Looking for a savory, delicious quinoa salad recipe? This flavorful quinoa and chickpea salad comes together easily with Mediterranean ingredients and an incredible lemon olive oil dressing. This quinoa chickpea salad is a wonderfully versatile side dish and perfect with just about any grilled protein.
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Looking for a delicious side dish to go with your grilled chicken, fish or pork? This quinoa chickpea salad has fantastic Mediterranean flavors that go perfectly with just about any protein.
Made with fresh and flavorful vegetables, this quinoa salad recipe is a great dish to make ahead for a pot-luck, cookout or back yard barbecue.
What do I need to make quinoa salad?
- Quinoa – for this salad I used a quick-cooking quinoa. This rainbow quinoa would also be a great choice. Be sure to follow package directions for cooking.
- Chickpeas – using a simple can of chickpeas is what you’ll need for this salad. Make sure you rinse well and drain the chickpeas before adding to the rest of the ingredients.
- Tomatoes – cherry or grape tomatoes are ideal for this salad. You can also chop a larger tomato into smaller bite-sized pieces.
- Red onion – red onion will add great flavor and zest to this salad. For a more mild option, consider my pickled red onions.
- Cucumber – I like using seedless English cucumbers as they slice up easily and are slightly more firm than a traditional garden cucumber. Any type of cucumber can be used for this recipe.
- Black olives – these add a great savory flavor and colorful contrast to the salad. You can also substitute kalamata olives for a more authentic Mediterranean flavor.
- Parsley – adds a great herby flavor that is great in this salad. As a substitution, you can also add in dill.
- Lemon Olive Oil dressing – this simple citrus dressing makes the salad! This vinaigrette adds the perfect amount of flavor to the salad and brings everything together.
For exact ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the post for the recipe. Thanks!
Making the lemon olive oil dressing:
We’ve paired this quinoa salad with a lemon olive oil dressing. This vinaigrette is ideal for the ingredients as it coats everything well, and adds the perfect amount of flavor without overpowering the salad.
To make the lemon olive oil dressing, simply mix whisk together the lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, lemon pepper seasoning and garlic. You can also customize this dressing by adding in fresh dill, or dried oregano.
How do I make quinoa and chickpea salad?
Begin by cooking quinoa according to package directions. There are several varieties of quinoa, so be sure to follow package directions for cooking times.
Next, chop vegetables to be added to the salad. For this recipe, we’ve adding cucumbers, red onion, grape tomatoes, sliced black onions and parsley along with the chickpeas and quinoa.
Once all the vegetables are prepared, add everything to a mixing bowl and toss together with the dressing. Toss together well to combine and to coat all ingredients evenly.
The salad can be served right away or be refrigerated and served chilled.
Ingredient Substitutions and Recommendations:
- Pistachios or sunflower seeds – adding a nut or seed will add some desirable crunch to this salad.
- Red onion – if raw red onion is too strong for you, try adding my pickled red onions, which are much more mild, but still add amazing flavor and texture to the salad.
- Olives – do you prefer a more savory olive? Try swapping out the black olives with kalamata olives for a more authentic Mediterranean flavor.
Frequently asked questions about making quinoa salad:
Quinoa salad is best served cold. Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Once done cooking drain excess water and let the quinoa cool to room temperature. Mix with other vegetables, then chill before serving.
When cooking, add a small amount of salt, like 1/ teaspoon, to the water. Once done cooking, quinoa can be seasoned to taste. If serving in a salad, add a dressing to give it a preferred flavor.
If quinoa is soggy, you have cooked it in too much water. Drain off excess water with a colander or strainer. Be sure to follow package directions for exact amounts of water needed to cook, as well as cook times and temperatures.
Yes, quinoa salad is a great dish for making and serving in advance. It can be made up to 24 hours in advance. For best results, keep the dressing separate, and dress the salad just before serving.
What goes with quinoa salad?
Quinoa salad is a very versatile salad that goes with just about any protein. Try serving it with grilled chicken, fish, pork or steak. Here are some of our most popular recipes that would go great with this salad:
- Lemon Pepper Grilled Chicken
- Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon
- Air Fryer Boneless Chicken Thighs
- Italian Grilled Chicken
- Brown Sugar Balsamic Grilled Chicken
- Grilled Steak Kabobs
- Apple Cider Glazed Pork Chops
How do I meal prep this quinoa salad recipe?
This quinoa salad is great for meal prep. This salad can be made in advance and stored alongside grilled chicken. This salad can be prepped up to 5 days in advance.
These Lock n Lock Food Divided Food Storage containers are fantastic. They don’t leak and the glass container is oven, microwave, toaster oven and dishwasher safe. These containers make meal prepping so much easier!
Quinoa Chickpea Salad
- 1 cup quinoa prepared to package directions
- 1 (15 oz. can) chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 2 cups seedless cucumber chopped
- 2 cups grape tomatoes halved
- 1/2 cup red onion chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley minced
- 1/4 cup black olives or 1 – 4 oz. can
- Cook quinoa according to package directions. Drain off any excess liquid, and let quinoa cool to room temperature. Set aside.
- To a large mixing bowl, add the rinsed chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, onion, parsley and olives. Add in the cooled quinoa. Toss all ingredients together.
- For the dressing: In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, add the fresh squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, garlic and seasoning. Whisk together well to combine.
- Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss together well to coat. Serve right away.