Portuguese Salt Cod and Chickpea Salad on a white plate with a silver serving spoon resting on the edge of theplate.

Portuguese Salt Cod and Chickpea Salad

4.88 / 8 votes
This Portuguese salt cod and chickpea salad, known as salada de bacalhau e grao, is full of chickpeas, flakes of salt cod, onion, and egg.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories418 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 30 minutes


  • 1/2 pound dry chickpeas, soaked at least 15 hours in 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 quarts water, or as needed
  • 1/2 pound dry salt cod, soaked for 16 for 24 hours
  • 1 small sweet onion, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, or to taste
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped or cut in wedges for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika


  • Drain the chickpeas and rinse. Place in a 3-quart saucepan with enough water to cover by 2 inches, about 4 cups. Cover and bring to a boll over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until very tender, but not mushy, about 1 1/2 hours. Drain and set aside.
  • Remove the fish from the soaking water and rinse. In a medium pot, bring the remaining 4 cups of water to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the cod. Cover for 15 to 20 minutes, then drain. Set aside until it is cool enough to handle.
  • Hand-shred the cod, discarding any skin or bones, and place in a serving bowl together with the chickpeas, onion, and garlic.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the oil with the vinegar. Stir in the parsley and salt, if needed. Pour the dressing over the chickpeas and toss gently.
  • Garnish with the chopped eggs and a sprinkling of paprika. This dish can be served hot, cold, or at room temperature; it can also double as a light meal or side dish.
Portuguese Home Cooking Cookbook.

Adapted From

Portuguese Home Cooking

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 418 kcalCarbohydrates: 22 gProtein: 45 gFat: 16 gSaturated Fat: 3 gMonounsaturated Fat: 9 gCholesterol: 179 mgSodium: 4631 mgFiber: 5 gSugar: 7 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2001 Ana Patuleia Ortins. Photo © 2020 Todd Coleman. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This is very much the traditional salt cod and chickpea salad from Portugal, which is very delicious for summer days. For those not too fond of salt cod, don’t worry as the taste isn’t strong since the cod is shredded. Also, instead of water, you can leave the cod in milk as it helps soften the strong taste of the salt cod. This recipe can easily be changed to your personal taste. You can add more or less onion, add black olives as a garnish, even use balsamic or wine vinegar in place of cider vinegar.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Cilantro is uh-uh at all. We, Portuguese, in Azores/Portugal don’t use it at all. The parsley is the best and more tradition. By the way, Cilantro is yucky (its for Mexican recipe and not this recipe at all and we never use dit in the past and never today in our tradition. By the way, we grew up with it…all my life and never bored about it. Parsley is yummy with it.

    1. azoreseuropa, my family is from the Azores, too, and they NEVER, EVER ate cilantro. I never had it until I was an adult. But when I spent a year living and cooking in Portugal for my cookbook, I was shocked at how much the mainlanders love cilantro. In fact, açorda Alentejana is made of only bread, water, cilantro, garlic, and eggs. You can also see it here in this video.

    2. That’s not accurate, as my Portuguese boyfriend (who lives in the Algarve) only ever serves this dish with coriander. In fact, for many dishes, he uses coriander and not parsley. They’re equally used in mainland Portugal.

    3. My son-in-law’s family would be surprised to learn that they don’t like coentro! The first thing I ate in their home near Porto was amêijoas à Bulhão Pato, which would not be the same without it.