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This Vegan Chickpea Salad Recipe From Southern India Is Fresh And Energizing

The word “salad” generally inspires mediocre thoughts of lettuce and an oily dressing. But learning how to transform a slimy salad into more a nutrient-rich plate of snacks can fundamentally change your diet. Why? Because earthy, natural foods often do not tantalize the palate alone; but together with the right seasonings, sugars, and citrus, the less-than-desirable foods you typically avoid can become the hallmarks of a vibrant, intensely-satisfying diet.

Today’s dish, chana sundal, is a delicious protein-rich snack that hails from southern India and is generally served during religious festivals such as Navratri and Janmashtami. It combines chickpeas with spices and fresh sea veggies to create a delicious salad that operates more like a snack.

What separates this version of the recipe from more traditional versions is the addition of sea vegetables. The term refers to edible marine algae, which includes some of the most primitive life forms on Earth. Seaweed is a subset of this enormous category of thousands of species. Kelp, nori, spirulina, and wakame are some other types. The primary reason to consume sea vegetables is for their detoxifying properties, especially heavy metals.

Our chana sundal recipe contains samphire, also known as sea beans or sea asparagus, and has a fresh, salty taste that contrasts beautifully with the chickpeas in the salad. Samphire also has contains functional nutrients like fiber, polyphenols, and flavonoids, making it a wonderful addition to any savory meal. Once you know how it tastes (and feel how good it makes you feel), we have no doubt it will become a familiar favorite in your pantry.

You can soak real chickpeas overnight, or just use canned chickpeas for a quicker recipe

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 6 fresh curry leaves
  • 2 teaspoons black or brown mustard seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon asafoetida (an optional ingredient you can find at authentic Indian groceries)
  • 3 dried chilies, broken into pieces, seeds removed
  • 8 ounces canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 ounces freshly grated coconut, to garnish at end
  • 2 ounces ounce fresh samphire (easiest found in late summer)
  • Lime wedges
  • Salt


  1. Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds, swirling and frying until the seeds begin to crackle and cook.
  2. Add the curry leaves, chilies, and asafoetida. Keep the mixture moving for about a minute or until the curry leaves have slightly darkened. 
  3. Add the chickpeas and cook, tossing often, for about 3 minutes. Once the mix is fully warmed through, remove from the pan. Leave the mix to cool, then add the fresh samphire and season with salt, to taste.
  4. Garnish with fresh coconut and serve with lime wedges. Enjoy your incredible autumn salad that will leave you full, strong, and satisfied.

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