Kala Chana Salad

When I think of salads, anything except cucumbers and tomatoes on a bed of lettuce comes to mind. For me, salads need to have a combination of colors, flavors, textures and nutrition.

I was not much into salads until I started eating lunch salads at my office cafeteria and boy oh boy, the variety was zero. There was the regular lettuce or spinach, some basic veggies, a couple of cut meat options and a ton of sauces with artificial flavors and preservatives. As a vegetarian, even with a salad my options were limited and frankly quite bland and boring. That’s when I decided that I was going to create my own salads with a variety of veggies, flavors and textures.

This Kala Chana salad is one of my many favorites, due to its sheer simplicity yet its ability to carry so many flavors and textures together.

Kala Chana literally translates to Black Chickpeas. These are actually brown in color and also known as desi chickpeas. Compared to a regular beige chickpea (garbanzo bean), they are rougher in texture on the outside and have a nuttier flavor. From a nutrition perspective, Kala Chana is packed with protein, fiber, iron and folate. Just like many other legumes and pulses, this legume is a regular part of Indian vegetarian diets.

Kala Chana has a firm texture. So it requires soaking for a few hours and then pressure cooking. Despite this, it maintains its shape (without turning into a mush) making it a great fit for salads, curries and soups.

This salad is makes for a great weeknight meal on its own, as a side salad or even as a snack. The best part is, the flavors and additions to this are absolutely customizable. Check out the serving suggestions below for more ideas.

Prep time4 hours
Cook time20 minutes



  • Kala Chana (Brown Chickpeas) – 2 cups (dry)


  • English Cucumbers – 2 cups, diced
  • Carrots – 1 cup, shredded
  • Multi-colored Bell Peppers – 1 cup, chopped


  • Salt – As per taste
  • Asafoetida – A pinch
  • Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  • Green Chilies – 1 tbsp, crushed


  • Cooking oil – 1 tbsp

Ingredient notes

  • Kala Chana can be purchased in a variety of pre-packed sizes at Indian grocery stores. Alternatively, they are also available in the same pre-packed sizes on Amazon


  1. Rinse and soak the Kala Chana for 4 hours. After 4 hours, you will notice that the individual beans will have turned plump
  2. Pressure cook the soaked Kala Chana for 20 minutes on the high pressure setting in the Instant Pot
  3. Once cooled, add the boiled Kala Chana to a large bowl. To this, add all the veggies, salt and mix
  4. To a small pan, add oil. Once it has hot, add the mustard seeds and allow it to crackle. To this, add the asafoetida and green chilies and fry for 30 seconds. This is the flavoring tadka
  5. Add the tadka to the mixed salad. Mix well
  6. Top with freshly squeezed lemon juice and enjoy

Serving Suggestions

  • Top with fresh coconut
  • Top with diced avocado
  • Sprinkle with tangy chaat masala
  • Add red chilli powder instead of a green chilli tadka

You can also follow me on Instagram to be up-to-date with what is cooking my kitchen. If you like this recipe, do share your comments below. Don’t forget to post your version on Instagram using #foodformyloveblog.

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