Chickpeas and quinoa are combined to create a simple and healthy chickpea quinoa salad with fresh, seasonal veggies and a simple lemon 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. You can have it for lunch, as a snack in the middle of the day, or even as an easy dinner.
You can also prepare it in advance and bring it with you 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 not only for its taste but also for its many nutritional benefits.
For example, thanks to quinoa and chickpeas, this salad is an excellent source of plant-based protein and fiber. 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.
So what's not to like about this quinoa chickpea salad? Nothing really. It's gonna make you feel great.
Quinoa: you can use white quinoa, black quinoa, or a mix of the two. You can 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.
Chickpeas: also known as garbanzo beans. You can use canned chickpeas or dry chickpeas that you cook at home. Replace chickpeas with other legumes, such as lentils and beans.
Tomatoes: we use cherry tomatoes. Replace them with vine tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, grape tomatoes, plum tomatoes, or any other type of tomato as long as they are ripe.
Cucumber: we use American cucumber. Replace it with English cucumber, Persian cucumber, or Kirby Cucumber. Make sure your cucumber is fresh, or else it can be bitter.
Bell pepper: we use yellow bell pepper to have a more colorful salad. Replace it with red bell pepper or with green bell pepper, although the green one is less sweet.
Onion: we use red onion as it's generally sweeter than white or yellow onion. Replace it with spring onions or shallots.
Fresh herbs: we 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.
Lemon vinaigrette: use fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and black pepper for a basic lemon dressing. To make it even more interesting, you can add Dijon mustard (or American mustard), maple syrup, and garlic. This simple dressing is perfect for our quinoa salad recipe.
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 uncovered 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.
Tip: rinsing the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve will remove the bitter-tasting outer coating, which contains saponins. Saponins are compounds that the quinoa plant uses to make itself bitter so that animals wouldn't eat it.
Chop the veggies
Since quinoa is small, we want the vegetables to be diced small too. Cut tomatoes, cucumber, and bell pepper into small dice. Finely chop the onion. Finely chop the parsley. Rinse and drain the chickpeas, then add everything to the bowl with the quinoa.
Make the dressing
To a small bowl, add freshly squeezed lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, mustard, maple syrup, a grated clove of garlic, and whisk well.
Alternatively, you can add all ingredients into a mason jar, close it and shake it well.
Mix the salad
Pour the lemon vinaigrette onto the salad and mix well with two spoons. Taste, adjust for salt, and serve.
We mostly eat this quinoa chickpea salad as a quick lunch, then have the leftovers for an easy dinner. We usually eat it with avocado on top or with quick vegan tzatziki sauce to make it even creamier.
If you are really hungry can serve the quinoa salad alongside one of our other lazy vegan recipes, ready in 20 minutes or less.
You can also serve it in smaller portions as a vegan starter or as an easy side dish. It really is the perfect summer recipe to bring for a day outdoors with friends, as both vegans and non-vegans will love it.
Chickpeas: replace them with other legumes such as beans, lentils, or split peas. I'd recommend white beans or cranberry beans for this salad.
Veggies: try adding kalamata olives for a flavor boost, corn instead of yellow bell peppers, red cabbage, celery, and even chopped-up spinach. For an even more unique chickpea quinoa salad recipe, you could add lightly boiled asparagus, chopped up sun-dried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts in oil.
You get the gist of it; you can basically use any of your favorite vegetables. My only advice would be to stick to 4 to 6 vegetables max and use different colors and different textures.
Dressing: replace the lemon with red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar to make a classic vinaigrette. You can even make the dressing oil-free by omitting the oil or make it a little sweeter by replacing the lemon juice with orange juice.
Nuts: if you want to make this salad even more nutritious, try adding chopped toasted nuts, such as almonds, cashews, pine nuts, or walnuts. They'll add some healthy fats and protein to the dish.
More salad recipes
Yes. Omit the olive oil from our lemon vinaigrette dressing to make this salad oil-free. If you want to add some healthy fats, then you could try adding chopped nuts or mashed avocado.
Eat this salad at room temperature for best flavor. That is, 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 in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
You can add nuts or tofu to the salad. Try our stir-fried tofu. It's delicious in most salads.
Store the quinoa chickpea salad in the fridge, in an air-tight container, for up to 3 days. Keep in mind that as the days go by, the vegetables will be less crunchy.
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
- ⅓ teaspoon salt
For the Salad
- 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas drained and rinsed (or 1½ cups cooked chickpeas)
- 1 cup yellow pepper in small dice
- 1 cup cucumber in small dice
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes in small dice
- ½ red onion finely chopped
- ⅓ cup parsley finely chopped
For the Dressing
- 3 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice or red wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 twists black pepper
- 1 clove garlic grated (optional)
- ½ teaspoon mustard (optional)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
- 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 tomatoes, cucumber, and bell pepper into small dice. Finely chop the red onion. Finely chop parsley. Rinse and drain the chickpeas. Add everything to the bowl with quinoa.
- To a small bowl, add lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, mustard, maple syrup, and grated garlic. Mix well.
- Pour the dressing into the bowl, and mix with two spoons till the ingredients are well combined. Taste and adjust for salt.Serve or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
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