This salad has a special history for me. It started out one summer day, in Suzuki-grandma’s kitchen in a quiet suburb of Tokyo, when a picky 18-year-old who never ate salad suddenly ate the yummiest salad she had ever had in her whole life.
As you can probably guess, that picky 18-year-old was me. I was an exchange student that year and decided I would not refuse any food that was offered to me. Before this, I really didn’t like any kind of raw vegetables and even most of the cooked ones I would only eat with sauce!
Vegan Chickpea Salad
Suzuki-grandma, who’s kitchen was adorned with a photo of Audrey Hepburn (“I would like to be like her,” she said) told me that the salad dressing was just three ingredients. Salad oil, vinegar, and sugar. The rest of the salad was just regular green lettuce, cubed apples, thinly-sliced red onions and carrots, and some diced ham.
A few years later I made the salad for a college friend who said she didn’t eat salad. “Don’t like it.” Well, after dinner there was still some salad left, and she picked up a piece and tried it. “Oh! This is actually pretty good,” she said. Then she ended up eating all the rest of what was in the bowl!
So, with lots of gratitude to Suzuki-grandma, I would like to share my *hamless* version. I hope you (and your friends who say they don’t like salad!) will love it as much as our family has over the years.
Other Chickpea Recipes & Chickpea Salad Ideas
Easiest Vegan Chickpea Salad
- 1 15oz can chickpeas
- 3-4 cups green leaf lettuce
- 1 apple
- ⅓ cup carrots
- 2 Tbsp red onion
For The Dressing
- 1½ Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp light olive oil
- 1 tsp organic sugar
- ⅛ tsp fresh black pepper
- Wash & chop the lettuce. Slice the carrots and red onion thinly (julienne). Drain the chickpeas. Cut the apple into ½" cubes.
- For the dressing: Add the dressing ingredients to a small jar and shake vigorously. Or, add them to a bowl and wisk. Shake or whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Add some freshly ground black pepper.
- Combine the salad and dressing in a large bowl and toss to combine well. Can be eaten immediately. Best is if you cover and chill it for about an hour before serving.
- I used light extra virgin olive oil from Cobram Estate, read more about them below!
- You can use vegetable oil, canola oil, or salad oil instead of light olive oil. Suzuki grandma most likely used Japanese “salad oil” which I think is the same thing as vegetable oil here in the states.
- For lettuce, any of these types works great:
- Iceberg lettuce
- Romaine lettuce
- Boston lettuce
- Butter lettuce
- Possibly even baby spinach or mixed greens but I haven’t tried it. If you try it let me know how it was!
Last thing – I just want to give an olive oil recommendation! I received a free sample of some American-made olive oil from a company called Cobram Estate. The light extra virgin olive oil worked perfectly in this salad! If you want to try a good domestic olive oil, check out Cobram.