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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

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.

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.