One loaded kala chana chaat coming at ya! A popular South Asian street food, here kala chana, aka black chickpeas, are tossed in a delicious blend of Indian spices, citrus fruit, and fresh herbs to create a simple, irresistible chickpea salad. This quick 30-minute recipe is perfect for a healthy, high-protein nutrient-packed breakfast, lunch, or anytime really! Vegan and gluten free.
If you’re looking for a hearty, filling salad to delight your taste buds, you’ve come to the right spot. Because it’s my edible rainbow!
“Thank you for such a wonderful recipe of kala chana chat. I seriously loved it.” ~Tempting Recipe
This black chickpea salad is brimming with nutritious ingredients and the most delicious zesty tamarind chutney to tie it all together! It’s my breakfast of choice and perfect as a post-workout snack.
As a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, I’m pleased to report that this black chickpea recipe has been carefully crafted with a blend of plant-based protein and fresh veggies. I love to prepare it alongside my Indian vegetable curry recipe. And, like this healthy chaat salad recipe, it’s just as delectable.
Let me introduce you to the wonders of kala chana! These little black chickpeas are like tiny superheroes, offering some fantastic perks for your health:
- Pumping Energy: With around 19g of protein, they’re like a cheer squad for your muscles, great for keeping you active and strong.
- Bone Buddy: Packed with calcium, magnesium, and manganese, they’re like a secret recipe for sturdy bones, helping to keep osteoporosis at bay.
- A Nutrient Mix: Think of them as a treasure trove of fibre, iron, vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, and potassium, adding health-promoting goodness to your diet.
- Cholesterol Cheerleader: They may help keep your cholesterol in check, supporting the good and taming the bad.
- Antioxidant Ally: Loaded with polyphenol antioxidants, they’re like little shields protecting your cells from free radicals, the troublemakers behind many health issues, like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
- Iron’s Best Friend: Their iron content is like a sidekick, helping your body ferry oxygen efficiently.
Chickpeas vs. black chickpeas
Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, and their darker kin, black chickpeas (known as kala chana or Bengal gram), hail from the legume family.
In India and Pakistan, chickpeas go by the name “chole.”
Kala chana, the smaller sibling of garbanzo beans, packs a more robust flavour and a chewier texture, skin included.
If hummus is your jam, kala chana might just become your culinary BFF—it’s a stellar substitute for regular chickpeas.
These black chickpeas offer a sturdy texture with a nutty edge and a hint of bitterness. The key difference? Kala chana takes a bit more time to cook than its lighter counterpart, but a pressure cooker can speed up the process nicely.
Native to India, these chickpeas sunbathe until they sport a deep rust hue. In contrast, regular chickpeas are plucked before they dry, maintaining a lighter brown shade.
Here’s a snapshot of the main ingredients you need to make this quick kala chana chaat:
- Black Chickpeas: I prefer working with soaked overnight black dried chickpeas; it considerably cuts down the cooking time.
- Potatoes: While any potato works, golden potatoes shine best in this recipe.
- Bell Pepper: Slice into bite-sized pieces for that added crunch, flavour, and vibrant colour.
- Onion: White or red onion works wonders; for a milder option, green onions or their omission can substitute raw onions.
- Cilantro: Fresh leaves elevate taste and appearance; a delightful swap with fresh parsley is also an option.
- Mint: Finely chopped, this fragrant herb adds a distinctive charm to the dish.
- Lemon Juice: A tangy twist that beautifully complements the tamarind chutney.
- Green Chillies: For a spicy kick, skip if heat isn’t your thing.
- Cumin Powder: Offers warmth and earthy undertones to the chaat salad.
- Chaat Masala: This flavorful spice blend is a staple in Indian street food; if unavailable, a mix of cumin powder, coriander powder, and paprika can substitute.
- Mango Powder: Known for its souring touch in Indian cuisine; chaat masala can stand in if unavailable.
- Orange: Adds a juicy sweetness to the salad.
- Salt: To taste.
- Tamarind Paste: Essential for creating the chutney topping; find it in most Indian grocery stores—sweet, sour, and slightly sticky.
How to make tamarind (imli) chutney
In terms of amounts, it really depends on how much you like to douse your chana chaat with chutney. I keep it rough and rustic, and simply make it fresh every time we serve this chana chaat salad – it only takes a minute! Plus, we prefer our chutney to be nice and thick. Here’s how to make it:
- Place tamarind paste into a small blender with water and blend until thick and delicious!
- Transfer to a small bowl and add to the chana chaat salad. Toss to mix and enjoy!
You can find the complete ingredient list, along with detailed instructions in the recipe card below.
Tips & substitutions
- Looking to amp up the protein in your kala chana chaat? Sprinkle on some roasted peanuts or hemp seeds for that extra boost.
- For a spicy kick, toss in a few more green chillies to give your kala chana chaat an added zing.
- To sweeten things up, a drizzle of maple syrup over the chaat before the tamarind chutney takes it to the next level.
- I love laying this kala chana chaat over chopped romaine lettuce—it’s not just for that satisfying crunch, but it also sneaks in some greens with each bite.
- While I have a soft spot for black chickpeas, feel free to swap them out for the regular ones, if you prefer.
- Get creative! This salad happily welcomes other veggies like cooked zucchini and eggplant that need using up.
You may store this kala chana chaat in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.
Nutrition note: Are chickpeas good for you?
With their high fibre content, chickpeas not only make for a satisfying meal but also contribute to overall health. Here’s why:
Plenty of evidence suggests that high-fibre diets lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers while also, benefiting gut health.
Chickpeas are a superstar for heart health. They’re low in total and saturated fats and packed with heart-friendly monounsaturated fatty acids. On top of providing dietary fibre, chickpeas contain a bounty of heart-supporting nutrients like potassium, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and selenium.
What’s your favourite way to snack?
If you try these vegan kala chana chaat recipe, I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag #desiliciousrd on Instagram. Can’t wait to see your photos.
Kala chana chaat salad
- 1 cup kala chana, dried, soaked overnight
- 7 cups water, for boiling black chickpeas and potatoes
- 2 potatoes, medium, diced into medium-sized chunks
- 1 bell pepper, red, diced into in small cubes
- 1 onion, medium, finely chopped
- 1 cup mint leaves, fresh, washed, finely chopped
- 1.5 cups coriander, fresh, washed finely chopped
- 1 tbsp chaat masala
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp mango powder
- 1½ lemons, fresh, juice
- 1½ tsp salt, sea salt
- 1 orange, medium sized, sliced into medium chunks
- 2 green chillies, washed, finely chopped
Tamarind chutney (imli)
- ¼ cup tamarind paste, no added sugar or salt
- ½ cup water, adjust according to preferred consistency
- 1 Pressure cooker or Instant pot You could boil the black chickpeas on the stove as well.
Kala chana chaat salad
- Drain the soaked black chickpeas and cook in an Instant pot with 2 cups of water for 10 minutes
- In a medium saucepan, add potatoes along with 5 cups of water and cook for 10 minutes. They should not be overly soft, or they will turn to mush
- Now it's time to assemble all the ingredients for the salad. To a large bowl add the drained cooked chickpeas along with onion, pepper, green chillies, mint, coriander, chaat masala, cumin, mango powder, salt, and lemon juice. Toss to mix
- Add cooked potatoes and orange chunks and gently mix to combine well. Set aside and make the tamarind (imli) chutney
Tamarind (imli) chutney
- Place tamarind paste into a small blender with water and blend until thick and smooth
- Transfer to a small bowl and use to drizzle over the chana chaat salad. Toss kala chana chaat and enjoy!
- If you’re looking for a little more protein in your kala chana chaat, then top with some roasted peanuts or hemp seeds.
- To give kala chana chaat added heat, add more green chillies.
- For added sweetness, drizzle the chaat with maple syrup before topping it with the tamarind chutney.
- I like to serve the kala chana chaat over chopped romaine lettuce for some added crunch. Plus, it helps check off my daily dose of greens when I’m reaching for seconds!
- Despite the fact that I adore black chickpeas, you may also use conventional ones in this dish.
- To prevent a mushy salad, don’t overcook the potatoes and black chickpeas.
- This salad is versatile and a great way to use up other leftover veggies such as cooked zucchini and eggplant.
- This salad may be served hot or cold.
Keep in mind that the nutritional values provided are approximations and suggestions, and might fluctuate depending on ingredient variations, portion sizes, and recipe adjustments. This nutrition facts table cannot account for your individual needs. Your body — including your hunger and satiety cues — change daily. It’s perfectly fine to eat more or less on different days. Instead of letting food guilt take over, consider mindful eating.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.