When it comes to balancing taste, texture, and nutrition, my Chickpea & Avocado Bliss Salad hits all the marks. I love whipping this up for a quick lunch or as a vibrant side dish at family gatherings. It combines the creaminess of ripe avocados with the hearty feel of chickpeas and a burst of colors from red bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and red onions. Topped off with a tangy lemon-tahini dressing, this salad isn't just good for you—it's a feast for the eyes and a party for your taste buds.
But what I really adore about this recipe is its versatility. Whether you're vegan, gluten-free, or just someone looking to add more plant-based foods to your diet, this salad caters to you. Plus, it offers plenty of room for customization. Want to add more protein? Toss in some grilled chicken or tofu. Prefer a different dressing? Go ahead and make it your own. In just 20 minutes, you can have a satisfying dish that's as flexible as it is delicious.
Substitutions for Chickpeas Salad with Avocado
If you're like me and love tweaking recipes based on what you have in the pantry, or if you're catering to specific dietary needs, you're in luck! This Chickpea & Avocado Salad is incredibly flexible. Here are some of my suggestions for substitutions:
- Chickpeas: If you're out of chickpeas, try using black beans or kidney beans. They both offer a nice, hearty texture.
- Avocado: No ripe avocados on hand? You can substitute with a dollop of guacamole or even a scoop of hummus. Just note that the texture will be slightly different.
- Tahini: If you can't find tahini or if you're allergic to sesame, almond butter or cashew butter works just as well for the dressing. You can also make a simple olive oil and vinegar vinaigrette if you prefer.
- Lemon Juice: Lime juice or even orange juice can give a unique twist to the dressing if you don't have lemons.
- Fresh Cilantro: If you're not a fan of cilantro or don't have any on hand, you can substitute it with fresh parsley or even a sprinkle of dried cilantro.
- Red Bell Pepper: Feel free to use yellow or green bell peppers, or even a mix of all three for a burst of color!
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: If you're out of olive oil, you can use avocado oil or canola oil for the dressing. Keep in mind this might alter the taste slightly.
- Ground Cumin: If you don't have ground cumin, ground coriander is a good alternative that also complements the other flavors well.
- Cherry Tomatoes: Regular diced tomatoes will also do the trick, or you can add a burst of sweetness with grape tomatoes.
Tips and Tricks
Whether you're a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, these handy tips and tricks will help you make the most of this Chickpea & Avocado Salad recipe:
Prep Ahead: If you're planning to serve this salad for an event or as part of a larger meal, you can prepare the chickpeas and chopped veggies in advance. Just store them in separate airtight containers in the fridge until you're ready to assemble.
Keep Avocado Fresh: To prevent the avocado from browning, add it last and right before serving. If you're storing leftovers, a squeeze of lemon juice over the top can also help keep the avocado green.
Dressing Consistency: If your tahini is too thick, you might find your dressing ends up overly thick as well. Feel free to add a tablespoon of water or more lemon juice to reach your desired consistency.
Spice It Up: If you like a little kick in your salad, add a dash of cayenne pepper or some finely chopped jalapeños to the mix.
Use Quality Olive Oil: The dressing is simple, so the better your olive oil, the better your dressing will taste. Extra virgin olive oil is recommended for its richer flavor.
Chill the Salad: While this salad is delicious at room temperature, chilling it for about 15-20 minutes in the fridge before serving can make it even more refreshing.
Boost the Protein: To make this salad a complete meal, consider adding grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu. If you're a vegetarian or vegan, quinoa is also a great protein-packed addition.
Go Nuts: For an extra crunch, toss in a handful of your favorite nuts like almonds or walnuts.
Personalize Your Greens: While the recipe calls for cilantro, you can also try adding baby spinach, arugula, or kale to add different textures and flavors.
Be Gentle: When mixing the salad, especially after you've added the avocado and dressing, mix gently to keep the avocado pieces from becoming mushy.
Chickpea & Avocado Salad
- Small mixing bowl for dressing
- Fork or potato masher (for avocado)
For the Salad:
- 1 can 15 oz chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 ripe avocados peeled and pitted
- 1 medium red bell pepper finely diced
- 1 small red onion finely chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- ½ cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Dressing:
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1 lemon juiced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare the Chickpeas and Veggies: Drain and rinse the chickpeas and place them in a large mixing bowl. Finely dice the red bell pepper and red onion, halve the cherry tomatoes, and add them to the bowl.
- Mash the Avocado: In a separate bowl, mash the peeled and pitted avocados using a fork or potato masher until mostly smooth but with some small chunks remaining.
- Combine: Add the mashed avocado to the large mixing bowl with chickpeas and veggies. Sprinkle the finely chopped cilantro on top.
- Make the Dressing: In a small bowl, combine tahini, lemon juice, minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil, ground cumin, and paprika. Whisk together until smooth. If the dressing is too thick, add a tablespoon of water to reach your desired consistency.
- Toss the Salad: Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients in the large mixing bowl. Gently mix until everything is well-coated.
- Season and Serve: Add salt and pepper to taste. Give the salad one final mix, then transfer it to a serving bowl or divide among individual plates.
Chickpeas Salad with Avocado - FAQ
You can prepare the chickpea and vegetable mixture ahead of time. However, it's best to add the avocado and dressing just before serving to keep the salad fresh and prevent browning.
Absolutely! Lime juice can provide a different yet delicious tangy flavor to the dressing.
The salad is best consumed immediately, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to one day. The avocado may brown slightly, though.
If you don't have tahini, you can use almond butter or cashew butter as a substitute. Alternatively, you can make a simple vinaigrette with olive oil and vinegar.
Absolutely! Grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu make excellent additions if you're looking to make the salad more protein-rich.
Fresh cilantro is recommended for its vibrant flavor, but you can substitute with 2-3 tablespoons of dried cilantro if fresh is not available.