Spiced Lentil and Chickpea Salad

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Lentils and chickpeas are a match made in heaven, at least in my book. I was picturing this lentil and chickpea salad with a spicy dressing and pickled onions–a riff on a recipe I’d made last fall for Christopher’s birthday–and was inspired by the tahini dressing I found in [this version from Smitten Kitchen. I love this served beside a butter lettuce salad tossed with Go-To Vinaigrette and topped with crumbled goat cheese!


Spiced Lentil and Chickpea Salad

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Spiced Lentil and Chickpea Salad

This lentil and chickpea salad recipe easily expands to feed a crowd (trust me on this one). I call for toasting and grinding your own spices here, which is a pretty easy step if you have a spice grinder and whole spices in your cabinet, but feel free to use ground if you'd rather.


  1. 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  2. 1/4 cup hot water
  3. 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, divided
  4. 1 cup chopped red onion
  5. 1 cup dried French (green) lentils
  6. 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  7. 2 bay leaves
  8. 2 teaspoons coriander seeds (or 1-1/2 teaspoons ground)
  9. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (or 3/4 teaspoon ground)
  10. Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  11. 1 tablespoon tahini
  12. 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  13. 1 clove garlic, grated
  14. 1-2 teaspoons smoked chile powder
  15. Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  16. 2 cups cooked chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans)
  17. 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves (optional)
  18. 1 cup chopped parsley


In a medium mixing bowl, dissolve the brown sugar in the hot water. Stir in 1/2 cup of vinegar and add red onion. Let sit for at least 30 minutes, while lentils cook.

Place lentils in a medium saucepan with crushed garlic and bay leaves, and cover with 2 inches of cold water (or for an added boost of flavor, a combination of water and chicken or vegetable broth). Bring to a lively simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, until lentils are tender to the bite yet still hold their shape. Strain, remove bay leaves and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

While lentils are cooking, toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes, shaking frequently, until fragrant. Grind in a spice or coffee grinder and transfer to a blender. Add remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, grated garlic and chile powder to the blender and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain the onions and toss with chickpeas, rosemary and lentils. Drizzle with the dressing and toss well to coat. Toss again with parsley.


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  • Loretta

    Thanks for all the details of the shower. There is nothing better than church family coming together to make it happen! Loretta

    • liahuber

      You’re so welcome, Loretta. And amen to that :-). It was SUCH a wonderful day!