Chickpea Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette

I might be really naive person to believe in this, but I will say and repeat my belief many times: If we spend time to learn each other’s cultures, traditions, “why” and “how” they celebrate this day or that week and also make an effort to explain ours, this world would be a much better, peaceful place.

I am always up for learning new traditions and celebrating them because it gives a glimpse to the other cultures and their perspectives. We take one step further to know  a little bit more about our friends, neighbors, coworkers by celebrating what is important to them. When someone asks me something about the Turkish traditions, I am always delighted to explain and very appreciative of their effort to learn.

What brought this all up?

On Saturday, we were invited to a Diwali celebration dinner by our friends.When they told me that Diwali, the festival of lights, stands as one of the most important festivals in India and is the celebration of the triumph of good over evil, it just made the night much more special for me. We dipped the wicks in oil and lit them up in little clay dishes. They mentioned that in India, the whole house would be illuminated with candle lights inside out. I am sure it would have been a very great scene to see it there.

A vegetarian chickpea dish with a touch of cumin  seemed like an appropriate side dish/salad for this occasion. I have to say I was a bit intimidated to make something for this dinner party not only because everyone in the group are all great cooks but also especially Indian dishes are huge hits when my friends break out their spoons and pans and cook like crazy! We had a huge spread and no one went home hungry.

I also want to thank all of you who have left a note for me letting me know that you are sending your prayers and thoughts to the people who were affected by the latest earthquake in Turkey. Hope all those vibes made their way. Your hearts truly show that there is still so much good on this Earth to overcome the evil! Thank You!

Chickpea Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette

Adapted from Ayla Algar’s Classical Turkish Cooking. For printable recipe, please click here.

  • 2 cans of chickpeas
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup diced red onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed finely chopped Italian Parsley
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
  1. Bring water to a boil in a pot.
  2. Add drained chickpeas and keep them in the boiling water for 5 min.
  3. Drain chickpeas, discard any loose skin that came off from the chickpeas as a result of boiling. Put the chickpeas in a mixing bowl.
  4. Rub ½ teaspoon of salt onto diced onions.
  5. Add onions, mint and parsley to chickpeas. Stir.
  6. Heat a small frying pan on medium heat and toast the cumin seeds. With the back of a wooden spoon, try to crush some of them while toasting. Toast for five minutes.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, vinegar, garlic, cumin seeds, salt and chili powder.
  8. Pour over chickpea mix and give it a stir. Let it sit at room temperature for an hour before you serve.


  1. by Jen
    12:21 am
    Oct 27, 2011

    Yum, this sounds good! Jackson likes “garbanzo beans’ you know! And your photos look fantastic! You need to come help me learn to photograph food! I am embarrassed to say that I had no idea about the earthquakes. I don’t get to watch the new much anymore now that the boys demand Toy Story 24 hours a day. I did see the other day they pulled a very small bagby out of earthquake rubble and were hoping to recover the parents and grandparents. I did not get to hear where the quake was. I’m assuming now it was Turkey. Was your family affected at all? Glad you made it home safely and if you are still up for it, let’s take a gals’ day Sat to do some shopping!

  2. by Katherine Martinelli
    4:05 am
    Oct 27, 2011

    This looks so delicious!! I have bookmarked it and will make it soon. And I don’t think you’re naive – I love what you said about taking the time to understand each others cultures, it is so true. So lovely that you got to attend a diwali celebration! I was lucky enough to celebrate in India many years ago and it is just beautiful, little lights everywhere.

  3. by Tanvi
    5:42 pm
    Oct 27, 2011

    Loved this post Ilke.Glad to know that you appreciate & understand traditions of other cultures. I think we should pick up good regardless of its origin! Happy Diwali to you :)
    This looks amazing..We use the kind of vinaigrette with all kinds of beans, black chickpeas, lentils etc..its my breakfast atleast once a week..LOVE it!

  4. by Jeanette
    10:39 pm
    Oct 27, 2011

    I do like learning about other cultures and how they celebrate special dates. I think it makes us more aware of the world around us, so that when things like earthquakes happen in another country that we think and pray for those people who are affected even if they live on the other side of the world from us.

  5. by Parsley Sage
    9:59 am
    Oct 28, 2011

    Its awesome that you got to go to a Diwali celebration :) My best friend here is Indian and she’s missing her family so much. It was her first Diwali away from home and we did our best to keep her from getting homesick. Now I know what I’ll bring to the dinner next year :)

  6. by Liz
    7:13 pm
    Oct 28, 2011

    How fun that you got to be part of a Diwali celebration…and what a delicious dish you brought to share. I’d love to sample some right this minute…mmmmmmmm.

  7. by Lemon
    9:29 pm
    Oct 28, 2011

    This looks so good. I very much like that type of salad. Photos are beautiful.

  8. by Biana | Tasty and Simple Recipes
    2:55 pm
    Oct 31, 2011

    Love chickpeas, and this is such a simple and tasty salad recipe! I like beans and herbs together in salads, this is definitely something I want to make.

  9. by scattravels
    3:08 am
    Nov 9, 2015

    I very much like that type of salad.

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