Italian Garbanzo Salad ~ Easy and Healthy Summer Meal

Beat the heat with a cool, healthy summertime meal!

Super-healthy and full of fiber, this playful twist on the classic Italian pasta salad is perfect for those hot summer days when you just don’t feel like cooking. The garbanzos can be cooked ahead of time in your crockpot and chilled until you are ready to use them. The salad is even better on the second day and makes a wonderful main dish or side to accompany grilled foods. You can even serve it with cured meats or tuna, flavorful cheeses and marinated or pickled vegetables/fruits; like artichokes, pepperoncini, and briny olives for a tempting antipasto. Try it with a chilled Sauvignon Blanc or crisp, effervescent Vinho Verde! As with most of my recipes, you can substitute, alter, swap, or omit most of the ingredients depending on your dietary and flavor preferences. The version I have shown here is vegan and gluten-free. Since garbanzos are my new favorite protein source lately, I will probably be posting more recipes with them.

To Cook 1 lb. of Dried Garbanzos:

Rinse dried beans and cover amply with water in a large mixing bowl. Let soak overnight.

Crock Pot: Rinse the garbanzos in clean, cool water and pour into the crockpot. Cover with water about 1/2” or so over the level of the beans. I cook mine with a 1/2 tsp. of sea salt. Cook on low for 3-4 hours. Allow to cool, then rinse garbanzos well using a colander or sieve. Allow excess water to drain well prior to refrigerating in an airtight container.

Stove Top: Bring garbanzos to a boil and immediately turn down the heat to a low simmer. Cook for 30-45 minutes or until beans are tender, but not soft. You want to turn the heat off while are still “al dente” and allow them to cool prior to rinsing, draining, and storing in the fridge, as per above.

Add veggies of your choosing. I opted for the following:

1/2 cup finely chopped carrots

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1/4 cup finely chopped sweet yellow or red onion

1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper (You can substitute yellow, orange, or red.)

1/2 cup drained and sliced black olives (you can substitute Kalamata or green olives)

1 cup halved sweet grape or cherry tomatoes

1/4 tsp. dried red pepper flakes (optional)

1/4 tsp. ground cumin (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup fresh basil sliced in a chiffonade for garnish (You can substitute Italian flat-leaf parsley, if you prefer.)

(To “chiffonade” basil, roll up a ‘bundle’ of fresh basil leaves and slice thinly through the bundle crosswise making thin strips for garnish.)

Mix the above ingredients with the cooked and chilled garbanzos, add meat or fish and/or cheese, and dress. Sprinkle with chiffonade of fresh basil or flat-leaf Italian parsley to garnish.

For the dressing, you can make your own version of Italian dressing or opt for a fresh, citrusy lemon vinaigrette. You can even substitute a store-bought bottled salad dressing if you prefer - even try one of the low-fat varieties. Here are a couple of simple options for homemade dressings:

Lemon Vinaigrette(This is a wonderful option if you use tuna in your salad. Garnish with flat-leaf Italian parsley.)

1/4 cup olive oil

juice of 1/2 small lemon

1 large clove garlic, crushed

1/4-1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. fresh ground pepper

Mix well to emulsify, pour over salad, and mix gently to dress.

Easy Italian Herb Vinaigrette(This is the best option for a traditional antipasti salad. Garnish with fresh basil.)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbs. good-quality balsamic vinegar

1 large clove garlic, crushed

1/4 tsp. dried basil

1/4 tsp. dried oregano

1/4-1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

1/8 tsp. fresh ground pepper

Mix well to emulsify, pour over salad, and mix gently to dress.


Ciao, Marie


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