This roasted chickpea salad packs a ton of flavor and crunch and is served with a creamy, nutty tahini dressing that pairs perfectly.
Like spring cleaning for the house, I know quite a few people who do an annual detox every spring.
I’ve done one for the past three years, usually around the beginning of April. But this year I’m a little late (yeah, oops). Being in Kuwait and having the weather already feel like the hottest part of summer back home, it just doesn’t feel like it’s time for a spring detox.
However, because the heat naturally drives me to eat veggie-based meals for most of my daily meals, I figure it’s not all bad.
I love a good salad, and I enjoy finding new ways to keep salad exciting. Gone are the salads of my childhood that were (and I promise I’m not exaggerating) just a bowl of iceberg lettuce with two tomato slices, three cucumber rounds, a tiny sprinkling of shredded carrot (if I was lucky), and store-bought Italian dressing. (Ugh! No wonder most kids think they don’t like salad.)
Adding exotic or seasonal fruit (like mango, coconut, or cherries), different seeds or nuts (think walnuts, cashews, or almonds), various kinds of beans (even roasted!), whatever leftovers I have on hand, and/or switching up the dressing keeps salads interesting for me.
Remaking something that isn’t salad (like falafel) into salad is always fun too. Last week I shared my recipe for Falafel-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas, which are perfect in this salad. Don’t skimp out on the dressing though! Tahini sauce is a classic pairing with falafel and I think it makes the salad.
Why Tahini Dressing with Roasted Chickpea Salad?
My favorite falafel in the Middle East is made with chickpeas. As a play on that, I seasoned these roasted chickpeas with classic falafel spices. And falafel in the Middle East is typically served with tahini dressing!
Tahini, which is just sesame seed paste, is nutty, slightly bitter, and super creamy. Magic happens when you add a touch of fresh lemon and then a bit of water. Its texture changes to a velvety rich sauce that's perfect for drizzling on falafel, salads, roasted vegetables, and even grilled meat.
And the best part is, tahini dressing is quick and easy to whip up!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Full of flavor and texture. Crunchy, spiced chickpeas pair really well with juicy ripe tomato, sweet crunchy cucumber, and creamy tahini dressing.
- Special diet friendly. This salad is naturally gluten free and vegan.
- Budget friendly. With chickpeas as the main protein source, this salad is an affordable meal.
Roasted Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing
In this section I explain the ingredients and give substitution ideas. For the full recipe (including ingredient amounts), see the recipe card below.
Falafel-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas Ingredients
- Canned no-salt-added chickpeas – or you can use canned chickpeas with salt and reduce the salt you add to ¼ teaspoon
- Extra-virgin olive oil – for flavor and to help the chickpeas toast up nicely
- Cumin, coriander, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika – these are the classic falafel spices that help make our oven roasted chickpeas taste like falafel; for the paprika, you can use sweet, hot, or smoked paprika to vary the flavor
- Salt – to season the dish so it isn’t bland
Tahini Dressing Ingredients
- Tahini - tahini is a sesame seed paste with a texture similar to runny nut butter; look for it near the peanut butters in your regular grocery store, or buy tahini on Amazon
- Fresh lemon juice - the fresh, bright, tangy flavor of fresh lemon juice balances out the creamy, nutty, slightly bitter flavor of tahini
- Water - this is to thin out the tahini dressing to the right consistency
- Salt - to season the dressing so it isn't bland
- Black pepper - this is optional; I like the subtle heat of a touch of black pepper in creamy tahini dressing
- Green leaf lettuce - or any type of lettuce or baby leafy greens you like, such as spinach, Romaine, red leaf lettuce, etc.
- Tomatoes - you can chop regular tomatoes or use cherry tomatoes; go for whatever is ripest for the best flavor
- Seedless cucumber - such as English (hothouse) cucumber or Persian cucumber
- Red onion - or for milder flavor, use sweet white onion or sliced scallion
- Sesame seeds - to tie the flavor of the salad together with the tahini dressing
How to Make Roasted Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing
Roast the Chickpeas:
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking tray with paper towels, and pour the drained chickpeas on top. Pat well to dry, and then remove the paper towels.
- Add the oil and spices to the chickpeas.
- Stir to coat the chickpeas.
- Make sure the chickpeas are spread in an even layer on the baking tray, and roast until golden and crisp outside, about 30 to 40 minutes, tossing every 10 to 15 minutes.
Make the Tahini Dressing:
- Whisk together the tahini and lemon juice in a small-medium bowl. While whisking, add the water ½ tablespoon at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Whisk in the salt and black pepper. The resulting tahini dressing will be velvety smooth and creamy.
Assemble the Roasted Chickpea Salads:
Arrange the lettuce on 2 plates. Top each with half of the tomato, cucumber, onion, and chickpeas. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top and drizzle on the dressing.
Serving Suggestion: Make Roasted Chickpeas Into a Falafel-Like Sandwich
We use falafel spices to season the roasted chickpeas, so they already have flavor and aroma similar to falafel. You can take it one step further and make a roasted chickpea pita sandwich!
I like to add the same vegetables to a pita sandwich that I would add to a salad: lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and onion. You can add just about anything you like, such as shredded cabbage, carrot, beets, and/or Middle Eastern style pickled vegetables.
Don't forget to drizzle tahini dressing on top. It's the finishing touch that makes this roasted chickpea sandwich taste like a falafel sandwich!
- Spice it any way you like. For the roasted chickpeas, feel free to play around with the spices. You can change the spice amounts or use your favorite blend of spices instead.
- Swap out the veggies for your favorites. If tomato, cucumber, and red onion aren't your thing, feel free to use vegetables that you like. Colorful bell pepper is a delicious option, and avocado adds rich creaminess.
- Bump up the protein. Here are a few delicious ways you can bump up the protein of this salad: grilled ribeye steak, shish tawook (Middle Eastern grilled chicken skewers), or even your favorite type of broiled or grilled seafood.
More Delicious Salads with Chickpeas
- Bread Crumb Salad
- Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Chickpeas, Kale, and Pearl Couscous
- Lemony Chickpea and Herb Wheat Berry Salad
Roasted Chickpea Salad
Falafel-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas:
- 4 cups green leaf lettuce torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 medium tomatoes or 4 small tomatoes, cut into wedges
- ½ English cucumber or 2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
- ½ small red onion halved and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
For the Falafel-Spiced Roasted Chickpeas:
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Line a baking tray with paper towels, and pour the drained chickpeas on top. Pat well to dry, and then remove the paper towels.
- Add the oil and spices to the chickpeas, and stir to coat the chickpeas.
- Make sure the chickpeas are spread in an even layer on the baking tray, and roast until golden and crisp outside, about 30 to 40 minutes, tossing every 10 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly.
For the Tahini Dressing:
- Whisk together the tahini and lemon juice in a small-medium bowl. While whisking, add the water ½ tablespoon at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. Whisk in the salt and black pepper.
For the Salad:
- Arrange the lettuce on 2 plates. Top each with half of the tomato, cucumber, onion, and chickpeas. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top and drizzle on the dressing.
- Serve immediately.
- Recipe Yield: This salad serves 2 as a main course or 6 as a side salad.
- Chickpeas: If you can’t find no-salt-added canned chickpeas, you can use salted canned chickpeas and reduce the amount of salt you add to ¼ teaspoon.
- To Bump Up the Protein: Here are a few delicious ways you can bump up the protein of this salad: grilled ribeye steak, shish tawook (Middle Eastern grilled chicken skewers), or even your favorite type of broiled or grilled seafood.
- Make it Into a Sandwich: This salad is absolutely delicious made into a pita sandwich!
- For More About Roasted Chickpeas: Check out my roasted chickpeas recipe for tips and storage information.
This post was first published on An Edible Mosaic on April 21, 2014. I updated it with more information on June 7, 2023.