The Mighty Chickpea

By Morgan Crawford a Recent ASU Nutrition Student

I stumbled upon this recipe several years ago while scrolling through Pinterest. I wanted something that was quick and easy to throw together. That is when I found a recipe for chickpea salad that truly changed my life. I’m not kidding; I have made it so many times that I’ve lost count. It has quickly become the requested dish at every dinner party or pot luck.

Over the years, I have made my own changes to it and altered the original recipe to fit what is in season or what I have in my fridge. That is one beautiful thing about this salad; it can be changed to fit your liking. If you’re looking for a quick recipe that is packed full of protein and veggies, try it out yourself! I promise, you will want to make a huge batch and keep in on hand for a quick and easy lunch, snack, or side dish. You can also check out the original recipe here.




  • 2 cans chickpeas- make sure to drain and rinse thoroughly
  • 2 stalks celery- finely chopped
  • 2 carrots- shredded or finely chopped
  • 1 large apple- finely chopped
  • 1 cup spinach- finely chopped
  • 1 green onion- finely chopped
  • 3-4 tablespoons Dijon mustard (use more if you want more spice)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2-3 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste



  1. Drain and rinse chickpeas and place in a large bowl.
  2. Using a potato masher or fork, mash chickpeas (you still want them to have some texture, not mashed to a paste).
  3. Chop your vegetables and add to the bowl.
  4. Add mustard, lemon juice, sunflower seeds, salt and pepper.
  5. Mix together and adjust seasoning if desired.
  6. Serve room temperature or chilled.



This salad is not only delicious, it is also packed with nutrients. Chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo beans, are part of the legume family. They are high in fiber, which makes them an excellent addition to anyone’s diet, especially those who are diabetic or pre-diabetic. Fiber intake is shown to regulate blood sugar, which can prevent or even treat type II diabetes. Bone health is also impacted by our diet, specifically how much calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphate we consume. Chickpeas contain all of these vital nutrients.


Just like pinto or black beans, chickpeas come either canned or dried. Most people probably find that purchasing canned beans is not only the easier option, but also must faster. If using dried chickpeas, you must soak them in cool water for at least 8-12 hours. They are then cooked on the stove for another 2-3 hours. Though this is a time-consuming process, there are certainly some benefits to doing it this way. First, it eliminates the unnecessary salt and other preservatives that are often added to canned beans. Something not so obvious, is that the soaking process increases digestibility. Chickpeas and other beans have sugars that are present on their outer surface; if beans are not soaked before the cooking process, the sugars are not broken down. This means that they are not digested in the small intestine and pass along to the large intestine where bacteria consume them and produce gas. It is common for digestive discomfort to result from this. To prevent this, it is important to soak and rinse beans before cooking.


Chickpeas, as well as other varieties of beans, are a great protein source, and when combined with a carbohydrate such as rice or quinoa, are a complete protein. This mean it provides the body with all the essential amino acids, perfect for those eating a plant-based diet.


An interesting development in the food community recently, is the discovery of aquafaba, the jelly-like liquid that comes from canned chickpeas. For the longest time, we were told to drain and rinse canned chickpeas before cooking, but now we see that there are actually quite a few uses for this strange byproduct. It can also be used to make egg-less mayonnaise and many more dishes that would otherwise require eggs. The discovery of aquafaba has opened up so many opportunities for delicious recipes. It really is the perfect ingredient; it eliminates waste, costs just pennies, and is completely plant-based.


Chickpeas offer a wide variety of nutrients and are a versatile ingredient that can be added to any dish for some extra protein. From a delicious salad to using aquafaba to make meringue, the possibilities are endless. Try adding more of these nutrient packed beans to your life!


For more articles about clean eating check out the Fill Your Plate Blog. For some more recipes like this one check out the recipe section of our website.




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