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A hearty high-protein plant-based salad with chopped spinach, chickpeas, quinoa, cucumber, red onion, and pomegranate arils. I love adding avocado to this salad for a deliciously filling lunch. 

 

A salad bowl filled with chickpea quinoa salad with spinach, red onion, and pomegranate arils.

I know it’s the holiday season and that means I should be posting lots of sweets and treats right now, but lately I’ve been craving big salads. Chickpea quinoa salad with spinach, cucumber, red onions, and pomegranate arils was on the menu this week, and it was also on our Thanksgiving table. It’s a hearty protein-rich salad that’s perfect for lunch or served with soup and a chunk of crusty bread for dinner. With its red and green colors, I think it would even work as part of a Christmas dinner along with my Mushroom Wellington or Vegan Lentil Loaf. 

Chickpea recipes are always popular here on Yummy Mummy Kitchen. My Chickpea Greek Salad is a favorite. If you’re in soup mode with the cold wintery weather, you might prefer my Chickpea Vegetable Soup, which as been getting rave reviews. Other warming chickpea recipes include my Easy Yellow Curry with Roasted Veggies and Chana Masala. If you’re with me on craving big hearty salads, let’s see how this one is made and be sure to check out my Mediterranean Lentil Salad next! 

How to Cook Quinoa

An instant pot pressure cooker filled with quinoa.

Cooking quinoa is easy and takes about 15 minutes. I like to make a batch of quinoa whenever I’m doing some food prep. It’s great to have in the fridge to add to last minute salads, stir frys, and Buddha bowls

Be sure to give your quinoa a rinse, and then you can cook it on the stovetop in a small saucepan, or in the Instant Pot pressure cooker like I’ve done. For the Instant Pot method, I add 1 cup of rinsed and drained quinoa to the pot along with 1 cup of water or vegetable broth and hit the “rice” button. When it’s done, I carefully do a quick pressure release. 

Chickpea Quinoa Salad Ingredients

Ingredients for chickpea quinoa salad on a cutting board: cooked quinoa, spinach, chickpeas, chopped cucumber, pomegranate, and red onion.

Other than the quinoa and chickpeas (I used canned here, by the way) I add crunchy diced Persian or hothouse cucumber, the sweet seeds from 1 pomegranate, thinly sliced red onion, and lots of fresh herbs. Fresh herbs make such a big flavor difference without adding loads of oil, sugar, and salt. I like chopped parsley here. I also usually add avocado to this salad (none were ripe on photography day) and some hemp seeds. 

To Make the Chickpea Quinoa Salad

Chopped spinach in a salad bowl to start a chickpea quinoa salad.

Start with the greens. I like to use one bag of baby spinach. It’s easier to eat and mix with the other ingredients if you give it a chop. 

A sectioned salad with chickpeas, quinoa, cucumber, herbs, pomegranate, and onions. This beautiful chickpea quinoa salad would be a great packed lunch.

Top the chopped spinach with all the remaining ingredients and toss it all together. 

Best Dressing for Chickpea Quinoa Salad

A bottle of homemade apple cider vinaigrette salad dressing on a white marble countertop.

What dressing is best for a quinoa salad is certainly subjective, but I’ll tell you my favorite dressings for this salad. If you’d like to go even simpler, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a splash of your favorite balsamic, a dash of good olive oil, plus a pinch of salt and pepper will do. 

A close up of a chickpea quinoa salad with spinach, red onion, and pomegranate. Add avocado for the perfect make-ahead healthy chickpea quinoa salad.

Let’s look at a close-up! This chickpea quinoa salad is so pretty – I just love how pomegranate arils add a jeweled look and pop of bright flavor. We have several pomegranate trees and they are just at the end of their season. 

A beautiful vegan chickpea quinoa salad in a white salad bowl.

I hope you enjoy this simple, hearty salad. It makes a great work lunch or holiday dinner salad. Since it doesn’t get too wilt-y, you can make it a day in advance. 

A hearty chickpea quinoa salad high in plant based protein makes a great meal prep work lunch that's vegan and gluten free! Chickpea avocado salad with pomegranate, spinach and avocado is so delicious.

Yield: Serves 6

Chickpea Quinoa Salad

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
A healthy vegan chickpea quinoa salad with spinach, cucumber, pomegranate, and avocado. This chickpea quinoa salad is a great meal prep lunch.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 5 oz. baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 small pomegranate, seeds removed
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, quartered lengthwise, then sliced
  • 1-2 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas, drained
  • 1 small bunch Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 recipe Apple Cider Vinaigrette
  • 1 avocado

Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions (or see Instant Pot directions in post). Transfer to a bowl and let cool at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
  2. Place the chopped spinach in a salad bowl. Top with the quinoa, onion, pomegranate arils, cucumber slices, chickpeas, and parsley. Toss to combine.
  3. Add desired amount of vinaigrette and toss again.
  4. Slice avocado and add just before eating.

Notes

If you don't care for pomegranate, try dried cranberries.

Other dressing ideas: Oil-Free Balsamic or Lemon Tahini.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 442