Chickpeas and quinoa are combined to create a simple and healthy chickpea quinoa salad with fresh, seasonal veggies and a simple mustard-maple vinaigrette.
This salad offers a nutritious, naturally vegan, gluten-free meal choice that will please even the pickiest eaters.
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Our chickpea quinoa salad is an easy, nutritious, and tasty meal that you can make in less than 20 minutes with simple ingredients. We often make a big batch, and it feeds us for days!
You can have it for lunch, bring it to a potluck, barbecue, or picnic, or enjoy it as a quick and healthy dinner.
You can also prepare it in advance and bring it to work or have it ready in the fridge for a busy day when you have less time to cook.
We are sure you'll love this chickpea quinoa salad for its taste and its many nutritional benefits.
For example, this salad is an excellent source of plant-based protein and fiber, thanks to quinoa and chickpeas.
Quinoa is also rich in iron, magnesium, and folate. Combined with fresh, colorful, seasonal vegetables, it's also an incredible source of antioxidants and vitamins.
Use white quinoa, black quinoa, red quinoa, or a mix.
Replace quinoa with other pseudo-grains such as buckwheat, teff, and amaranth.
You can also use whole grains such as barley, oats, and brown rice.
They are also known as garbanzo beans. You can use canned chickpeas or dry chickpeas that you cook at home.
Substitute lentils and beans for chickpeas.
We use cherry tomatoes, but you can use any tomato variety, including vine tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, grape tomatoes, or plum tomatoes.
You can use black or green olives. We like Taggiasca or Kalamata olives, but any kind of olive will be delicious.
You can substitute them with capers, sun-dried tomatoes in oil, or quartered artichoke hearts in oil.
American cucumber is fine; alternatively, replace it with English cucumber, Persian cucumber, or Kirby Cucumber.
Ensure your cucumber is fresh and firm, or it might be bitter.
Substitute zucchini for cucumber.
Add yellow bell pepper to have a colorful salad.
Substitute green bell pepper, red bell pepper, or corn kernels for the yellow pepper.
We use red onion as it's generally sweeter than white or yellow.
Some might find onions hard to digest. If so, substitute shallots or spring onions for the red onion.
We like to use flat-leaf parsley for this chickpea quinoa salad to keep it "Mediterranean" in flavor.
However, we tried many other fresh herbs, such as cilantro, dill, chives, mint, and basil, and we love them all. Pick your favorite!
We recommend a quick and delicious dressing with fresh lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar), extra virgin olive oil, mustard (American or Dijon mustard), maple syrup (or honey), salt, and black pepper.
Optionally, you can add a teaspoon of ground cumin.
- Diced avocado (only add it at the last minute before serving; otherwise, it'll turn dark).
- Crumbled feta cheese.
- Arugula or chopped spinach.
- Nuts and seeds: toasted almonds, walnuts, pecans, pinenuts, pistachios, pepitas, or mixed seeds.
1. Cook the quinoa
Rinse and drain 1 cup of uncooked quinoa, then add it to a saucepan or small pot with 2 cups of water (or vegetable broth) and ⅓ teaspoon of salt.
Bring to a gentle simmer and boil uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes or until the quinoa has absorbed the water.
Transfer to a large mixing bowl and fluff it up with a fork. While the quinoa cooks, cut the veggies.
Tip: rinsing the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve will remove the bitter-tasting outer coating containing saponins. Saponins are compounds that the quinoa plant uses to make itself bitter so that animals wouldn't eat it.
2. Chop the veggies
Cut the tomatoes and olives in half. Next, cut cucumber and bell pepper into small dice.
Finely chop the onion and parsley.
Rinse and drain the chickpeas, then add everything to the bowl with the quinoa.
3. Make the dressing
To a small bowl, add freshly squeezed lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, mustard, and maple syrup, and whisk well.
Alternatively, you can add all ingredients into a mason jar, close it and shake it well.
4. Mix the salad
Pour the dressing onto the salad and toss well with two spoons.
Taste, adjust for salt, and serve.
Chickpea quinoa salad with avocado
A ripe avocado is delicious in this chickpea quinoa salad. However, add the avocado shortly before serving the salad.
The avocado quickly turns brown, so it's unsuitable for meal prep. Instead, we recommend cutting it open and adding it at the last minute.
Add a crunch!
Substitute roasted chickpeas or crispy air fryer chickpeas for canned chickpeas to add even more flavor and a delicious crunch to this dish.
Change the veggies
You could add lightly sauteéd asparagus, confit tomatoes, or marinated artichoke hearts for an even more unique chickpea quinoa salad recipe.
You get the gist of it; you can use any of your favorite vegetables.
Our only advice would be to stick to 4 to 6 vegetable max and use different colors and textures.
Vary the dressing
Other dressings you can try with this salad are:
- Italian dressing with herby flavors from oregano and basil.
- Tahini sauce with a creamy texture and nutty taste.
- Vegan mayonnaise; I have to admit that it's delicious mixed in this salad.
- Chipotle sauce: similar to mayo but with a smokey spice twist.
We eat this quinoa chickpea salad as a quick lunch and serve the leftovers for an easy dinner. You can dress it with toppings and condiments for a special meal that is extra fulfilling:
- Confit tomatoes (garlic, olive oil, dried herbs).
- Tzatziki sauce (dairy-free yogurt, cucumber, mint, garlic, olive oil).
- Vegan mayonnaise (soy milk, vegetable oil, olive oil, garlic, mustard).
- Eggplant dip (roasted eggplant, tahini, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, mint).
- Sauteed mushrooms (olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, parsley).
- Fried tofu (paprika, chili powder, cornstarch, flour, olive oil, salt).
You can also serve it as a starter or an easy side dish in smaller portions. It is the perfect summer recipe for a day outdoors with friends, as a putlock meal, or office lunch.
Eat this salad at room temperature for the best flavor. Take it out of the fridge 15 to 30 minutes before serving it. You can warm up quinoa salad if you like it slightly warm. Do that in the microwave for about 1 minute.
Yes. You can make this salad up to 3 days ahead and keep it in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Make Ahead & Storage
Make ahead: chickpea quinoa salad is an excellent recipe to make in advance, use for meal prep, and bring to potlucks or for lunch at work. You can make it up to 3 days in advance.
Refrigerator: store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days. Take it from the refrigerator 15 to 30 minutes before eating, and enjoy it at room temperature.
Freeze: we don't recommend freezing this recipe.
More salad recipes
If you love meal-prep-friendly salads, you might like these healthy and easy green bowls:
- Vegan couscous salad (cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, parsley, corn, cucumber, pine nuts).
- Kale quinoa salad (corn, bell pepper, pumpkin, pomegranate seeds, mustard, maple syrup).
- Rice salad (black olives, chickpeas, tomato, bell pepper, lemon, parsley, olive oil).
- Farro salad )chickpeas, corn, pepitas, cherry tomato, cucumber, parsley, lemon).
- Chickpea salad (avocado, cucumber, corn, parsley, tomato, mustard, maple syrup).
- Pasta salad (red onion, corn, cucumber, black olives, cherry tomatoes, white beans).
For many more salad ideas, check out our salads category page.
Chickpea Quinoa Salad
For the Quinoa
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa or about 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 2 cups water or vegetable broth
- ⅓ teaspoon salt
For the Salad
- 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas or 1½ cups cooked chickpeas
- 1½ cup yellow bell pepper
- 1½ cup cucumber
- 1½ cup cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup olives
- ¼ red onion
- ⅓ cup parsley
- 1 ripe avocado optional
For the Dressing
- 4 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 twists black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin optional
Cook the quinoa
- Rinse and drain 1 cup of uncooked quinoa, then add it to a pot with 2 cups of water and ⅓ teaspoon of salt.Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the quinoa has absorbed the water. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and fluff it up with a fork.While the quinoa cooks, cut the veggies.
Cut the veggies
- Cut the tomatoes and olives in half. Cut the cucumber and bell pepper in small dice.Finely chop onion and parsley.Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Add everything to the bowl with the quinoa.
Make the dressing
- To a small bowl, add lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, mustard, maple syrup, and optionally the cumin. Mix well.Alternatively, add everything to a small jar, close, and shake well.
Mix the salad
- Pour the dressing onto the salad, and toss with two spoons till the ingredients are well combined. Taste and adjust for salt.
- Optionally, you can add a diced avocado, but do so shortly before serving.
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