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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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.


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