Simple Kabuli Chana Salad (Indian Chickpea Salad)

This Indian chickpea salad recipe is a healthy take on the chana chaat served as an Indian snack. Find out how to make easy kabuli chana salad with Indian spices, lemon and herbs. (With tips on how to cook dry chickpeas in instant pot/ pressure cooker, or use canned ones.)

About the recipe

If you’re looking for a quick and easy side dish for your protein or fish, this spicy low-carb kabuli chana salad is the answer. (Tastes amazing with tandoori chicken, easy baked chicken legs or salmon kabobs.) It is also great as a healthy snack or for simple vegetarian packed lunches.

The traditional chana chaat is made of chickpeas (Kabuli chana), vegetables and a couple of chutneys like mint chutney and tamarind chutney with spiced yogurt. It also features sev, deep-fried bits of chickpea flour. In this healthier and simplified version of the curried chickpea salad, I’ve replaced the fried stuff with crunchy vegetables.

This chana chaat salad uses ingredients and salad dressing similar to the chutneys to give the same amazing flavors, in a fraction of the time. It also happens to be vegan since I’ve not added yogurt.

If you still insist on drizzling chutney over the salad, I would recommend the creamy avocado chutney!

Love chickpeas? I’m sure you’ll like easy chana masala, hearty chickpea curry soup, and creamy pasta with spinach and chickpeas.

How to cook chickpeas for kabuli chana salad

(You can find the exact measurements and instructions in the recipe card at the end of this page.)

If you’re using dried chickpeas, rinse and soak for about 8 hours or even overnight if possible. One cup of chickpeas will plump up to 2 and a quarter cups when soaked. Rinse again, add 4 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon each of turmeric and salt.

How to cook in an instant pot

Pressure-cook for 12 minutes at high pressure and wait for natural pressure release. Drain and cool the chickpeas.

How to cook in a pressure cooker (stovetop)

Cook on high flame for 2 whistles, reduce to low flame, and cook for 10 minutes (or up to 5 whistles). Turn off the flame and let the pressure release naturally. Drain and let them cool.

Cooking tip: You’ll be left with a lot of water in the cooked chickpeas. Don’t throw away the flavorful water. Freeze and use it in soups and curries.

How to use canned chickpeas

You’ll need about two 15-ounce cans of chickpeas for this recipe. Drain the chickpeas and rinse. You can use them straight away if you don’t want to add turmeric. But I strongly recommend adding turmeric for its bright color and flavor. This is also a convenient way to add antioxidant-rich turmeric to your diet. I add them ALWAYS when cooking beans and lentils, apart from curries, of course.

Add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and 3 cups of water. (Canned chickpeas have salt already, so you don’t need to add salt. In fact, the purpose of rinsing is to remove some of the sodium.) Bring it to a boil and remove from heat. Let it cool. Drain and keep aside.

Chana salad mix-ins

  • Onions and tomatoes.
  • Bell peppers for added crunch- use multiple colors to add pops of color and nutrition.
  • Mint and coriander leaves add the ‘chutney’ flavors along with the salad dressing.
  • Raisins for the sweet touch.

Salad dressing

  1. Chaat masala- an essential ingredient for Indian salads, chaat dishes and tikkas. It is an amazingly flavorful spice mix and a personal favorite. (This is what gives the vibrant lentil salad and paneer kathi rolls the characteristic flavor.)
  2. Ground cumin and chilli flakes for that spicy kick.
  3. Lemon juice.
  4. Extra virgin olive oil for the fruity flavor.
  5. Honey (or sugar for a vegan recipe.)

Whisk the ingredients for salad dressing until well incorporated. Dice the vegetables, finely chop the mint and cilantro and mix. Drizzle the salad dressing and toss well. Serve immediately or chill.

Congratulations! You’ve made the most flavorful Indian chickpea salad (call it chana chaat salad!) without the need for chutneys and fried flour.

Additions and variations

  • Add diced mango– raw, ripe, semi-ripe, anything works here. Ripe ones make the salad sweet, raw ones make it zestier. I love the “almost” ripe ones that have a bit of both flavors.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of dry ginger powder to the salad dressing for extra spice.
  • Make your own cumin powder by roasting and grinding cumin. It takes only a few minutes and does makes a difference.
  • You may have noticed that I did not add salt in the dressing. That’s because the chaat masala has salt in it. Feel free to add a dash of sea salt or pink salt according to your taste.

Common questions about this chana salad

Can I cook dry chickpeas without soaking?

Forgot to soak your chickpeas? No worries. Rinse the chickpeas and add twice the amount of water. Bring it to a boil, turn off the heat and keep covered for a minimum of 1 hour. Then cook according to the instructions above, adding 10 minutes more to the pressure-cooking time. The texture will be slightly different with a little bite to the chickpeas, but it would get cooked nevertheless.

How long should I soak dry chickpeas?

Dry chickpeas should be soaked for about 8 hours to even overnight. You get a nice creamy texture when you cook well-soaked chickpeas.

Should I refrigerate soaked chickpeas?

Soak the chickpeas at room temperature. But if you’re going to cook them after 12 hours or beyond, they need to be refrigerated.

How much water should I use to cook chickpeas?

When soaked, chickpeas swell up to almost 2.5 times their quantity. The amount of water for pressure-cooking must be 4 times that of dry chickpeas. In this recipe, I used 4 cups of water for 1 cup of dry chickpeas. You will be left with a lot of water in the chickpeas after cooking, but you’ll need that much water for the chickpeas to move around and cook uniformly.

Questions?

If you have more questions about this recipe or any other recipe, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

You can leave a comment here and I will get back to you within 24 hours. I promise to help!

Chana salad served in a blue bowl from a bigger white salad bowl.

Health benefits of chickpeas

  1. Chickpeas are high in fiber which makes them a filling food. It keeps your appetite under control, helping in weight loss.
  2. Chickpeas are an excellent source of plant-based protein that has lot of health benefits ranging from weight management to bone health. They are a great choice for vegetarians.
  3. Chickpeas are loaded with vitamins and minerals that provide a variety of benefits.
  4. Chickpeas have a fairly low calorie density which means they provide low calories relative to the amount of nutrients. This is another reason why chickpeas are known to aid in weight loss.
  5. Chickpeas have a low Glycemic Index and support healthy blood sugar control.

(Source)

Looking for more salads?

Chana salad in a white bowl.

Simple Chana Salad Recipe (Indian Salad with Chickpeas)

This Indian chickpea salad recipe is a healthy take on the chana chaat served as an Indian snack. Find out how to make easy chana salad with Indian spices, lemon and herbs!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Chickpea soaking time 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 45 mins
Course Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Servings 5
Calories 272 kcal

Equipment

  • Instant pot/ pressure cooker

Ingredients
  

For the chickpeas

  • 1 cup dry chickpeas (or two 15-oz cans of chickpeas)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the mix-ins

  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1 cup bell pepper/ capsicum finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro/ coriander leaves finely chopped

For the salad dressing

  • 2 teaspoons chaat masala
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
  • 2 tablespoons honey (or 1 tablespoon sugar for a vegan recipe)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions
 

For the chickpeas

    If using canned chickpeas

    • Drain and rinse the chickpeas.
    • Add turmeric and 3 cups of water. Bring it to a boil and remove from heat. Let it cool and then drain the chickpeas and keep aside.
      This step can be skipped if you want to make the salad even quicker or if you don't have turmeric.

    If using dry chickpeas

    • Soak for a minimum of 8 hours. Rinse and add 4 cups of water, 1/2 teaspoons each of salt and turmeric.

    How to cook in an instant pot

    • Set to "pressure cook" for 10 minutes. (After you switch on, it would take about 15 minutes to reach high pressure.)
    • Wait for natural pressure release, which would take about 20 minutes. Drain and let it cool.

    How to cook in a pressure cooker on stovetop

    • Cook on high flame until 2 whistles, reduce and cook on low flame for 10 minutes.
    • Let the pressure release naturally. Drain and let it cool.

    Salad dressing and mix-ins

    • While the chickpeas are cooking, make the dressing and do all the chopping.
    • Mix all ingredients for the dressing and whisk until the spices are completely dissolved in the liquid.
    • Toss the vegetables and herbs together with the cooked chickpeas.
    • Drizzle dressing on the salad and toss well. Chill until ready to serve.

    Video

    Notes

    I do not add salt since the chaat masala contains salt. Feel free to add sea salt or pink salt according to taste.
    Make ahead: This is one of those salads (like the easy Italian pasta salad) that taste even better the next day. 
    Left-overs: Store the leftovers in an airtight box. Stays fresh for 2 days in the refrigerator.
    Freezing option: You can freeze the chickpeas and mix-ins but I haven’t tried freezing this salad with the dressing. In any case, the dressing takes just 2 minutes to whisk up. That means this salad is good for meal-prep too.
    Simple Kabuli Chana Salad (Indian Chickpea Salad)
    Keyword chana salad, healthy chickpea salad, Indian chickpea salad, kabuli chana salad, Vegan chickpea salad

    ★★★★★Did you try this recipe? Please give a star rating in the comments below.★★★★★

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    – Sheeba.

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