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This savory, satisfying chickpea salad with Indian-inspired spices and a lemony yogurt dressing is one of my very favorite easy meals. With a mere two minutes on the stove and just a handful of ingredients, you can make something really special.

chickpea salad with Indian spices and yogurt in a bowl with a paper napkin and lemon wedge
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Why we love this recipe

This fabulous, easy-breezy Indian-inspired chickpea salad is a perennial favorite. It’s:

  • Bursting with cumin, mustard seed, cilantro, lemony yogurt dressing, and more
  • Great at room temperature
  • Perfect for picnics, BBQs, and buffets
  • A super-quick lunch or dinner that feels a little bit special
  • Vegetarian and gluten-free (or make it vegan with a plant-based yogurt)

This recipe is adapted from Jerry Traunfeld, former executive of The Herbfarm restaurant in Washington State. I’ve owned, loved, and frequently gifted his cookbook for years. I first published this recipe here back in 2008, in the wee early days of Umami Girl. I’ve updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this Indian-inspired chickpea salad with yogurt.

ingredients in bowls
  • Safflower oil is my high-smoke-point, neutral-tasting vegetable oil of choice. You can substitute another oil that has similar properties, such as canola, sunflower, peanut, corn, or vegetable oil blend.
  • Black mustard seed (sometimes called brown) is different from yellow mustard. It has a warmer, more complex flavor profile. Black mustard seed is a frequent ingredient in Indian cooking and is well worth buying if you don’t already have it on hand. (You can type “black mustard seed” into the search bar on this site for some more great ways to use it.)
  • Canned chickpeas make this dish quick and easy, and they work great here. You can cook your own chickpeas from dried, of course, if you like. The two cans in this recipe equal about 3 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas.
  • Full-fat Greek yogurt gives this dish a welcome smoothness. You can substitute a plant-based strained yogurt to make it vegan.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make this recipe. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. Heat the oil in a small pan. Add the mustard seeds, cover, and cook until they’ve popped. Add the cumin and fennel seeds and cook one minute more.
  2. Place chickpeas into a large mixing bowl and pour the spice oil overtop.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl.
  4. Toss gently to combine well. That’s it!

Expert tips and FAQs

What if I don’t have Greek yogurt?

In a pinch, you can strain your own regular whole-milk yogurt. Line a fine-mesh sieve with a piece of cheesecloth or a coffee filter and set it over a bowl. Place 1 1/2 cups yogurt into the filter.

Refrigerate for at least two hours, up to overnight, until enough liquid has drained off that the yogurt is reduced in volume by half.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

Yes, this chickpea salad is a great contender for making in advance. It will keep well in the fridge for up to a week. If you like, toss in the fresh herbs just before serving.

It’s best served at room temperature, so take it out of the fridge an hour or so before mealtime.

More favorite quick & easy bean salads

chickpea salad with Indian spices and yogurt in a bowl with a paper napkin and lemon wedge

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chickpea salad with Indian spices and yogurt in a bowl with a paper napkin and lemon wedge
4.80 from 5 votes

Chickpea Salad with Indian-inspired Spices and Yogurt

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
This savory, satisfying chickpea salad with Indian-inspired spices and a lemony yogurt dressing is one of my very favorite easy meals. With a mere two minutes on the stove and just a handful of ingredients, you can make something really special.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 2 minutes
Total: 12 minutes
Servings: 4
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Enter your email and I’ll send it to your inbox. Plus get great new recipes every week!
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Ingredients 

  • 2 15- oz. 425-gram cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) safflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon whole black mustard seeds
  • ¾ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • ¾ teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • ¾ cup (215 grams) whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Instructions 

  • Dry the chickpeas and place into a large mixing bowl.
  • In a small skillet, heat the oil until shimmering.
  • Add the mustard seeds, partially cover the skillet, and cook over medium-high heat until the mustard seeds almost stop popping, about a minute.
  • Add the cumin and fennel seeds and cook for another minute.
  • Pour the hot oil and spices over the chickpeas.
  • Stir in the yogurt, lemon juice and zest, scallions, cilantro and salt.
  • Serve at room temperature.

Notes

  1. Safflower oil is my high-smoke-point, neutral-tasting vegetable oil of choice. You can substitute another oil that has similar properties, such as canola, sunflower, peanut, corn, or vegetable oil blend.
  2. Black mustard seed (sometimes called brown) is different from yellow mustard. It has a warmer, more complex flavor profile. Black mustard seed is a frequent ingredient in Indian cooking and is well worth buying if you don’t already have it on hand. (You can type “black mustard seed” into the search bar on this site for some more great ways to use it.)
  3. Canned chickpeas make this dish quick and easy, and they work great here. You can cook your own chickpeas from dried, of course, if you like. The two cans in this recipe equal about 3 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas.
  4. Full-fat Greek yogurt gives this dish a welcome smoothness. You can substitute a plant-based strained yogurt to make it vegan.
  5. This chickpea salad is a great contender for making in advance. It will keep well in the fridge for up to a week. If you like, toss in the fresh herbs just before serving. It's best served at room temperature, so take it out of the fridge an hour or so before mealtime.

Nutrition

Calories: 292kcal, Carbohydrates: 33.1g, Protein: 12.9g, Fat: 13g, Fiber: 2.3g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salads + Bowls
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

Hungry for More?
Subscribe to Umami Girl's email updates, and follow along on Instagram.
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

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6 Comments

  1. that white bean salad rocked my world. love, barack obama
    ok, maybe barack obama did not leave a comment on your blog. but your sister thought the white bean salad was delicious.

  2. Such a great shot of your family!!! 🙂

    and mmmmm those Indian-spiced chickpeas sound fabulous.

    What’s the story with unfiltered olive oil, because I have a funny feeling I’ve been in the dark on this one….

  3. Ok. That’s a beautiful baby. Great recipes too, but can I just request more baby pics. Maybe I will check your Facebook.