Mediterranean Chickpea and Quinoa Salad
This delightful vegetarian salad is bursting with fresh Mediterranean flavors, like lemon, garlic, and feta. Chickpeas and quinoa make it super nutritious, plus it's so easy to make!
I'm always on the search for a great vegetarian salad bowl featuring beans and this one really hits the spot! It's easy, super healthy, and can be made in advance. This recipe was inspired by I owa Girl Eat's Mediterranean Chicken Bowl. I love her blog and everything I've ever made from it has been a slam dunk.
Over the years of making it, I've made a few changes to her recipe to suit my preferences. I wanted to keep it vegetarian, so I ditched the chicken. To add more nutrition, I've always made this bowl with quinoa instead of white rice and I switched out the dressing. Also, you can't have a Mediterranean bowl without feta cheese, am I right?
I'm a huge fan of shopping in the bulk bins (hello blog inspiration) and the two star ingredients of this recipe can be purchased there.
Quinoa is significantly cheaper in the bulk bins. For example, at my local store, a 14 oz package of quinoa off the shelf costs $4.98. I can get the same amount in the bulk bins for $2.34. That is less than half the price! If you'd like to see other price comparisons for common ingredients in the bulk section, check out "How to Save Money by Bulk Bin Shopping."
You can also usually find dried chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo beans, in the bulk section. I often use canned beans for their convenience, but trust me, freshly cooked chickpeas taste SO MUCH BETTER! Cooking them on the stove or in the Instant Pot is really easy. I make a big batch and then freeze them in smaller portions so I can enjoy their fresh taste, but still enjoy the convenience of having them already prepared.
I hope you love this Mediterranian chickpea and quinoa bowl as much as I do!
I like to start this recipe by making the lemon marinade/dressing so the chickpeas have time to marinate while the other ingredients are being prepared.
Combine all the marinade ingredients in a mason jar and give it a good shake to combine. Pour about half of it onto your chickpeas to marinate, leaving the other half to be used as a simple lemon salad dressing for the salad.
Next you'll want to make the turmeric quinoa on the stove.
Rinse the uncooked quinoa with water and place it in a medium-size pan that has a fitted lid. Add in the garlic, turmeric, and water. Stir to combine and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
When the quinoa starts boiling, cover the pot with the fitted lid and turn the heat down on the stove to medium/low. Let the quinoa simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the water looks like it has all been absorbed.
Remove quinoa from the heat, but let it sit, covered for 5 minutes to finish cooking. Set aside until you are ready to assemble the salad.
While the quinoa simmers, prepare the rest of the salad ingredients. Thinly slice the onions and chop them into small pieces. Dice the tomatoes. Peel cucumber, if desired, and chop it into bite-size pieces. (I only peel the cucumber because my silly kids won't eat them if they aren't peeled).
Assembling the salad is easy. Start by adding quinoa to an individual plate or bowl. Top with marinated chickpeas, followed by chopped veggies. Sprinkle feta cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the remaining marinade/dressing that you reserved on the top. Serve and enjoy.
This salad bowl recipe is great because chickpeas and quinoa are both high in protein and fiber, meaning it will fill you up quickly and keep you feeling full longer. One serving of this salad had about 474 calories, 12.8 grams of protein, and 23% of your daily fiber need.
I used Very Well Fit's recipe analyzer to calculate the calories and create a nutrition label for this Mediterranean salad.
This recipe is gluten-free (although you might want to double-check the dijon mustard you use). It is vegetarian, and if you leave out the feta cheese, could be vegan.
This recipe is not recommended for those on the Whole30 diet or the Keto diet because chickpeas and quinoa are not allowed on either.
- Quinoa - white rice can easily be substituted for the quinoa. I've never tried other whole grains, but imagine that farro or barley might work well if you want to experiment.
- Chickpeas - Any other white bean would work as a substitute, such as cannellini or great northern.
If you have leftovers, I would recommend storing each ingredient separately, so that nothing gets soggy. Store them in an air-tight container for 3-5 days in the fridge, including the lemon marinade.
If you've already mixed everything together, for best results, I would recommend only storing this quinoa salad in the fridge for 24 hours.
Quinoa and chickpeas both freeze well, so you could freeze those two ingredients, separately, for 3-6 months. The veggies and cheese won't freeze well.
- You can serve this quinoa bowl warm or cold, but personally, I prefer it cold. Just let the quinoa cool down a bit before serving.
- I know I sound like a broken record, but seriously, freshly cooked chickpeas taste so much better in this salad than canned. But you can totally use canned if you want to.
I hope that you love this Mediterranean Chickpea and Quinoa salad as much as I do!
Mediterranean Chickpea and Quinoa Salad
Chickpea Marinade and Salad Dressing
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or 2 cloves, minced)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 15 oz can)
- 2 tomatoes (or 1 pint cherry tomatoes)
- 1 cucumber
- 1/2 red onion
- feta cheese
Chickpea Marinade and Dressing
- Begin by adding all the ingredients of the marinade (¼ cup lemon juice, 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp dried dill, ¼ tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper, ½ tsp Dijon mustard, ½ cup olive oil) into a mason jar. Place the lid on the jar and shake to mix.
- In a small bowl, add the cooked chickpeas and half of the marinade. (Save the other half of the marinade to use as the salad dressing). Stir the chickpeas until they are coated with the dressing and set aside to marinate.
- Rinse the uncooked quinoa with water and place it in a medium-size pan that has a fitted lid. Add in the garlic, turmeric, and water. Stir to combine.
- Bring quinoa to a boil over medium-high heat. When the quinoa starts boiling, cover the pot with the fitted lid and turn the heat down on the stove to medium/low. Let the quinoa simmer for about 12 minutes, or until the water looks like it has all been absorbed.
- Remove quinoa from the heat, but let it sit, covered for 5 minutes to finish cooking. Set aside until you are ready to assemble the salad.
- Thinly slice the onions and chop them into small pieces. Dice the tomatoes. Peel cucumber, if desired, and chop it into bite-size pieces.
- To assemble the salad, start by adding quinoa to an individual plate or bowl. Top with marinated chickpeas, followed by chopped veggies. Sprinkle feta cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the remaining marinade/dressing that you reserved on the top. Serve and enjoy!