Caramelized Onions & Feta Chickpea Salad

Summer is just around the corner, but with the weather we’ve been getting here in Southern California, you wouldn’t know it. One weekend, we were hiking in the Angeles National forest frolicking in wild flowers. A week later, we were braving blizzard-like conditions on Mount Baldy. I guess that is the beauty of living here – beaches, mountains and the desert all within reach of the city.

During one of our hikes, we were lucky enough to see a beautiful orange, white and black California Kingsnake slither past us on the trail and a salamander hanging out by a stream. On Mount Baldy, we crossed a Boy Scout troop coming down the mountain after an overnight backpacking trip. It was so great to see kids brimming with enthusiasm and eagerness for adventure. They were in genuine awe of the snow dusted surroundings and they just couldn’t contain their wonderment. They reminded me to stop, and to really appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.

All this hiking has inspired me to come up with new lunch and snack ideas while on the trail. I’ve been trying out various cold salads recipes and wanted to share this particular one with you. I made this for our Easter weekend camping trip in Carizzo Plains and since have made it a few more times. The key ingredient is the caramelized onions. They have an intense flavor, which contrasts nicely against the starchiness of the chickpeas and crunchiness of the bell peppers. It’s definitely filling enough to eat as a meal especially with pita bread or tortillas. The great thing about this Caramelized Onions & Feta Chickpea salad is that it’s flavor gets better after it sits for a little bit, and it won’t be soggy by the time you get to lunch. Happy trails!

Caramelized Onion & Feta Chickpea Salad


4 servings

Prep Time / Cook Time


Activity Guide

Bike Touring, Car Camping, Picnic


  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup pepita seeds
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1-2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil or parsley
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt, to taste


  • Can opener
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Large bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • Skillet
  • Stove with simmer control


  1. Place chickpeas and diced bell pepper in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in skillet with medium-low to medium heat and add chopped onions. Stirring occasionally, cook onions about until they are caramelized. They should be dark brown and slightly crispy. When onions are done, add them to the chickpeas and bell pepper in bowl and set skillet aside.
  3. Place pepita seeds in the skillet and turn on heat to medium high. Watch the pepita seeds closely. Toasting pepita seeds should only take a minute or so. They will start to puff up and look slightly browned. Add the toasted pepita seeds to the bowl of ingredients.
  4. Squeeze lemon juice over ingredients and add olive oil, basil or parsley, crumbled feta cheese and a pinch of salt. Stir ingredients and taste. Adjust seasoning with more lemon juice, oil and/or salt if needed. Serve immediately or refrigerate and served when salad is chilled.

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