Day 104: Chipotle Chickpea Salad ♥

Chipotle Chickpea Salad, beans mixed with summer-fresh vegetables and a smidgin of heat. Recipe, tips, nutrition, Weight Watchers points and rave reviews @
graphic button small size size 10 One of my favorite salads from of A Veggie Venture, canned beans mixed with summer-fresh vegetables and a smidgin of heat from a pantry ingredient, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Lots of rave reviews! graphic button small size size 10

WAY BACK ON DAY 104, 2005: Who else has been tripping over recipes raving about chipotle peppers in adobo sauce? Me too. This particular recipe was published more than three years ago but chipotle peppers seem to be trendy right now. Last week I found a small can in my everyday supermarket and snatched it up. I should have bought more! This make-ahead salad feels both familiar and surprising. The dense creaminess of the chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) contrasts with the bright coolness of the tomatoes and cucumber which in turn are deepened by the dark, smoky chipotle pepper. What IS that undertone? you'll wonder. Very yummy – and very open to variation, what's on hand, what inspires. Consider sun-dried tomato, mango, pineapple or avocado.

Update July 2006: This is a great summer salad and a true "concept recipe", one begging for variation and creativity. The key sauce ingredients are mayonnaise, lime and chipotle. The key salad ingredients are some sort of bean, onion and cilantro. Some times I use black beans instead of chickpeas. I also bulk it up with corn for color contrast and bell peppers for crunch. Even with more bulk, 1 tablespoon of chipotle, with NO adobo sauce, creates plenty of heat. This salad gets rave reviews from adults and kids alike.

AND AGAIN IN 2010 & 2015: Turns out, this is one of my very favorite summer salads on all of A Veggie Venture, one which returns to the table again and again because it's so easy to adapt, it's 100% "real food" and, well, people really love it! I have refined my own favorite variations of the salad but it is, truly, a concept salad for you to make your own. I think you'll love this!

NOTE: Be sure to read all the comments for many personal adaptations!
"This was great! ... Thanks for the yummy and flexible recipe!" ~ Zoe
"Yum!" ~ Melissa
"I LOVED it! ... I took it to a potluck and it was a hit." ~ Debbi
"I come back to [this recipe] again and again!" ~ Anonymous
"My vegetarian self and my meat & potatoes-centric husband both enjoyed this so much..." ~ Anonymous
"I found this recipe back in 2007 ... I still am making versions of this delicious salad today." ~ Anonymous


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 20 minutes
Makes 5 cups

1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise (my favorite is Hellman's Light)
Zest and juice from a lime (about 2 tablespoons juice)
1/2 teaspoon cumin (key ingredient, no skipping or skimping!)
1 or more chipotle chiles (from a can of 'chipotle peppers in adobo sauce', see TIPS)

2 15-ounce cans of beans, rinsed well and drained (my favorite combination is one can of chickpeas and one can black beans)
1 or more good summer tomatoes, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped (use any color for crunch, use a green pepper for color contrast)
1/3 cup chopped red onion (some times I skip this)
1 cup chopped cilantro (don't skip cilantro or another fresh herb)

Raw sweet corn, scraped off the cob, the 'milk' scraped off the cob into the dressing
Chopped cucumber

2 - 3 tablespoons adobo sauce (from the chipotle can) to taste or entirely optional (see TIPS)
Salt & pepper to taste

DRESSING [For efficiency, rinse and drain the beans before starting the Dressing.] Mix the mayonnaise, zest, lime juice and cumin in a large bowl. Scrape the seeds from the chipotle chilies and discard (the real heat resides in chili membrane and then seeds, not chili flesh). Mash the chilies with the back of a spoon, add to bowl.

BEAN & VEGETABLE MIXTURE Add these ingredients and any optional additions, stir together.

TO FINSH Taste and add adobo sauce if using and salt and pepper to taste.

CHIPOTLE CHILES (2005) What are chipotle chiles? They are such a favorite pantry ingredient for me, here's a description of chipotle chiles in adobo sauce. They're hot! For this salad, I usually use just one chile, mashed well with the back of a spoon and mixed into the dressing. That provides the 'right' amount of heat for my taste. If you'd like more heat, spoon in a little of the adobo sauce, a small smidgin at a time.
MASHING CHIPOTLE IN ADOBO SAUCE (2015) For a couple of years now, whenever I open a new can of chipotles in adobo sauce, I give the whole canful a quick whiz in a mini food processor, then store it in a glass container in the fridge. It keeps for months! And it's already mixed, just the right amount of heat and flavor, right there for the taking.
ADAPTATIONS (2010) To show how flexible this salad is, let me share a 2005 e-mail from an adventurous cook: "Couldn’t find the chipotle with adobo sauce. However, I DID use your recipe as an outline for a really wonderful salad. Instead of the adobo, I used chipotle salsa. Also added a can of black beans (rinsed); added about half a chopped cucumber and a small red bell pepper. Also used a little can of mild chopped peppers from the Mexican food section. And I did use the Caesar ranch dressing. It was probably the best salad I have ever made!" And then later: "Finished the leftovers today. But made additions. All good. Cut leftover steamed broccoli from Friday night into bite sized chunks. Added another tomato that demanded it be used TODAY. Wonderful!"

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This recipe is so quick and easy that I'm adding it to a growing collection of easy summer recipes published all summer long at Kitchen Parade, my food column. With a free Kitchen Parade e-mail subscription, you'll never miss a one!

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2005, 2006, 2010 (repub), 2013 & 2015 (repub)
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. This was great! Made with 1 can chickpeas, 1 can black beans, 1/2 small red onion, 1 small red bell pepper, a bunch of cilantro, 1/4 cup light mayo, about 1/8 cup light sour cream, about 1/8 cup lime juice, about 1 tbsp pureed chipotle pepper with adobo sauce (quite spicy with this amount!), 1/2 tsp cumin. I also chopped up a bunch of grape tomatoes for my husband to add in himself (I don't like raw tomatoes). Thanks for the yummy and flexible recipe!

  2. Can't tell you how many times I use recipes from your blog. This is probably kinda sad, but as a foodie you'll probably understand... I literally squealed in delight as I read the e-mail form your blog of the chipolte chick pea salad recipe. I have everything for it at home- not straying or improvising!!! Woo hooo!!! I usually begin doing that on the 3th or 4th time I make something from a recipe. I can actually copy it word for word this time!! Yeah me!!

    PS- My family and I send a huge Thank You in advance for the deliciousness that will happen in our kitchen tonight! :-)

  3. yummy, but if you don't like mayo like I do, you can sub it with cream :)

  4. This looks good!

  5. This looks really good, I just bookmarked it. I LOVE chipotles and I love chickpeas!! Thanks!

  6. I made this last night with a few tweaks. I used a dried chipotle pepper (locally grown and smoked, courtesy of Paul Krautman at Bellews Creek Farm outside of StL) because I didn't have any canned. It would have been nice to have the extra flavor of the adobo sauce, but it was still delicious. I subbed some extra veggies (yellow squash and cabbage) for some of the beans, because I didn't have many cooked beans on hand. Yum!

  7. sounds like a fabulous salad! I love the chipotle peppers.

  8. I finally made this and I LOVED it! I don't know why it took me so long. I took it to a potluck and it was a hit. Thanks!

  9. I know this is an old posted recipe, but I wanted to let you know that it's one I come back to again and again! I don't eat much meat, so I often bring a bean salad of some sort to BBQs. This is my favorite to bring with me. The first time I made it, I didn't have a pepper, so I just don't typically add it in anymore. It's still delicious that way!

  10. This is soooo delicious! My vegetarian self and my meat & potatoes-centric husband both enjoyed this so much...

  11. I just thought I would come back here to mention that I found this recipe back in 2007 or so, and I still am making versions of this delicious salad today! Thanks for the recipe and inspiration!

  12. Anonymous ~ Aiii, you warm my heart, thanks for taking the time to let me know how this recipe has become a staple in your house! It’s a good one, for sure!

  13. Can't wait to make this and I also only use Hellmans Light.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna