Vegan Chickpea and Orzo Salad

Vegan chickpea and orzo salad is bursting with crunchy veggies and a tangy lemon dressing. It’s perfect for making ahead and eating throughout the week, after your Sunday farmer’s market trip.

A white bowl filled with vegan chickpea and orzo salad with lemon zest garnish.

Adapted from Kate Friedman | 5-Ingredient Vegan Cooking | Page Street Publishing, 2021

I chose fresh basil for this recipe, but don’t be afraid to experiment if your local farmers’ market has other herbs you like. In fact, this salad is a great way to utilize your haul from a Saturday morning veggie-stand binge. The inclusion of both orzo pasta and chickpeas gives this salad robustness, while the red onion and English cucumber give it eye-appealing color. A zesty lemon juice dressing adds the final touch.–Kate Friedman

Vegan Chickpea and Orzo Salad

A white bowl filled with vegan chickpea and orzo salad with lemon zest garnish.
This hearty vegan chickpea and orzo salad is the perfect warm weather treat! It’s best served cold with fresh herbs. If you’re food prepping this salad, make the chickpeas and orzo pasta in advance. They’ll have time to cool before you put it all together.
Kate Friedman

Prep 25 mins
Cook 25 mins
Total 50 mins
Salad
American
6 servings
298 kcal
5 / 2 votes
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Ingredients 

  • 1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • Salt
  • 1 cup dry orzo pasta
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice plus more for serving
  • 1/2 medium (4 oz) red onion finely chopped
  • 1 medium (12 oz) English cucumber* diced
  • Handful cherry tomatoes halved (optional)
  • Handful pitted Kalamata olives (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil washed and torn
  • Fresh parsley and/or fresh dill (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon zest preferably organic

Directions
 

  • In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the chickpeas with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the chickpeas are tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and rinse the chickpeas with cold water and refrigerate until ready for use.

    TESTER TIP: Boiling the chickpeas does make them more tender and it will cause the skins to loosen. For a prettier presentation, remove and discard the skins after draining the chickpeas.

  • Bring a large saucepan of salted water to boil. Add the orzo and cook according to the package directions. Drain and pour into a medium bowl. Chill in the refrigerator until ready for use.
  • In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and lemon juice.
  • In a large bowl, combine the chilled orzo, chickpeas, red onion, cucumber, tomatoes, if using, and olives, if using. Drizzle over the dressing and toss to combine.
  • Top with basil and any other fresh herbs, if desired. Season to taste with salt, pepper, additional lemon juice, and lemon zest.
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Notes

*What's the difference between an English cucumber and a slicing cucumber?

This recipe calls for an English cucumber. An English cucumber is a longer, slimmer version of the popular slicing cucumber. It’s typically wrapped in plastic which eliminates the need for wax on the skin. The seeds are underdeveloped, making them less bitter than their counterparts. If you can’t find an English cucumber, you can substitute a slicing cucumber. But if you do, we recommend removing the skin and scooping out the seeds before dicing.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 298kcal (15%)Carbohydrates: 41g (14%)Protein: 10g (20%)Fat: 11g (17%)Saturated Fat: 2g (13%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gSodium: 8mgPotassium: 365mg (10%)Fiber: 6g (25%)Sugar: 6g (7%)Vitamin A: 131IU (3%)Vitamin C: 5mg (6%)Calcium: 53mg (5%)Iron: 3mg (17%)

Recipe Testers' Reviews

She who must be obeyed was quite taken with it, and gave it a 10! This vegan chickpea and orzo salad was a relatively fast, easy, and very enjoyable salad to make. The red onion provides a nice little bite to contrast against the cool of the cucumber and the creaminess of the chickpeas.

It tasted great right off the stovetop, however, I gave it a chill for about an hour in the fridge. I served it with some grilled spiced shrimp on top.

A white bowl filled with vegan chickpea and orzo salad with lemon zest garnish.

This vegan chickpea and orzo salad is the perfect summer potluck dish. Vegans and omnivores of all ages will enjoy this fresh salad. I served this salad to accompany roasted asparagus for a light lunch. This salad would pair well with a chilled rosé or a non-alcoholic beverage such as an Arnold Palmer.

The quick preparation and easy-to-obtain ingredient list make this recipe a winner for potlucks, and it is a great base recipe for adding a protein like canned tuna or with additional ingredients such as tomatoes or black olives.


Originally published June 24, 2021

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    What a flexible, delicious, healthy recipe. I pulled it all together and let it sit on the counter for a few hours to deepen the flavors. I subbed in ditalini because I couldn’t find my box of orzo.

    Taking the time to skin the chickpeas is essential. You could also sub in another white bean that doesn’t have a skin. (I do that with my hummus). I halved the extra virgin olive oil and found it to be plenty. Fresh basil from the garden finished it off perfectly. Thanks for sharing this recipe with us.

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