Earthy and Flavorful Quinoa and Chickpea Salad
Quinoa and chickpeas, two healthy protein-packed grains joining forces with Mediterranean flavors to make a dinner salad your family will ask for every weeknight!
Chickpea Salad with flavorful oregano-garlic dressing, greens, cucumber, sweet cherry tomatoes, and amazing quinoa. Vegan, Gluten free. I call this my loaded dinner salad with all-you-can-eat-healthy ingredients.
This quinoa and chickpea salad is often on our weekday menu, with or without side of protein. But the best thing about it is, it is perfect for second day of lunch. Even good for next few days (if you lucky to save some).
Honestly, quinoa is one of my favorite whole grain. (I mean seed. You know, right?) I always have a few cups of cooked quinoa in refrigerator to pull a healthy side or meal together in minutes. This quinoa salad has earthy flavor of chickpeas and lots of fresh veggies. You can sell this as "quinoa chickpea salad". But under-the-hood there are lot of fresh vegetables completing few daily servings.
Also sharing a quick video for this recipe (30 seconds).
If you love Mediterranean salads. This quinoa chickpea recipe will be one more delicious addition in your Mediterranean-diet repertoire. Cucumber, chickpeas, oregano and red wine vinaigrette adds the healthy savory Mediterranean flavors and compliment greens perfectly. YummO!
I originally shared this recipe few years ago. I adapted it from celebrity Chef Curtis Stone's cookbook - What's for Dinner. As suggested in book, and also on my dinner menu from past 4 years proves the potential of this humble salad. When chickpeas meet the oregano-garlic red wine vinegar dressing… my kitchen is filled with so appetizing aroma. The gorgeous color of cherry tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, and arugula or spinach. This salad is as delicious as beautiful it looks.
It might sounds crazy but never underestimate the power of good filling salad. Specially grain or legume salads as two-in-one : healthy and filling. Such as this salad is vegan, gluten free, made with all whole grain ingredients. Has nothing processed or refined. And still this salad is delicious, and so filling. When I eat a plate-full I really don't need to feat anything else. Plus it also has vegetarian protein and healthy whole-grain carbs.
Variations (make it your own "Chickpea Salad"):
For me, chickpeas and quinoa are must have in this salad. You can say, these two are heart and soul of this salad bowl. However, a lot of ingredients can be changed as per availability or to suit your taste preference.
1. Greens: I often use dark leafy greens. Depending upon availability, sometimes it is fresh baby spinach, baby arugula, kale or turnip greens. The original salad was with arugula. This time I used spinach. Always use dark greens. These are healthier, full of nutrients and good for you.
2. Veggies: This is a colorful salad with lots of crunchy veggies. Fresh red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, hot house cucumber are perfect mix. You can also use red beets, turnip, sweet peppers, olives, and broccoli.
3. Special Additions: For savory flavors, I like to add dark raisins, cranberries. Toasted almond, pine nuts can be delicious for some crunch.
4. Cheese: Crumbled feta or queso fresco brings-out earthy flavor of this salad. I chose to keep salad diary free. You are welcome to use cheese if okay with dairy.
Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing: Like I said, the dressing for this chickpea salad is Mediterranean-style. Dried oregano, fresh garlic, black pepper, parsley, shallots and red wine vinegar. The scent of oregano mixed with vinegar and fresh garlic is totally mouth-watering. A flavor-explosion happens when this dressing is mixed in cooked chickpeas and quinoa. Simply LOVE it!
I crave this salad even when I mix these ingredients for some other recipe. Like my Chicken Souvlaki recipe (Greek Grilled Chicken Kabobs) has similar marinade with oregano, lemon, and garlic. No matter what veggies you use, please don't change the dressing.
You guys, I'm so excited to revive my old recipe and give you updated look and perspective. Here is the old picture of this Quinoa and Chickpea Salad. I was not a photographer back then but as you can see, this salad looked amazing even in a simple humble salad bowl.
Is this Salad making to your dinner table tonight?! Try it once. I can tell you this will make you Quinoa and Chickpea lover!
Wish you a wonderful day ahead.
This is how you make Quinoa Salad. Flavorful Salad with Oregano-Garlic dressing, chickpeas, spinach, cucumber, and sweet cherry tomatoes. Gluten free, vegan.
Earthy and Flavorful Quinoa and Chickpea Salad
- 1 Cup Quinoa (rinsed thoroughly under water)
- 8 Oz Chickpeas (1 can of chickpeas drained and rinsed)
- 2 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Oregano
- Salt and Black Pepper (Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper)
- 1 Cup Arugula (baby arugula or baby spinach)
- 1/2 Cucumber (diced into bite size pieces)
- 1/4 Cup Red Bell Pepper (diced into bite size pieces)
- 1/2 Cup Cherry Tomatoes (halved cherry tomatoes)
- 2 Shallot Onions (sliced, about 3 tbsp)
- 2 tsp Garlic (2 clove of garlic, crushed and chopped, divided)
1. Cook Quinoa: To make the quinoa, heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium size saucepan, then add 1 tbsp shallots and cook for about 2 minutes. Add tsp garlic and continue cooking for about 1 minute. Add Quinoa and stir well. Add 1/2 tsp salt and 2 cups water (you can also use low-sodium vegetable broth instead of water, skip salt if using broth), bring to simmer, then reduce the heat to cook for 12 minutes (quinoa is tender but not mushy) until liquid is absorbed. Once cooked, spread quinoa on a baking sheet and let it cool then fluff with fork. Set aside.
2. Make Vinaigrette/Dressing: While quinoa cools, in meantime, make the vinaigrette. In a large bowl, add remaining shallots, vinegar, oregano, garlic, and mix well. Add olive oil slowly while whisking continually to emulsify. Add cilantro, season with salt and pepper.
3. Assemble Salad: Add in rinsed chickpeas, arugula or spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper to bowl with dressing and toss to combine. Add quinoa and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide in to salad bowls and serve.
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