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Chickpea and Caper Salad with Charred Red Peppers

(Garbanzos Alinados con Alcaparras)

Written By: Byron | May 8, 2024
A dish of chickpea and caper salad

Chickpea and caper salad with charred red peppers is a delicious Spanish salad recipe that you can make with a few canned or jarred ingredients, herbs, and a tasty Mediterranean salad dressing

This salad is refreshing and very filling, and loaded with plenty of vegan-friendly flavors that are staples in the Mediterranean diet. Best of all, it uses canned chickpeas, capers, and roasted piquillo peppers straight from the jar and comes together with minimum fuss in around 10 minutes with no cooking required! We recommend chilling it for at least an hour, especially if it’s hot as it makes a great refreshing summer recipe.

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Serving:

Side for 6

Ready in:

10 minutes

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Favorite main

A dish of chickpea and caper salad

Origin of Chickpea and Caper Salad

Chickpea and caper salad (called garbanzos alinados con alcaparras in Spanish) is not a new recipe, and renditions of chickpea salads have been well-documented in Spanish cookbooks, confirming the simple fact that chickpeas are a pantry staple in Spanish cooking

One notable inclusion of chickpea salad with capers is that of Penelope Casas in her fantastic cookbook 1000 Spanish Recipes (see page 168 for her recipe). 

Capers in Mediterranean Salads

Capers are commonly used in Mediterranean cooking, and widely used in Spanish cuisine, adding a tangy and salty flavor to dishes. We like to use a mix of small and large capers for extra intrigue but if you can’t get a hold of the larger variety, the small alone pack a mighty punch and will flavor your salad perfectly.

Watch step-by-step recipe video

If you’re looking for this recipe’s video and many other great recipe ideas, why not check out our Spanish Radish YouTube Channel? We’ve got everything from quick and easy tapas recipes to delicious main meals, to incredible Spanish dessert options too.

How to Make Chickpea and Caper Salad

Ingredients

Salad Ingredients

  • 4 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed (approx 800 grams/28 oz.)
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 4.4oz. / 125g of Piquillo roasted peppers in a jar, drained
  • ½ cup capers
  • 2 tablespoons pitted black olives, cut into rounds
  • Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped

Dressing Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

Equipment

  • 1 large bowl
  • 1 small bowl (for the dressing)
  • Whisk or fork
  • Sharp kitchen knife and cutting board
A large bowl of chickpeas sits beside piquillo peppers, capers, red onion, and other veg.

Method

  1. Rinse chickpeas in fresh water and drain any excess water.
  2. Add the chickpeas to a large salad bowl.
  3. Add the diced onion, parsley, olives, and capers. 
  4. Cut the peppers into small strips and add them to the bowl, plus the chopped parsley.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic with a generous seasoning of salt and cracked black pepper. 
  6. Pour dressing over the chickpea salad and combine.

For best results: Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to meld.

Cooking Tips: 

If you want to roast your own peppers:

  • Preheat the grill to high. Cut the peppers in half and place them cut-side down on a nonstick baking sheet. 
  • Avoid using parchment paper as it may catch fire under the grill. 
  • Grill the peppers for 15-20 minutes until they blister and soften. 
  • While peppers are still hot, transfer them into a plastic bag and leave them to sweat for 5 minutes. 
  • Once peppers are cool to the touch, remove them from the bag and gently rub and the skin should fall off.
A dish of chickpea and caper salad

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • No cooking required 
  • Easy-to-find canned ingredients
  • Refreshing and filling
  • Healthy and nutritious
  • Cheap to make
  • Mediterranean flavors
  • Ideal for meal prep, bulk batch cooking

Ingredients and substitutions

Simplicity is key with this recipe as it uses very few ingredients. The great news is a majority of the ingredients used are from a can or jar, making this a great emergency pantry salad! 

Best Chickpeas to Use

We tend to use canned chickpeas for this recipe. They are cheap, easy to find in any grocery store, and convenient as no additional cooking is required. Simply open the can, rinse, and add to your salad bowl with the other ingredients. 

Chickpeas are not only tasty and add a fantastic earthy flavor to salads, but they are also filling and oh-so-good for you! Chickpeas are nutritious and pair incredibly well with the tangy flavors of the capers. It’s whole foods like chickpeas that are part of the reason the Mediterranean diet can help with weight loss

Can I Use Dried Chickpeas? 

Absolutely. Dried chickpeas are a fantastic pantry staple and you can prepare as much as you need without having to use a whole can. Dried chickpeas do require some preparation before they can be used, so plan ahead and start preparing your chickpeas the night before you need to use them. 

Here’s how to prepare dried chickpeas:

  • First, soak the dried chickpeas in some clean fresh water overnight. The chickpeas will expand around twice their size so add at least double the amount of water to chickpeas in a large bowl. 
  • Next, drain them from the water and add them to a pot with some fresh water and bring to a simmer. 
  • Cook them for around 2 hours for them to soften up. Alternatively, use a slow cooker or pressure cooker to prepare your chickpeas.

Types of Capers to Use in Salads

Capers are a fantastic addition to salads and add a briny, salty tang that is similar to green olives. Capers are usually found in jars or cans and are stored in a salty, savory brine. We love them in salads as they add a little color and texture. 

We like to use a combination of capers for this recipe. Today we used 2 tablespoons of normal capers (the ones you find in the jar at any supermarket), plus a few tablespoons of the larger capers. If you love capers, then check out our Mediterranean tomato salad with cheese and pesto

Alcaparras are pretty popular in Mediterranean countries but are pretty much unheard of anywhere else. They look and taste like capers, but are a bit more fleshy and have a delicious crunch to them, plus have a beautiful decorative quality. If you can’t source them, just use normal capers. 

Charred Red Peppers

We use half a jar of piquillo peppers for this recipe. They are roasted and have a deliciously soft flesh. They are a vibrant red and add some color to any salad and a delicate sweet flavor. As they are straight from the jar, they save a lot of time. 

Olives

Go for pitted black olives straight from the jar or tin. We used black Cacereña table olives for this recipe. They are a native from the Extremadura region of Spain and are very affordable in Spanish supermarkets. They have a soft waxy skin and delicious salty flavor and come in savory brine. If you cannot find Cacereña olives, you can use any black olive that is pitted (seed removed).

Buying pitted olives is important as they save plenty of time when cutting the olives.

A dish of chickpea and caper salad

Quick and Easy Salad Dressing

The salad dressing we have made for this recipe is a classic combination in Mediterranean cuisine, and it’s so simple with just 4 ingredients: Olive oil, lemon, garlic, and seasoning

If you have a bowl and a fork or whisk you can easily make this dressing in around 1 minute. Just add the ingredients together, whisk, season, and that’s it! Your dressing is ready to be drizzled over your favorite salad.  

Best Olive Oil for Salads

Olive oil is another staple in Mediterranean cooking, and we like to use good-quality olive oil in many of our recipes. When it comes to salads, we always try to use extra virgin olive oil. It gives a rich flavor to the salad, adds depth, and is the best for your health. 

If extra virgin olive is not an option (prices have skyrocketed recently and it could be more expensive where you are), your next best bet is to use the best olive oil you can find. Olive oil has numerous health benefits and many have a much richer flavor compared to other oils, meaning you can use less of it to get your salads and dressings to taste amazing.

Nutrition Facts

Servings: 6

Amount per serving

 

Calories

234

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 8.9g

11%

Saturated Fat 1.2g

6%

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Sodium 663mg

29%

Total Carbohydrate 33.5g

12%

Dietary Fiber 7.1g

25%

Total Sugars 1.5g

 

Protein 7.1g

 

Vitamin D 0mcg

0%

Calcium 69mg

5%

Iron 3mg

16%

Potassium 311mg

7%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

A dish of chickpea and caper salad
A dish of chickpea and caper salad

Chickpea and Caper Salad with Charred Red Peppers (Garbanzos Alinados con Alcaparras)

Byron
Chickpea and caper salad with charred red peppers is a delicious Spanish salad recipe that you can make with a few canned or jarred ingredients, herbs, and a tasty Mediterranean salad dressing.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mediterranean, Spain, spanish
Servings 6 side
Calories 234 kcal

Ingredients

Salad Ingredients

  • 4 cups canned chickpeas drained and rinsed (approx 800 grams/28 oz.)
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • 4.4 oz. / 125g of Piquillo roasted peppers in a jar drained
  • ½ cup capers
  • 2 tablespoons pitted black olives cut into rounds
  • Handful of fresh parsley finely chopped

Dressing Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Rinse 4 cups canned chickpeas in fresh water and drain any excess water.
    4 cups canned chickpeas
  • Add the chickpeas to a large salad bowl.
  • Add the 1 red onion, Handful of fresh parsley, 2 tablespoons pitted black olives, and ½ cup capers.
    1 red onion, ½ cup capers, Handful of fresh parsley, 2 tablespoons pitted black olives
  • Cut the 4.4 oz. / 125g of Piquillo roasted peppers in a jar into small strips and add them to the bowl, plus the chopped parsley.
    4.4 oz. / 125g of Piquillo roasted peppers in a jar
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the ¼ cup olive oil, 1 lemon, and 1 garlic clove with a generous seasoning of Salt and pepper.
    ¼ cup olive oil, 1 lemon, 1 garlic clove, Salt and pepper
  • Pour dressing over the chickpea salad and combine.
  • For best results: Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to allow flavors to meld.

Video

Notes

Cooking tips:

If you want to roast your own peppers:
  • Preheat the grill to high. Cut the peppers in half and place them cut-side down on a nonstick baking sheet. 
  • Avoid using parchment paper as it may catch fire under the grill. 
  • Grill the peppers for 15-20 minutes until they blister and soften. 
  • While peppers are still hot, transfer them into a plastic bag and leave them to sweat for 5 minutes. 
  • Once peppers are cool to the touch, remove them from the bag and gently rub and the skin should fall off.

Nutrition

Serving: 150gCalories: 234kcalCarbohydrates: 33.5gProtein: 7.1gFat: 8.9gSaturated Fat: 1.2gSodium: 663mgPotassium: 311mgFiber: 7.1gSugar: 1.5gCalcium: 69mgIron: 3mg
Keyword 10-minute recipe, Capers, Chickpea caper salad, Chickpea salad, dressing, Mediterranean salad, salad, salad dressing

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