If you couldn’t already tell, I’m a big quinoa salad lover. 🙂
Cooking Quinoa for Salad
When it comes to cooking quinoa to use for salad, it’s basically the same process as normal, but I like to make my quinoa a day in advance, let it cool and chill it in the fridge overnight and then use it for the salad the next day.
Prepping it in advance is just so the quinoa doesn’t heat up the other salad ingredients. Of course it’s fine to cook it the same day and just let it cool a bit before using. I do this all the time when I’m in a rush!
With a base of chickpeas, quinoa and bright veggies, this salad is loaded with nutrients and very filling. Here’s what you need:
quinoa – this is the base of the recipe and you can use any type of quinoa you like from white, black, red to tri-color. Any variety will work for this recipe.
chickpeas – I used canned chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), but you can cook your own if you have the time.
cucumbers – a refreshing addition to this salad.
cherry tomatoes – these little guys add such great flavor to the salad.
bell pepper – I love the flavor and crunch that the bell pepper adds to this salad. Feel free to use any color bell pepper, but I find that red, orange or yellow are the most flavorful.
carrots – for added crunch.
red onion – the perfect way to add a bit of flavor and crunch. You can use yellow onion if needed.
fresh parsley – don’t skip the fresh parsley! While it may seem optional, it really brings this salad to the next level.
feta cheese – the feta adds a bit of creaminess to the salad and gives it a little tang as well. I recommend using vegan feta to make this salad dairy-free and vegan, if needed! You could omit it, but you’ll lose a lot of flavor.
olive oil, red wine or white balsamic vinegar, sea salt and ground pepper – instead of an elaborate dressing, we’re using these four items to add a light and refreshing flavor to the salad. The feta and fresh parsley add quite a bit of flavor so the light dressing is really all you need.
What to Serve with Quinoa Salad
Honestly, this chickpea quinoa salad pairs well with just about anything! Here are some pairing ideas:
Baked Falafel – If you want to amp up the chickpea count, I think this salad would be delicious paired with homemade falafel and creamy hummus.
How to Store Quinoa Salad
Like most quinoa salads, this salad stores really well so is a great meal prep salad! I love prepping quinoa salads during my weekend meal prep for quick and easy lunches throughout the week. You might just want to add an extra splash of oil and vinegar right before serving as the quinoa might soak up all the dressing. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.