Keeping things really simple today with this handy salad, since we’re all cooking with what’s on hand these days! This is a version of a salad I’ve been making for years, with some veg that I had to clear out of the fridge before it turned, and my go-to mustard and white wine vinegar dressing.
For the next while, I want to be sure to share recipes that are easily altered to substitute what you have at home (I always list substitutions, but this is that on steroids). For this salad, you can use pretty much whatever you want, as long as you keep the quinoa in the mix.
This recipe uses Bob’s Red Mill organic quinoa, which is a big favourite since they rinse well and dry before packaging so it’s not bitter at all. Because rinsing quinoa is the most frustrating thing – it’s just so small. Get out of my sieve, please.
What to put in my salad
A couple things beyond the quinoa and chickpeas. It’s a pretty basic recipe, because I didn’t have much in the house when I made it, just a cucumber, half a pomegranate, and onions of course plus herbs from the garden. You can use pretty much any vegetables you have in the house, raw or roasted.
So think things like roasted red peppers from a jar, frozen corn, or any fresh vegetables. Carrots cut small, peppers, asparagus, radishes, whatever you like or have. No pomegranate? Use a handful of raisins or dried cranberries. If you don’t have herbs in the house or garden, you can use jarred or frozen pesto. Even some dried would be fine – dill, maybe.
If you find that raw onion is too sharp for you, you can use pickled onions instead or a tiny bit of minced garlic, or even chives or green onion. Or leave it out if you’re really anti raw alliums, though I think it needs that bit of bite. The herbs are key here so include them unless you absolutely can’t get any, and then use pesto or something like it instead.
I really like to cook a big batch of quinoa and chickpeas or other beans once a week, so this comes together really quickly. If you’re cooking the quinoa from scratch (as it outlines in the instructions) it’ll still only take about 20 minutes to put together, so it does make a great weeknight dinner. Canned or cooked chickpeas, doesn’t matter.
It’s quite a big batch of vinaigrette but it’s a pretty big salad, too. If you add some of the dressing and find that it’s too much, just add how much you like and store the rest in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week. What can I say, I like a saucy salad, and the quinoa really sucks up the vinaigrette.
I would have added lemon here if I had any, so feel free to add the zest and juice of a lemon if you’d like. For lunch the next day, I did add a bit of preserved lemon to the leftovers and loved the little salty/acidic kick they gave. I’ve included lemon as an option in the recipe because it really is better with a bit of citrus.
More great quinoa recipes
This Moroccan quinoa salad is a favourite, but I don’t have any greens in the garden yet so it’s not on the menu here right now. If you have a pumpkin kicking around, this roasted vegetable quinoa salad is great. Or try one of these!
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For the Quinoa
- 250 grams / 1 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill Organic Quinoa
- 750 ml / 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
For the Salad
- 225 grams / 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 30 grams / 1 cup mixed herbs, roughly chopped (parsley, thyme, basil, oregano, etc.)
- 1 small red onion, finely sliced
- 1 English cucumber, diced
- A handful pomegranate seeds or raisins
- 125 ml / 1/2 cup olive oil
- 80 ml / 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard*
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Zest and juice of a lemon (optional)
- To cook the quinoa, add the dry quinoa, water, and salt to a medium pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 12 minutes or until all of the water has been absorbed. Set aside to cool while you prepare the other salad elements.
- Place the chickpeas, herbs, cucumber, onion, and pomegranate seeds into a large mixing bowl.
- To make the vinaigrette, add all of the ingredients to a jar or container and mix until very well combined.
- Add the quinoa to the bowl with the vegetables and top with the vinaigrette. Mix well, and serve immediately or refrigerate for up to three days in a sealed container. Leftovers keep well and the salad tastes better on the second day.
* I more often use the German version of yellow mustard, which is between the highlighter yellow hotdog mustard and a proper dijon mustard, so use what you have.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 297Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 571mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 5gSugar: 12gProtein: 5g
This data is provided by a calculator and is a rough estimation of the nutritional information in this recipe.