Skip to content

This Marinated Chickpea Salad With Lemon & Hot Chilies Is Even Better When Made Ahead 

Amy Thielen
August 25, 2023
Amy Thielen
Food Writer & Recipe Developer
By Amy Thielen
Food Writer & Recipe Developer
Amy Thielen is a chef, two-time James Beard award-winning writer, and author of three books.
Marinated Chickpea Salad
Image by Kristen Teig
August 25, 2023
We carefully vet all products and services featured on mindbodygreen using our commerce guidelines. Our selections are never influenced by the commissions earned from our links.

I saw this chickpea and Swiss chard salad recipe years ago in a cookbook from the River Cafe in London and knew from the ingredient list alone that it would ring all my bells. I've since tampered with it plenty, making it spicier, trying it with fresh shell beans, adding smoked paprika, but the simple genius of the method remains.

The white wine, tomato paste, and all of that olive oil reduce down to a softly acidic syrup that wraps the tender chickpeas in a tight but slippery sauce. Less well-protected beans sitting in a bath of watery vinaigrette will eventually soften and start to dissolve, but these hold their shape.

Make the salad up to two hours ahead and let it hang out on the stovetop or up to a full day ahead (in that case, refrigerate it). Before serving, spoon the vinaigrette from the bottom up to the top to refresh. This salad is one of my most beloved leftovers.


  • 1½ pounds (3½ cups) dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in water to cover generously
  • 1 whole head garlic, plus 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 dried hot chilies
  • 1 teaspoon plus ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda (optional)
  • ¾ cup extra-​virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium sweet onions, cut into large dice (3 cups)
  • 5 carrots, cut into large dice (2½ cups)
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper flakes
  • 1½ tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1½ teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1½ teaspoons honey
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 small bunches Swiss chard, washed, trimmed, and plucked into large bite-sized pieces


  1. Drain the soaked chickpeas and put in a pot with water to cover by 3 inches.
  2. Rub the excess paper from the head of garlic, trim its root end to remove any dirt, and lop off the top ½ inch to expose the cloves. Add the garlic to the pot, along with the bay leaves, chilies, and 1 teaspoon of the salt; bring the water to a boil; and boil for a few minutes, skimming off the rising foam. Reduce the heat to hold a consistent simmer, partially cover the pot, and cook until the chickpeas are tender to the bite but still holding tight in their skins, 1½ to 2 hours. If they're not beginning to soften after 1½ hours, add the baking soda. When the chickpeas are tender, remove them from the heat. They can sit in their cooking liquid for up to 2 hours at the back of the stovetop.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large high-​sided sauté pan over medium-​high heat and add ½ cup of the olive oil and the onions. Cook until the onions turn light golden brown at the edges, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots and the remaining ¾ teaspoon salt, raise the heat, and cook until the corners of the carrots bronze and take on a rounded-​shoulder look, about 8 minutes; they should be crisp-​tender and slightly resistant to the bite at the center. (This dish will be served warm, or more likely at room temperature, and no one wants to confront mushy leftover-​from-​dinner carrots in a lemony vinaigrette; what you want are cooked, sprightly "salad carrots.")
  4. By this time you should have a coppery, oily base at the bottom of the pan. Add the hot pepper flakes and sliced garlic, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for about 1 minute, stirring, until the garlic is tender. Add the tomato paste, both paprikas, and the rosemary; raise the heat to medium-​high; and stir until the tomato paste begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Add the white wine to deglaze, and bring everything to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release its flavor cache. Add the lemon juice, honey, and the remaining ¼ cup olive oil and simmer for a few minutes to thicken the liquid, then taste for seasoning. The sauce should hang in the balance between sweet and sour, offset by the round fattiness of the olive oil. Add salt as needed.
  6. Drain the chickpeas in a colander (discard the aromatics) and shake to rid them of excess moisture. Add them to the sauté pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the vinaigrette clings saucily to the chickpeas and they taste infused with the sauce, about 15 minutes. If the sauce is too tight, add a bit of water; if it's too loose, reduce it further. (This is where if you've got something more pressing to do, you can step away and leave the chickpeas to marinate.) 
  7. When you're ready to plate the salad, return the pan to medium heat, add the Swiss chard, and fold it in. Cook very briefly, just long enough for the chard to buckle and start to wilt.
  8. Immediately spoon the chickpea mixture onto a wide platter, scraping all of the flavorful sauce over the top. It should seep around the salad in a shiny, rusty pool. This salad is as delicious warm as it is at room temperature. You can plate it up to an hour ahead; to refresh, spoon the pooling juices over the chickpeas.

Excerpted from COMPANY: The Radically Casual Art of Cooking for Others by Amy Thielen. Copyright © 2023 by Amy Thielen. Used with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

Amy Thielen author page.
Amy Thielen
Food Writer & Recipe Developer

Amy Thielen is a two-time James Beard award-winning writer and chef. She’s the author of three books: The New Midwestern Table, Give a Girl a Knife (a memoir), and her latest cookbook, Company: The Radical Art of Cooking for Others.

Born and raised in northern Minnesota, she graduated from Macalester College with a degree in English and then spent two years living in an off-grid cabin near her hometown, gardening and short-order cooking at a diner on Main Street (naturally.) In 1999, she moved to New York City to go to culinary school and cook professionally. After completing what can only be described as a culinary tour of duty through Manhattan’s top fine dining kitchens, she moved back home to Minnesota in 2009 and began writing. Her cooking show, Heartland Table, co-produced by Random House Television and Lidia Bastianich’s Tavola Productions, premiered on Food Network in 2013 and ran for two seasons.