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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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

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