This Provençal Chickpea Salad is traditionally made for Palm Sunday – the Sunday before Easter. It’s quick and simple, budget-friendly, made with pantry staples, and oozes salty flavors with the addition of anchovies and black olives, and a nice crunch from the celery. Because of the protein from the chickpeas, it’s nutritious enough to be a meal on its own. But really, it can also double as a the perfect side or starter to any Spring or Summer table.
Chickpeas in Provençal Cuisine
Originating from the Middle-East, chickpeas (“pois chiche”, in French) are widely consumed in Mediterranean regions, including Provence in Southern France. Chickpea flour, notably, is the base of most Provencal street-food, include the “Socca” in Nice, the “Cade” in Toulon and the little fried “Panisses” in Marseille (a recipe you can find in my cookbook).
It is also common in Provence to cook and enjoy chickpeas stewed with tomatoes and in salads along with staple fixings from the local repertoire: olives, anchovies, herbs… just like in today’s recipe.
This chickpea salad is traditionally made for Palm Sunday – the Sunday before Easter. A few stories explain this custom… Some believe that Christ crossed a field of chickpeas before entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Some others see it as a memory from the 15th century, when a ship full of chickpeas docked in the city of Toulon (others will tell you Marseille, or Fréjus…), saving people from famine.
This salad recipe is a delicious blend of flavors and texture at every bite. The chickpeas bring creaminess and nutty notes, the olives and anchovies pack a salty punch and the celery add a fresh crunch. The salad is finished off with zippy green onions and fresh herbs, and a simple dressing made from olive oil, vinegar and anchovy oil, for extra depth of flavor.
This Provençal Chickpea Salad recipe is quick and simple, filling and nutritious. It is made in less than 15 minutes and easy scalable to make for 6, or just 2 people. Serve it as a starter, a side or on it own. It also keeps well, so you can prepare it ahead of time and pack it up for a savory lunch on the go.
- For rapidity and convenience, I use a can of cooked chickpeas (drained).
- Taste and adjust your seasonings! My tip for making a great salad is tasting and adjusting as you season your salad, until you reach the flavors you love. You may need an extra drizzle of oil and an extra pinch of salt… taste to find out!
- Save some parsley and green onions aside for garnishing before serving. They’ll add a nice freshness to the salad.
- Other traditional Provencal fixings that go perfectly into this salad are thin slices of bottarga (very popular in Provence), diced cucumber and/or cherry tomatoes.
I hope you’ll love this Provençal Chickpea Salad with Olives, Anchovies and Celery as much as I do!
You may also like:
- Cod Provencal with Caper, Tomatoes & Olives
- French-Style Couscous Salad
- Herby Sugar-glazed Spring Vegetable Jardiniere
- Frisée with bacon and eggs
350g cooked chickpeas, drained (= 1 large 540ml/19floz can)
1 large celery stalk, finely sliced (ends removed)
100g black olives
6-8 oil-packed anchovy fillets
2 green onions (or scallions), finely sliced – green ends removed
7-8 sprigs curly parsley, stemmed and finely chopped
1 tbsp (15ml) Wine vinegar (red or white)
½ tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
2 tbsp (30ml) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Step 1 - In a large bowl, combine chickpeas, sliced celery, olives, anchovies (reserve the oil), parsley and green onions (keep some parsley and green onion aside for garnish).
Step 2 - In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and salt. Whisk with a fork until the salt has dissolved. Add the cumin, black pepper, EVOO and 1/2 tbsp of the reserved oil from the anchovies. Whisk to combine.
Pour the dressing over the chickpea salad and toss to combine.
Before serving, garnish with fresh parsley and green onions.
Did you make this recipe?
I’d love to know how it turned out! Please let me know by leaving a comment below, rate the recipe and/or share a photo on Instagram: tag @pardonyourfrench and hashtag it #pardonyourfrench. Bon Appétit!