Quinoa Chickpea Salad is loaded with artichokes, chickpeas, and just the right amount of salty feta cheese. This delicious and nutritious salad is a great side or a terrific meatless entree! Never tried quinoa? This is the recipe to start with, you're going to love this combination of flavors!
Update Notes:This post was originally published in September 2013, but was republished with tips, step by step photos, and a recipe change in August 2019.
Quinoa Chickpea Salad
OK, I am totally jumping on the quinoa bandwagon now!
The first time I made quinoa, I was completely turned off to the stuff. I wasn't sure of the taste or texture. But since then, I learned to cook it correctly and have made yummy meals like this Avocado Cucumber Quinoa Salad and Slow Cooker Chorizo and Quinoa that are just delicious!
One thing I've learned is to be sure and rinse it well to remove the saponins that remain after processing. (Don't really know what saponins are, but I imagine they caused the funky taste I experienced the first time around!)
There are some really good reasons to be on the quinoa bandwagon.
Quinoa has been referred to by The Quinoa Corporation as the 'Supergrain of the Future'. It has so many nutritional health benefits! According to an article from MindBodyGreen, there are at least 7 health benefits to quinoa:
You need to make this part of your diet, right?
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The BEST Quinoa Salad
Quinoa Chickpea Salad Grocery List
- olive oil
- lime juice
- garlic paste
- canned chickpeas
- black olives
- artichoke hearts
- fresh baby spinach
- feta crumbles
What do you eat quinoa with?
If you're serving Quinoa Chickpea Salad as a side dish, here are some of my favorite recipes that to go with it!
Is Quinoa better than rice?
When compared to white rice, this grain has far fewer calories and carbohydrates - making it a more nutritious choice!
How do you make quinoa taste good?
Often times people complain that quinoa has a bitter taste. I'll argue it doesn't taste bad, but just like everything else it must be prepared correctly!
Remember earlier when I talked about the saponins? That is a natural coating which if not removed will make your quinoa taste bitter.
The simple solution is to be sure to rinse the quinoa under cold running water until the water runs clear. Do that and you're set! No more bitterness!
What color quinoa is the most nutritious?
There are three colors of quinoa - red, black and white.
- White quinoa is the most commonly used. It is light, fluffy and has a mild flavor.
- Red quinoa is a little heavier in texture and has a nuttier flavor.
- Black quinoa is the third option. It's harder to find in the store. It's flavor is much earthier.
You can use any of these varieties in this recipe! Or you can buy a tricolor version, which is a great mix of all of them.
How to make Quinoa Chickpea Salad - Step by Step
Step 1.Cook the quinoa according to package directions (see tips section for more helpful hints on getting perfectly cooked quinoa!!)
Step 2.While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the dressing.
Step 3.Combine the quinoa, chickpeas, olives, artichokes, and the dressing.
Step 4.Fold in the spinach and feta and mix until the spinach becomes lightly wilted.
Tips for making perfect quinoa every time
- You can buy pre-rinsed quinoa, but you will save a lot of money if you don't and perform the rinsing step yourself. When you rinse your quinoa, use a fine mesh strainer. If you use a regular colander, those small seeds will go right through!
- When rinsing, I like to place the strainer in a bowl of water and swish the seeds around, then lift the strainer out of the bowl to drain. I do this a couple of times with fresh water. This makes it really easy to get ALL of the yucky-tasting saponins off. (Believe me, you don't want any residual saponins!)
- Don't overcook the quinoa! When the quinoa seeds look like they have popped open, they are done.
- Once the quinoa is done, you may need to drain any excess water. (Use that same fine mesh strainer mentioned in the first tip to do that.)
- After you have drained your quinoa, return it to the saucepan, cover, and let it sit for 10 minutes or so. This will help it to set and soak up any remaining liquid so your salad won't be mushy.
Favorite Quinoa Salad
More Quinoa Recipes you'll enjoy!
- Shrimp and Broccoli Curry with Quinoa and Brown Rice - the kids love it! Need I say more?
- Slow Cooker Quinoa - such an easy way to get delicious, perfectly cooked quinoa every time!
- Creamy Parmesan Quinoa - this one is making my mouth water!
- Spicy Veggie Quinoa Curry - this veggie dish is quick and easy to make. It's so yummy and has tons of flavor!
It is amazing that a tiny little seed can have so much nutrition! If you have not been able to jump on the quinoa bandwagon yet, it might be because your iron is low, so you better have some quinoa and catch up with the rest of us! 😉
This recipe should make getting with the quinoa program a little easier. Even Thing 2 liked it, so I conclude that it is family-friendly! (I should note that he picked out the chickpeas...but he still got some decent nutrition, so it is all good!).
You can use this recipe as a side dish or even an entree if you are looking for a light, meatless dinner.
Love this recipe? Awesome! Please give it a 5 star rating below! And if you make this, snap a photo and tag me on Instagram. You can find me at DizzyBusyandHungry or #dizzybusyandhungry!
Quinoa Chickpea Salad
Quinoa Chickpea Salad
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained
- 3.8 ounces sliced black olives, drained (1 can)
- 14 ounces artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped (1 can)
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
- 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbles (optional - skip this ingredient for a vegan dish)
- Cook quinoa according to package directions.
- While quinoa is cooking, combine the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
- When the quinoa is done, let it sit for about 10 minutes to cool slightly, then add the olive oil/lime juice mixture, chickpeas, black olives, artichoke hearts and mix together.
- Add the spinach, scallions, and feta, and stir until the spinach is slightly wilted.
- You will save money if you perform the quinoa rinsing step yourself using a fine mesh strainer. (The holes in regular colanders are too large for those small seeds)
- Tip for rinsing: Place the strainer in a bowl of water and swish the seeds around with your hand, then lift the strainer out of the bowl to drain. Repeat until the water stays clear.
- Keep an eye on your quinoa when it is cooking. The quinoa seeds are cooked when they look like they have popped open.
- If there is still excess water in the saucepan after cooking you should drain it using a fine mesh strainer.
- Return the cooked and drained quinoa to the saucepan, and let it sit covered for 10 minutes or so. This will help it to set and soak up any remaining liquid so your quinoa chickpea salad won't be mushy.
- This dish can easily be made vegan by just skipping the feta cheese ingredient.
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