Easy Make-Ahead Chickpea Salad With Bacon, Roasted Chilies, and Cotija Cheese

A flavor-packed make-ahead chickpea salad with bacon and roasted chilies. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Last week I extolled the virtues of make-ahead bean salads, like this chickpea salad with cumin and celery. Today I'm offering a meatier, more intense version that holds up just as well to a night in the fridge. This is a dish custom-made for making ahead and packing on a camping trip or for lunch at the office.

It starts with the same chickpeas (cooked dried chickpeas if possible, though canned would do just fine) which I toss in a flavorful vinaigrette made with rendered bacon fat, scallions, and lime juice. Of course, the bacon bits make their way into the salad as well.

To that base I add thin strips of poblano or Anaheim chilies that I've broiled until completely blackened and charred, stripping off their skin to reveal the tender, smoky flesh underneath. A heavy-handed sprinkle of crumbled cotija cheese, chopped cilantro, and an extra squeeze of lime juice finish it off.


You'll want to eat this the moment you finish tossing it together, but don't! Give it at least overnight to sit and meld and you'll be handsomely rewarded.