This garbanzo bean salad is protein-packed and bursting with fresh flavors, perfect for a light lunch or side dish! Simple ingredients and a quick prep time make it an easy and healthy meal prep option.

When you’ve been writing recipes and cookbooks as long us we have (over a decade), it can feel like everything has been done before. So when it comes to simple ideas like garbanzo bean salad, we know it’s not revolutionary. But this one is so quick and tasty, we had to share it with you! It’s perfect for lunches or as a side dish, packed with protein and filled with zingy, herby and fresh flavors. We know we never tire of easy lunch ideas, so bring it on!

What you need for garbanzo bean salad

A can of garbanzo beans can magically become a meal with a few fresh ingredients, since they’re packed with protein for staying power. We often eat garbanzo beans for lunch, and this salad is a riff on one Alex makes often. You’ll need just a few fresh ingredients to pull it together, and you can swap things in and out easily. Here’s an outline of what you’ll need (jump to the recipe below for quantities):

  1. Garbanzo beans: Drain and rinse the beans before adding.
  2. Bell pepper: We used two colors of bell peppers for visual appeal, but you can use just one if you prefer. Here’s a handy guide for how to cut a bell pepper quickly.
  3. Shallot: Shallot is integral to the flavor here; we prefer the mild onion flavor to a red onion.
  4. Italian parsley: Fresh parsley brings an herby punch; look for Italian parsley, though curly also works.
  5. Parmesan or Pecorino cheese: Grated sharp cheese adds a nuance to the flavor.
  6. White wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, dried tarragon, and salt: Mix these together to make a quick and simple dressing.

Variations and additions

This garbanzo bean salad is more of a template, really: you can swap in any of your favorite herbs, seasonings, and whatever vegetables you have in your refrigerator. Use it as a way to get creative (and make the TV show Chopped come to life in your own kitchen). Try not to add too many vegetables or you’ll have to increase the amount of dressing. Here are a few additional options:

  • Carrot: Peeled and thinly sliced carrots can stand in for bell pepper or be an addition.
  • Cucumber: Cucumber adds a nice crunch. Add a bit of English cucumber or peeled and seeded standard cucumber.
  • Cherry tomatoes: A handful of sliced or quartered cherry tomatoes adds a nice addition.
  • Garlic: We add minced garlic to just about everything, and it’s great here.
  • Torn or chopped herbs: If they’re on hand, add fresh chives, basil, dill, oregano, or thyme.
  • Celery seed: A pinch of celery seed adds a bit of complexity.
  • Italian seasoning or Greek seasoning: Add just a pinch of these spices add a little boost.

Garbanzo bean salad storage

You can make garbanzo bean salad in advance if you’re using it for meal prep for lunches or dinners. It lasts refrigerated for up to 3 days. Keep in mind it’s best eaten at room temperature, so allow it to stand for a few minutes before serving. It also does dull in flavor over time, so refresh it with a pinch of salt and if desired, a drizzle of olive oil.

Make it a meal

This garbanzo bean salad is perfect as a light lunch, served with a few sides. Here are a few great ways to serve this salad or make it a more filling meal:

  • Bread or crackers: Add a bit of crusty artisan bread (like this no knead loaf) or hearty crackers to serve as a lunch.
  • Add rice or quinoa. Cook a pot of white rice or quinoa in about 20 minutes.
  • Whip up couscous or orzo. For an even quicker side, couscous and orzo cook up in 10 minutes.
  • Make it into a bowl meal, and dollop with hummus or drizzle with sauce! A creamy sauce is nice if you have some hummus in the fridge, or our best tahini sauce is pretty fast.

And that’s it! Let us know if you try this garbanzo bean salad and what you think in the comments below.


Garbanzo Bean Salad Recipe

This garbanzo bean salad is protein-packed and bursting with fresh flavors, perfect for a light lunch or side dish! Simple ingredients and a quick prep time make it an easy and healthy meal prep option.
Servings 4 Yield: servings 1x
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 1 can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 orange bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 1/4 red bell pepper diced (optional)
  • 1 shallot thinly sliced
  • ½ cup fresh Italian parsley chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese optional
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon dried tarragon
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt


  • Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans.
  • Chop all vegetables as noted in the ingredients list above.
  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl. If omitting cheese, add a few extra pinches of salt. Store for up to 3 days refrigerated; tastes best at room temperature and if desired, add a pinch of salt or drizzle of olive oil to taste before serving.
Author: Kit Food
Course: Recipes, Side Dishes & Salad Recipes

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