Chickpea Pasta Salad Recipe

A hearty salad that is nutritious and delicious, this Chickpea Pasta Salad is a feast of flavor and texture made with herbs, spices, and a sprinkle of Parmesan.

Chickpea Pasta Salad

Pasta salads get a bad rap. There’s the interminable debate regarding whether it’s even a salad at all. (I’ve conducted this debate on the site before; I’m NOT getting into it again!) Much of that debate stems from the nutritional value of said salad, as though anything called a salad can’t be remotely indulgent. Well, I’m going to thwart that aspect of the argument with this recipe for Chickpea Pasta Salad.

This salad isn’t “light”. It is hearty and can be treated like a meal. It is also indulgent, thanks to the flavorful ingredients included. And it is very nutritious. Chickpeas are my not-so-secret ingredient when I need an injection of protein and fiber without violating any dietary restrictions. They can be cooked any number of ways or simply left to marinate, as we do in this recipe. And while I appreciate the farfalle, Parmesan, and herbs that appear in this recipe, I’m all about the chickpea.

I love bringing it to potlucks and picnics because, apart from the five minutes it takes to set up the marination (and the foresight to do so the night before), the salad is very simple and easy to assemble. And, like I said, I can count on it not to upset any diets. That means everyone can eat it, or can do with minimal alterations (like no parmesan). If you’re looking for a salad that checks a whole lot of boxes, this is the one. In fact, the only box it might not be able to check is the one labelled ‘Salad’!

What can I add to the marinade?

Let’s take stock. The marinade currently comprises 1/4 cup olive oil, grated garlic, half of the lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon salt. These ingredients are simple, easy to find, and add a freshness to your salad. But if you want to enhance its flavor—and in turn, your chickpeas—you can add the parsley, basil, and/or lemon zest you may be reserving for later. You can also add spices like cumin, paprika, chili powder, or crushed red pepper flakes; they’ll bring the heat depending on how much you use. If you have some on hand, you can add a tanginess with the addition of Dijon mustard or a touch of sweetness with maple syrup or honey. My only suggestion is to err on the side of “too little” when contemplating how much to add. You don’t want it to overshadow the natural nuttiness of your chickpeas.

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 8 oz. farfalle pasta
  • 1/2 cup mix of parsley and basil, finely chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Chickpea Pasta Salad

How to Make Chickpea Pasta Salad

Step 1: In a bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, grated garlic, half of the lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon salt. Add chickpeas and stir to coat. Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or for best flavor, cover and refrigerate for 8 hours to overnight.

Chickpea Pasta Salad

Step 2: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add farfalle pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.

Chickpea Pasta Salad

Step 3: In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta with the marinated chickpeas. Add the remaining olive oil, lemon zest, and the rest of the lemon juice. Toss well to combine.

Chickpea Pasta Salad

Step 4: Stir in the chopped parsley and basil, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Gently fold in the Parmesan cheese just before serving to prevent it from melting.

Chickpea Pasta Salad

Step 5: Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese, herbs, and a squeeze of lemon juice if desired.

FAQs & Tips

How do I store this chickpea pasta salad?

You can store the salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days. It may even taste better after you let the flavors mingle, so if you have the time, make it a day or two in advance. I don’t advise you freeze the salad; its texture will be compromised.

Do I serve this chilled or warm?

You can serve this however you like. You can chill it completely by keeping it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. You can roast the chickpeas (see below) and add them to the just-cooked pasta for a warm dish. Or you can mix it up so that one ingredient is warm while another is cool. I suggest letting the occasion dictate the temperature. If you’re going to be adding this salad to a potluck or picnic table, serve it cool so that you don’t have to worry about it sitting out for an extended period of time. If you are serving this in the confines of your own dining room, take advantage of having your kitchen right there and serve it warm.

Can I roast the chickpeas instead?

Yes, you can totally roast them. The way I see it, this is a viable options for a few reasons. First, it means you can skip the marination, which you may not have time for. As well, the chickpeas’ nutty flavor comes out when roasted. Last, they’ll be crunchy, not mushy, which might appeal to those who appreciate the variety in texture. To roast them, lay your chickpeas out on a baking sheet and dry them using a paper towel. Add your choice of herbs and spices along with olive oil then roast them in a 400°F oven for 20–30 minutes, stirring halfway.

Chickpea Pasta Salad

Serving Suggestions

I’ve gone over what you can add to the marinade to influence the flavor of the overall dish. But if you’re looking for something more substantial, here are a few suggestions. First, there are the vegetables, like cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, olives (green or black will both do), roasted red peppers, arugula or baby spinach, or grilled asparagus. If Parmesan isn’t enough, you can add crumbled feta or cubed bocconcini. If you’re not bothered about keeping things vegetarian, you can add grilled or roasted chicken, cooked shrimp, chopped cooked bacon, or canned tuna (drained and flaked). And for a crunch, add toasted pine nuts, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, or chopped walnuts/pecans.

Chickpea Pasta Salad
Chickpea Pasta Salad

Chickpea Pasta Salad Recipe

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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 502 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (14 oz.) can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil divided
  • 1 clove garlic grated
  • 1 lemon juiced and zested
  • 1 tsp salt more to taste
  • 8 oz. farfalle pasta
  • 1/2 cup mix of parsley and basil finely chopped
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions
 

  • In a bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, grated garlic, half of the lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon salt. Add chickpeas and stir to coat. Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or for best flavor, cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
    Chickpea Pasta Salad
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add farfalle pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.
    Chickpea Pasta Salad
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta with the marinated chickpeas. Add the remaining olive oil, lemon zest, and the rest of the lemon juice. Toss well to combine.
    Chickpea Pasta Salad
  • Add herbs and cheese: Stir in the chopped parsley and basil, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Gently fold in the Parmesan cheese just before serving to prevent it from melting
    Chickpea Pasta Salad
  • Enjoy the pasta salad warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese, herbs, and a squeeze of lemon juice if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 502kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 12gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 790mgPotassium: 184mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 730IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 172mgIron: 1mg
Keyword chickpeas, herb salad, lemon herb, marinated chickpeas, pasta salad, summer salad
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