Asian-inspired plant-based recipes

Mediterranean Chickpea Lentil Salad Bowl

Watch how to make it here

Inspired by CAVA, the fast-casual restaurant, this Mediterranean chickpea lentil salad bowl is anything but boring. Fresh, bright, tangy, spicy, savory, and crunchy, it has all the elements Mediterranean cuisine is known for.

A few notes:

  1. While the list below may seem extensive, once prepared, this is the perfect meal that will last for days. The different components can all be prepared a day or two in advance.
  2. There are also shortcuts you can take to save time. Instead of using fresh corn, feel free to use frozen or canned sweet corn. Cook it the same way by pan frying it as described below. I also used store-bought spicy hummus and harissa. Although I prefer homemade hummus and harissa for the taste and freshness, the store-bought versions are still a great alternative. Finally, you can buy pre-cooked black lentils in a bag or can.
  3. Harissa is generally very spicy so feel free to omit this altogether and replace it with other Mediterranean dips such as tzatziki, baba ghanoush, or more hummus.
  4. The pickled red onions can be made in advance. Allow 30 minutes for it to marinate. This will last up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
  5. The recipe below is enough for 2-3 servings.
  6. Store leftovers in separate containers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To save space, I combine the roasted corn, chickpeas, and black lentils in one large container, trying my best to divide them into 3 sections. Store the tomato and cucumber salad as well as the pickled red onions in their own containers. The store-bought spicy red hummus, harissa, and mixed greens should already be in a container of their own.

Mediterranean Chickpea Lentil Salad Bowl

August 2, 2022
: 30 min
: 15 min
: 45 min


  • *Roasted corn*
  • 1 ear of corn, separated into kernels
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper
  • *Tomato and cucumber salad*
  • 1.5 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/2 English cucumber, diced
  • 1.5 tsp sumac
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • *Roasted Chickpeas*
  • 1 15.5oz can chickpeas
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • *Black Lentils*
  • 1 cup black lentils
  • 1 tsp veggie bouillon
  • *Pickled Red Onions*
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1.5 cup water
  • *Other toppings*
  • 1-2 tbsp spicy hummus
  • 1-2 tbsp harissa
  • 1 lemon, sliced into wedges
  • Mixed greens
  • Fresh mint
  • Step 1 Pickled red onions: This is best to make a day in advance. If running short on time, make this first and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes. Combine the white vinegar, sugar, salt, and water in a saucepan and heat up until the sugar has dissolved. Wait for it to cool down before adding it to a mason jar with the sliced red onions. Set aside.
  • Step 2 Black lentils: Cook the lentils according to the package instructions. It normally takes about 15-20 minutes to cook so this can be cooked a day in advance or one of the first items to prepare in this recipe. I like to add 1 tbsp of veggie bouillon before I start boiling the lentils to give it flavor. Once completely cooked, drain any excess water and set aside to cool down.
  • Step 3 Roasted chickpeas: Drain the liquid from the can and set it aside for future use. Rinse the chickpeas well with water and dry with a paper towel. Add the chickpeas, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and black pepper to a baking tray and mix everything well. You can air fry at 400F for 7-8 minutes or bake at 425F for 20 minutes. Once golden and lightly crispy, set aside.
  • Step 4 Tomato and cucumber salad. Combine all the ingredients: tomato, cucumber, sumac, juice of a lemon wedge, parsley, olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Mix it well and store it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  • Step 5 Roasted corn: Pull the hunk of husks all the way down from the cob. Discard the husks. Grip the cob vertically on a stable cutting board, use a sharp chef’s knife and cut downward, as close to the base of the kernels, from the top of the cob to the bottom. Repeat until all the corn kernels have been removed. Refer to my shortcut in the Notes section above if you prefer to skip this part. Heat up a small nonstick pan with olive oil. Add the corn kernels to the pan. Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Cook for about 7-8 minutes until it turns lightly golden. Set aside.
  • Step 6 Assembly time: Add a handful of mixed greens to a salad bowl. Top with 1/4 cup of lentils and 4-5 slices of pickled red onions. Add 2 tbsp each of corn, chickpeas, tomato and cucumber salad. Add 1 tbsp each of spicy hummus and harissa. Finish off with the juice of 1 lemon wedge and a few pieces of fresh mint. Toss everything together and enjoy it immediately.

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