegetarian dishes that crossed my path. . . all were bland, tasteless and not worth cooking again. I've tried your Lentil Soup with just stuff laying around in my pantry! Delicious! Now I can't wait to try the Pan-Fried Chickpeas. Again, thank you for sharing your cookbooks.


Lovely, simple dish. I can see why you'd reach for it as soon as you stepped in the door. We made a similar dish on the weekend at the cottage--so tasty! I would recommend, for another variation, dropping the curry powder and adding mint instead of cilantro. Delicious! Thank goodness for perfect chickpeas.


This looks so good! I am going to try this one with a mix of beans- some butterbeans, kidney beans and mung beans- along with the chickpeas. Great one!

Meghan Telpner

I plan to make this tonight. Is it too late to prep dried beans? I thought I'd have my husband put them in water at home (9am now) and cook them later on this afternoon after they soak. HS: Looks like I'm the one who is late for a reply! I typically soak beans overnight, or overnight plus....but you can get away with a shorter soak. I think 5-6 hours is the recommended minimum, but there are a couple no-soak bean cooking techniques out there.


I just began sprouting some chick peas...I'll try this lovely recipe with them once they're done. Thanks for your great ideas.


Bright, spring-y, healthy and lovely! Aromatic Indian flavors are such a great pair with chickpeas. Another hit. Cheers, *Heather*


Chickpeas are a favorite of mine, so this salad looks wonderful. I agree, dried, cooked chickpeas are worlds above the canned version.

ashley (sweet & natural)

Chickpeas are a favorite of mine, so this salad looks wonderful. I agree, dried, cooked chickpeas are worlds above the canned version.

ashley (sweet & natural)

Not that there's anything wrong with Hello Kitty umbrellas!!! (mine is from Beijing - couldn't resist to get at least one!) Fryed chick-peas are great in an omelet too - with whatever else you would like in it.. We had spring onions and bacon and feta-cheese...


Lovely recipe! I'm going to remember this! Greetings from germany! Great blog!


You were in Tokyo on a very bad weather week and caught the only time it's snowed here all winter!!! Bad luck, it's lovely blue skies today.... HS: of course it is!


Recipe looks delicious. I have a garbanzo recipe on deck (Warm Chick Pea and Broccoli Salad from, but yours is next in the rotation. May we have a picture or two of your "serious" Japanese umbrella, please? (Likely not a Hello Kitty umbrella, I am thinking.) Is the handle real bamboo? (Sorry, but I got a thang for umbrellas.) HS: I'll see if Wayne has a shot of me holding it. I picked it up at Muji - navy with pinprick-sized white polka dots, and a light wood handle. It was about $30.


Totally perfect for the Eating Down the Fridge challenge this week though alas, I have finished my leeks. But the slivered almonds and chickpeas I have in droves! Cannot wait to try this tomorrow.


I love cooking chickpeas this way. Their texture makes them the perfect addition to salads or even pastas. I always have some soaking in the fridge. This salad sounds great, especially with the yogurt. I can't wait to try it


This looks delicious - I just added it to my menu for next week!


Would it be silly to use canned chick-peas with this? I'm such a pansy about soaking beans overnight. I invariably forget about them and rediscover then a week later when they are covered with fuzzy green spots.


Delicious! I'm making this tomorrow :) Can't wait to hear more about your trip.


Heidi, I'll probably dream about this tonight, it looks so delicious! I have some lovely broccolini to contribute, and I think I'll try the Thai curry paste instead of powder. Thanks for these simple, satisfying veg meal ideas!


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