Buffalo Chickpea Salad

Whether you love salads or love spicy meals, this buffalo chickpea salad is sure to become one of your new go-to recipes. Ready in 15 minutes, this is the perfect meal prep lunch or quick and easy weeknight meal.

Large bowl of buffalo chickpea salad with orange napkin on the side.

I know salads can be kind of boring, but not this salad. The buffalo chickpeas have the perfect level of spice and the tahini ranch dressing is packed with flavor (but requires almost no work to make).

Salads like this are my go-to strategy when you are making a meal for 1 or 2 that is packed with flavor but doesn’t take a ton of time to prepare. Next time your kids want mac and cheese or chicken nuggets for dinner, you make this salad for yourself.

Now that I’ve convinced you that salads are the way to go when you are short on time, I highly recommend you also try my Moroccan Chickpea Salad or this Mediterranean Black Bean Salad.

If you are looking for a recipe that is…

  • Quick and easy – ready in just 15 minutes
  • Uses simple ingredients – uses pantry ingredients and fridge staples
  • Budget friendly – having a meatless meal is a great way to lower your overall grocery budget
  • Good for you – this recipe is vegan, dairy free, gluten free and plant-based Whole30

This is the recipe for you!  

ingredients to make buffalo chickpea salad in ramekins on marble countertop.
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Ingredients and substitutions


  • Lettuce – use romaine, spring mix, arugula or spinach.
  • Tomato – tomatoes add color, can be omitted.
  • Red onion – adds a pop of flavor, you could also use green onion.
  • Celery & shredded carrots – these veggies are traditionally served with buffalo wings.

Buffalo Chickpeas

  • Chickpeas – canned chickpeas make this recipe really quick and easy. If you don’t have chickpeas, use any white beans.
  • Hot sauce – use your favorite hot sauce. Tip: You can also use store-bought buffalo sauce in place of hot sauce, avocado oil and spices.
  • Avocado oil – adding oil (or melted butter) helps to reduce the heat from the hot sauce and also helps the buffalo sauce stick to the chickpeas.
  • Spices: Smoked paprika, dried chives, garlic powder, dried parsley, salt, dried dill – The smoked paprika give a deep, smoky flavor. The other spices give a ranch vibe. If you don’t have one of these spices, simply omit them.

Tahini Ranch Dressing

  • Tahini – tahini is made by grinding up sesame seeds (it has a texture similar to runny peanut butter). If you don’t have tahini you could use sunbutter or almond butter or make my cashew ranch dressing instead.
  • Apple cider vinegar – this gives the dressing a tangy flavor like you would get by using buttermilk with ranch dressing. If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, use lemon juice.
  • Spices: Dried chives, dried parsley, garlic powder, salt, dried dill – these are my go to ranch spices. You could also use a packet of ranch mix or use your own go-to ranch seasoning mixture.

How to make buffalo chickpea salad

Make the buffalo sauce: Combine the buffalo sauce ingredients together in a bowl

Cook the buffalo chickpeas: Rinse and drain chickpeas. Add them to a hot skillet with buffalo sauce an cook until the sauce starts to thicken and coat the chickpeas (see photo).

Make the dressing: Combine dressing ingredients and stir well until well combined and let sit 5 minutes to thicken.

Chop the veggies: chop lettuce, tomato, onion, and celery and add to your salad bowl.

Chopped romaine lettuce on a wood cutting board.

Assemble the salads: Top the salad greens with shredded carrots, buffalo chickpeas and drizzle the tahini ranch dressing on top.

Two spoons stirring up buffalo chickpea salad with tahini ranch dressing.

Top tips

  • If you already have a buffalo sauce you love, you can use that in place of the hot sauce, oil, and spices.
  • For the best digestion, I recommend using organic chickpeas and draining the liquid and rinsing the chickpeas a few times. I find that the liquid the chickpeas are packed in is what causes gas and bloating.
  • Trust me, It’s worth taking the time to simmer the chickpeas with the buffalo sauce until the sauce is coating the chickpeas well. This helps to makes them super flavorful.
  • Make the tahini ranch dressing up to 3 days in advance. It will thicken in the fridge, so take it out when you start cooking the chickpeas. If it’s still too thick once at room temperature, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until it reaches a consistency you enjoy.
  • Time saving tip: Chop your veggies in advance.
  • Make this salad with chicken instead, use these Buffalo Chicken Bites.

Other additions

  • Cooked quinoa or rice
  • Croutons
  • Veggies: Bell peppers, cucumber, radish, green onion, roasted red peppers, jalapeno
  • Pickled red onions
  • Avocado
  • Feta cheese (regular or dairy free), parmesan cheese or blue cheese
Ingredients to make buffalo chickpea salad in a large white bowl.

Other ways to serve

  • In lettuce boats or on a lettuce wrap
  • In collard green wraps
  • In a tortilla, pita or wrap (like my buffalo chickpea wraps)
  • Over broccoli slaw or shredded cabbage instead of romaine.

Common questions

Can you use dried chickpeas?

This recipe uses canned chickpeas, which are cooked. If you have dried chickpeas, cook them first before using them in this recipe.

  • To cook chickpeas in the instant pot, add 1 pound of dried chickpeas and 6-8 cups of water to the instant pot. Cook on high pressure for about 30 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release, then drain and rinse the chickpeas. Store in the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Can you make this with other beans?

Yes, this salad would also be good with cannellini beans, great northern white beans, fava beans (butter beans) or navy beans.

What is the difference between hot sauce and buffalo sauce

  • Hot sauce is a condiment that is made by combining hot peppers with liquid (usually vinegar). The ingredients are usually aged peppers, vinegar, and spices.
  • Buffalo sauce is usually made by combining hot sauce with melted butter to create a sauce that is rich, flavorful and will easily coat whatever it’s been added to.
Buffalo chickpea salad in a white bowl with salad servers in the bowl.

What is the best hot sauce to use

The hot sauce you use will determine the flavor and how spicy the buffalo sauce is. I like to use Frank’s Red Hot (or the Aldi dupe Burmans Hot Sauce) or Crystal Hot sauce since they have good ingredients.

If you want to make the buffalo chickpeas less spicy use Texas Pete as it’s not as spicy as Franks.

Can you use store bought buffalo sauce

Yes, you will need about 1/2 cup of buffalo sauce. Some good options include Primal Kitchen Buffalo Sauce and New Primal Buffalo Sauce.

Can you make this salad in advance

The salad is best when assembled right before enjoying, if you want to prep some parts ahead this is what I would do for meal prep

For meal prep you can:

  • Cook the chickpeas, chop the veggies and assemble the salads after the chickpeas have cooled.
  • Make the dressing – Double or triple the recipe if needed, wait to add the dressing until right before serving.

Can you use store bought ranch dressing?

Yes of course! Use your favorite brand. You will need 2 tablespoons for each salad.

Tahini ranch dressing poured over buffalo chickpea salad ingredients.

Storing leftovers

  • Fridge: Try to keep the dressing off the salad greens to store the leftovers. The salad will last about 5 days in the fridge but best within 2 days. Be sure to let the chickpeas cool first. The dressing will last about 5 days as well in a well sealed container.
  • Freezer: You can freeze the chickpeas for up to 3 months in a freezer safe bag or container. Defrost in the fridge and reheat in a skillet or in the microwave.
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Salad servers resting in a bowl filled with spicy chickpea salad.

Buffalo Chickpea Salad

Buffalo Chickpea Salad is easy to make, super flavorful and great for lunch or dinner. This spicy chickpea salad with tahini ranch dressing is budget friendly and made with pantry ingredients. Great for meal prep! This recipe is vegan, gluten free, dairy free and Whole30 plant based.
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Course: dinner, Lunch, Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: buffalo chcikpea salad, spicy chickpea salad
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 4



  • 3 heads romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery

Buffalo Chickpeas

Tahini Ranch Dressing


  • Preheat a large skillet over medium heat.
  • In a bowl combine the hot sauce, avocado oil and spices. Stir well.
  • Rinse and drain the chickpeas. When the skillet is preheated, add the chickpeas and buffalo sauce. Stir well.
  • Cook the buffalo chickpeas over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until the sauce has thickened and it stays separated when you run a spoon or spatula down the skillet.
  • While the chickpeas are cooking, make the tahini ranch dressing. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir well. At first it will seem like it's not coming together, just keep stirring. Let sit 5 minutes to thicken.
  • Chop the lettuce, red onion, and celery and slice the tomatoes.
  • Optional: If wraps seem hard to fold, heat wraps on a skillet (30 seconds) or in the microwave (10-20 seconds) to make them more pliable.
    Assemble the wraps. Add the tahini ranch veggies, buffalo chickpeas and any other toppings then fold the wrap in half (like a taco) or wrap it up by folding in the sides then rolling it tightly into a wrap. Secure with toothpicks if needed.
  • Make the salad – add the lettuce, veggies, buffalo chickpeas and top with tahini ranch dressing. Stir well to combine.


*There are substitutions and serving ideas listed above in the post.*
Top tips
  • Feel free to use your favorite hot sauce, you need about 1/2 cup.
  • Take the time to simmer the chickpeas with buffalo sauce so they are flavorful. 
  • Make the dressing up to 3 days in advance. It can get thick in the fridge so let it sit out at room temperature before using.
  • If you don’t have tahini, try my cashew ranch dressing instead.
  • Time saving tip: Chop your veggies in advance.
Storing leftovers
  • Fridge: Keep the dressing off the salad greens to store the leftovers in an airtight container up to 5 days (3 days is really best for texture though). Store the dressing separate up to 5 days. 
  • Freezer: You can freeze the chickpeas for up to 3 months in a freezer safe bag or container. Defrost in the fridge and reheat in a skillet or in the microwave.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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