Our Mediterranean salad recipe combines the textures and tastes of fresh veggies, legumes, herbs, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes to create the ultimate Mediterranean dish.

This recipe is the result of a careful blending of ingredients and traditions.

It is tossed in a fresh, fruity, and citrusy olive oil dressing and topped with quick-marinated red onions.

Balela salad on a white plate with a silver spoon and sumac onions

Dietary Note: this recipe is suitable for a vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diet.

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What’s a Mediterranean salad?

Balela salad with hand holding a piece of pita

There are 22 countries spanning three continents-Europe, Africa, and Asia-touched by the Mediterranean Sea and nourished by the Mediterranean sun.

Each has the most diverse traditions, cultures, and cuisines rooted in thousands of years of civilization.

So we thought; how can we make ONE Mediterranean salad when each country has hundreds of salad recipes?

On this blog alone, we have at least 20 salad recipes that can be labeled Mediterranean, and this one Mediterranean salad recipe you are about to make is a little inspired by each one of them.

Mediterranean salad with pita bread and tahini yogurt sauce

For example, as in our Italian farro salad and Levantine tahini salad, we rely on fresh tomatoes and cucumbers to add crunch, sweetness, and juiciness.

Turkish cuisine, with its onion salad – Piyaz salatasi – taught us the importance of marinated onions for brightness and tang.

Here, we use marinated sumac onions to add a burst of freshness. Quick pickled red onions work, too. You’ll love that tang!

Tabouleh salad inspired us to use plenty of spring onions and fresh herbs like parsley and mint to add freshness and flavor.

examples of Mediterranean salads including tahini salad, Moroccan carrot salad, and tabbouleh

For the dressing, we looked at Moroccan carrot salad and Lebanese Fattoush where aromatic spices are mixed with an olive oil-based dressing.

Greek salad (Horiatiki) and Italian rice salad emphasize the importance of umami by using bold, savory ingredients.

We add kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes in oil for that bold, umami taste.

You can even crumble in some feta cheese or non-dairy feta for even more flavor.

Finally, the red thread that unites all Mediterranean cooking is legumes.

Mediterranean salad with sumac onions and hand holding a silver spoon

They are among the most nutritious, affordable, and environmentally friendly ingredients you can find.

Inspired by Israeli couscous salad and Moroccan couscous salad we combine black beans and chickpeas to add wholesome plant protein and make the salad satiating.

You can make this Mediterranean salad a meal with warm pita bread and a thick and creamy yogurt tahini sauce and serve it next to a spread of hummus, baba ganoush, or muhammara.

Ingredients and substitutions for Mediterranean salad

Ingredients for mediterranean salad with sumac

Quantities are in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Chickpeas

You can use canned chickpeas or dry chickpeas you soaked for 12 hours, then cook until tender.

Here’s our guide on how to cook chickpeas for your reference.

Black beans

You can use canned black beans or dried black beans that you cook in water until tender, about 1 to 2 hours.

Here’s our guide on how to cook dried black beans, should you need it.

Substitute white beans, cannellini beans, lentils, or borlotti beans for black beans.

You can also substitute one of the legumes for a whole grain or pasta. For example, you could substitute pearl couscous, farro, barley, orzo pasta, quinoa, or other pasta for the black beans.

Bell pepper

We use a raw green bell pepper.

Substitute yellow, orange, or red bell pepper for green bell pepper.

Cucumber

You can use American cucumber, English cucumber, or Persian cucumber.

Scallions

Scallions, green onions, or spring onions are excellent in Mediterranean chopped salad because they add tang and freshness without overpowering the dish.

Substitute shallots for scallions.

Cherry tomatoes

We use cherry tomatoes, but any other variety like grape tomatoes, plum tomatoes, and roma tomatoes also work well.

Flat-leaf parsley

Flat-leaf or Italian parsley is probably the most essential fresh herb in Mediterranean cooking. It adds herbiness, color, and freshness to salads.

You can add more fresh herbs like fresh mint, fresh basil, and dill if you like.

If you can’t find fresh herbs, opt for dried ones. We recommend dried mint, dried oregano, and dried parsley.

Olives

For the best flavor, we recommend olives preserved in oil. We use taggiasche olives from Italy or pitted kalamata olives from Greece.

Sun-dried tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes in oil pack the salad with a bold, savory flavor, and we recommend them.

Substitute marinated artichoke hearts for sun-dried tomatoes.

Dressing

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Vinegar: apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, or white wine vinegar.
  • Garlic: fresh, grated.
  • Sumac: substitute ground cumin.
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Note: Sumac is a red spice with a citrusy and floral aroma. It’s often used in Turkish, Moroccan, Egyptian, and Eastern Mediterranean cooking. It’s hard to find in Western supermarkets but easy to find online or in ethnic grocery stores.

Optional ingredients

Serves well with

serving suggestions for Mediterranean salad

How to make Mediterranean salad

US cups + grams measurements in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

To a large mixing bowl, add cucumber and bell pepper cut into small dice, halved cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced scallions, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, olives, finely chopped parsley, drained chickpeas, and black beans.

chopped vegetables, black beans and chickpeas in a white bowl

To a small mixing bowl, add extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, grated garlic, sumac, salt, and black pepper.

Whisk well, then add dressing to the salad.

Tip: You can 1.5X or 2X the dressing for an even bolder flavor, although we recommend playing with toppings; see later.

fresh parsley and dressing added to a white salad bowl

Toss until well combined. Ideally, set the salad aside for 15 to 20 minutes before serving it to allow the flavors to meld.

Balela salad with hands mixing the fresh vegetables

Optionally, top the salad with crumbled feta cheese or non-dairy feta, toasted pinenuts, marinated sumac onions, or quick-pickled red onions.

Note: We recommend sumac onions or pickled onions. You can make them in less than 30 minutes with lemon juice, red onions, salt, and sumac.

Balela salad with sumac onions and hand holding a silver spoon

Serving suggestions

We recommend topping the salad with sumac onions or quick pickled red onions.

You can add some pickled chilis or jalapeños for a touch of heat.

Balela salad with pita bread and tahini yogurt sauce

Serve this Mediterranean salad recipe as a meal with pita bread. The bread, along with the chickpeas and black beans, will provide plenty of complete protein.

We also recommend serving it next to a creamy, thick yogurt tahini sauce, which you can make with non-dairy yogurt if you are vegan.

You’ll love the combination of crisp veggies, savory olives and sun-dried tomatoes, aromatic dressing, tangy pickled onions, herby parsley, fragrant and citrusy dressing, creamy and cool yogurt tahini sauce, and warm pita bread.

Variations

Israeli couscous salad

Israeli couscous salad on a big white plate with a silver spoon

Israeli couscous salad with pearl couscous is a delicious alternative to our Mediterranean salad. Made with similar ingredients, it’s a nutritious and fulfilling meal your whole family will love.

Here’s our Israeli couscous salad recipe.

Tips

Don’t skimp on the fresh herbs—they make a difference! You can even add more than one fresh herb. For example, parsley and mint taste delicious together.

Let the salad rest for 15 to 20 minutes before serving it. This resting time allows the dressing flavors to meld with the vegetables.

Add-ons are the cherry on top! Try toasted pinenuts, crumbled feta, or our favorite sumac marinated onions. If you can’t choose, then add all.

Storage & make ahead

Make ahead: This Mediterranean salad is excellent for meal prep and keeps well for up to three days. We recommend it for picnics, potlucks, and barbecues.

Refrigerator: Keep leftovers in an airtight container for three days. Take out of the fridge 15 minutes before serving.

Freezer: This recipe is not suitable for freezing.

Balela salad and hand holding a pita bread

More Mediterranean salad recipes

More easy salads

Mediterranean salad with olives, sundried tomatoes, and black beans on a white plate

Mediterranean salad

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 2 votes
Our Mediterranean salad recipe combines the textures and tastes of fresh veggies, legumes, herbs, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes to create the ultimate Mediterranean dish.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Course: Main Course, salad
Cuisine: Mediterranean

Ingredients

SALAD

  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas or 1½ cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans or 1½ cups cooked beans
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
  • cups cucumber cut into small dice
  • 1 cup green bell pepper cut into small dice
  • 4 scallions thinly sliced
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley finely chopped
  • ½ cup kalamata olives pitted
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped

DRESSING

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sumac substitute 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic grated
  • ¾ teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • teaspoon black pepper

SERVES WELL WITH

Instructions 

  • To a large bowl, add 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas and 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, both drained and rinsed.
    Then add 2 cups cherry tomatoes (halved), 1½ cups cucumber (diced small), 1 cup green bell pepper (diced small), 4 scallions (thinly sliced), 1 cup flat-leaf parsley (finely chopped), ½ cup kalamata olives, and ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes (chopped).
    chopped vegetables, black beans and chickpeas in a white bowl
  • In a small bowl, whisk 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon sumac, 1 clove garlic (grated), ¾ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon black pepper.
    Pour over salad.
    fresh parsley and dressing added to a white salad bowl
  • Toss until well combined, then taste and adjust for salt.
    Ideally, set the salad aside for 15 to 20 minutes before serving it to allow the flavors to meld.
    Mediterranean salad with hands mixing the fresh vegetables
  • Optionally, top the salad with 4 tablespoons yogurt tahini sauce (crumbled), 3 tablespoons pinenuts, and 3 tablespoons sumac-marinated onions.
    Mediterranean salad with sumac onions and hand holding a silver spoon

MAKE IT A MEAL

  • Make this Mediterranean salad a meal by serving with warm pita bread and a creamy yogurt tahini sauce.
    More ideas and links in the "Serving suggestions" chapter linked in the notes below.
    Mediterranean salad with pita bread and tahini yogurt sauce

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 large serving of Mediterranean salad out of 4 servings as a main course, calculated without toppings or bread.
STORAGE & MAKE AHEAD
Make ahead: This Mediterranean salad is excellent for meal prep and keeps well for up to three days. We recommend it for picnics, potlucks, and barbecues.
Refrigerator: Keep leftovers in an airtight container for three days. Take out of the fridge 15 minutes before serving.
Freezer: This recipe is not suitable for freezing.
ALSO ON THIS PAGE

Nutrition

Calories: 374kcal, Carbohydrates: 42g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 13g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 1208mg, Dietary Fiber: 13g, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 1376IU, Vitamin B6: 0.3mg, Vitamin C: 66mg, Vitamin E: 4mg, Vitamin K: 152µg, Calcium: 113mg, Folate: 188µg, Iron: 6mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 101mg, Zinc: 2mg
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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

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