Loaded with lots of deliciously savory bells and whistles, my Italian chickpea salad is a chopped-style salad that makes for a fresh, hearty and filling option. Brimming with chickpeas, chopped romaine and radicchio, strips of dry Italian salami, cherry tomatoes, red onion, chunks of fresh mozzarella and roasted red pepper strips, all tossed in a shallot vinaigrette, this chickpea salad recipe makes the perfect healthy lunch or dinner!
Chickpea Salad Brimming with Loads of Italian Flavor
I've always felt that a salad makes for a terrific main course.
Sure, sometimes a very light salad with just some mixed greens and a touch of olive oil and vinegar is a nice accompaniment to something else, but I tend to favor the heartier salads filled to brim with texture and flavorful ingredients to satisfy my hungry belly.
One of my favorite salads is a chopped-style salad, one with chopped romaine and perhaps some other unique lettuces made bold with some other zesty ingredients, that I can even eat out of a bowl with a spoon. That's actually my hubby's favorite way to enjoy his salad!
So when craving a hearty-yet-healthy salad fit for this warmer time of year, this Italian chickpea salad is what sounded super enticing to me.
Inspired by a popular salad served at Nancy Silverton's LA eatery, Pizzeria Mozza, my Italian chickpea salad is filled with both chopped romaine and radicchio for color, hearty chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, red onion, Italian salami, fresh mozzarella and sweet strips of roasted red peppers, all tossed together in a shallot vinaigrette.
Perfectly savory with some zesty Italian flair, this chickpea salad is just the ticket when a refreshing lunch or dinner on the lighter side is what you crave, filled with those savory flavors we love!
My Recipe for Italian Chickpea Salad
When it comes to choosing my greens for a salad such as this, I like to use romaine hearts for the base, and sprinkle in a little color and a touch of bitterness to balance the other flavors.
For that bit of a bitter note, I use radicchio, which has a lovely deep magenta color, and is easily sliced or chopped and added into the mix.
With the two lettuces as my base, in go the other little tidbits...
These are the ingredients that offer not only lots of varying texture, such as the chickpeas, the cherry tomatoes and the creamy mozzarella cheese, but earthy, salty-savory flavor such as strips of dried Italian salami, sweet-spicy red onion and strips of roasted red peppers, plus a bright shallot vinaigrette.
Here's a glance at my Italian chickpea salad recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I prepare my easy shallot vinaigrette and keep that in a glass mason jar for easy shaking up.
- Next, I add my chickpea salad ingredients to a large bowl, drizzle in some of my vinaigrette, and toss together with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, until well coated.
- To serve, I spoon the Italian chickpea salad into bowls and enjoy... perhaps even with a spoon!
Italian Chickpea Salad
by Ingrid Beer
This Italian chickpea salad is brimming with chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, dry Italian salami, fresh mozzarella and a zesty shallot vinaigrette!
Yield: Serves 4 (entree size salads)
Nutrition Info: 525 calories per serving (with about 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette)
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 0 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Chickpea Salad Ingredients:
- 2 small romaine hearts or 1 large romaine, finely chopped (about 5 cups)
- 1 small head radicchio, finely shaved and chopped (roughly 2 heaping cups)
- 1 (15 ounce) can organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup red onion, sliced into thin, short strips
- ¼ cup sliced roasted red peppers (from a jar)
- 4 ounces dry Italian salami, sliced into short, thin strips (I use Columbus brand)
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed or diced small
- Torn basil leaves or chopped parsley, optional garnish
Shallot Vinaigrette Ingredients:
- 1 small shallot, finely minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- Black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- ¼ cup sherry vinegar
- ½ cup olive oil
- Begin by gathering and prepping your shallot vinaigrette ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- To a medium-size mason jar or other jar with a lid (you can even use a bowl and a whisk), add the shallots, a couple of generous pinched of salt and pepper, the Italian seasoning and the sherry vinegar. Shake to combine. Add in the olive oil, and shake once more very vigorously for a minute or two until emulsified and blended with the oil. Set aside.
- To prepare the salad, gather and prep all of your salad ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Add the chopped romaine and radicchio to a large bowl, along with the rest of the ingredients up to and including the fresh mozzarella. Keep covered and cold until ready to serve, then drizzle in some of the shallot vinaigrette, and toss well. Check to see if additional salt and pepper is needed.
- Divide the salad equally among bowls, sprinkle with fresh, torn basil leaves or parsley, if desired, and serve.
Tips & Tidbit for my Italian Chickpea Salad recipe:
- Types of greens for texture and color: Romaine hearts chopped up give this salad a nice crisp-crunch, and provide some heartiness. The radicchio offers some beautiful burgundy/magenta color, along with a touch of bitterness. If you're not partial, then you could substitute frisee, arugula or chopped kale here, if preferred.
- Savory add-ins for flavor: Dry Italian salami, either fresh or smoked mozzarella, and roasted red pepper strips really offer this chickpea salad a pop of flavor, but feel free to substitute ham, bacon, grilled chicken or shrimp for the salami, if desired, and your choice of cheese that you can cube up.
- Prep your shallot vinaigrette: To keep things quick and easy when prepping this vinaigrette, I typically just add all of my ingredients to a mason jar with a lid, and shake everything vigorously until well emulsified. You can also use a food processor for best blending. Store the vinaigrette in the fridge for up to two weeks, and leave at room temp for a little while before using to allow the oil to liquify if cold.