Chickpea Quinoa Salad
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.
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
Cooking quinoa is easy and takes about 15 minutes. Read all about How to Cook Quinoa here! 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
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
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.
Top the chopped spinach with all the remaining ingredients and toss it all together.
Best Dressing for Chickpea Quinoa Salad
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.
- Oil-Free Balsamic Vinaigrette from my Tomato Salad Recipe
- Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- Creamy Lemon Tahini Dressing
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- Place the chopped spinach in a salad bowl. Top with the quinoa, onion, pomegranate arils, cucumber slices, chickpeas, and parsley. Toss to combine.
- Add desired amount of vinaigrette and toss again.
- Slice avocado and add just before eating.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 442