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prepared quinoa salad with chickpeas on a dark slate plate with sliced cucumber, and cherry tomatoes in background with fork in salad

Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas

Course: dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Jennifer Aniston Salad, quinoa chickpea salad
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 444kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey
This delightful quinoa salad with chickpeas will delight your tastebuds with the textures and flavors of cucumber, pickled onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, and more. Top with a flavorful and easy-to-make rose balsamic vinaigrette, (vegan) feta cheese, and avocado, and you will be wondering where this flavorful crunch salad has been all of your life!
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Ingredients

  • ½ cup quinoa dry
  • 1 cup water
  • cup cucumber diced
  • 5 roma tomatoes diced
  • cup bell pepper diced
  • 1 cup red onion diced
  • ¼ cup parsley chopped
  • 10-15 mint leaves chopped
  • 15 ounces chickpeas drained
  • 2 cups pickled onions see below
  • ½ cup pistachio nuts shelled
  • ½ cup vegan feta
  • 1 avocado diced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Vinaigrette Dressing

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup rose balsamic vinegar can substitute white balsamic
  • 2 cloves garlic minced finely
  • 1 Tablespoon agave
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  • Rinse the quinoa before cooking. This is a step you should not skip. (See blog post above.) In a small saucepan, add the rinsed quinoa and water. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil on high.Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Keep the lid on and let stand for 5 minutes till the water has all absorbed. Drain any excess
  • While the quinoa is cooking, drain the chickpeas, mince the mint leaves, and shell the pistachios (if not already). Dice the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and bell pepper. Measure out the pickled onions and feta cheese. Set the feta aside separately. Save dicing the avocado till just before serving.
  • Place the cooked quinoa in a large salad bowl and allow to cool somewhat.
  • While the quinoa is cooling, make the vinaigrette. Whisk together the rose balsamic, olive oil, minced garlic, agave, salt and pepper.
  • Place all the ingredients except for the feta cheese and diced avocado into the salad bowl along with the cooked quinoa. Toss together with the vinaigrette.
  • Add the vegan feta cheese and diced avocado right before serving. See notes.

Notes

You will need to plan ahead for the pickled onions and vegan feta cheese.
My recipe for Pink Onions is fabulous in this recipe. It's best to make it at least 6 hours before serving. 
Suggestions for vegan feta cheese are in the blog post above. If you are not vegan, then of course use any feta you'd like. If you are making your own feta cheese, plan for the time to make it according to the recipe directions for the recipe you choose.
Not all vegan feta cheese is made the same. Some may not stand up well to sitting in a salad long-term. I suggest waiting until just before serving to add the feta cheese. If you are making this for meal prep then save the feta in little containers and add right before serving. 
I personally am not a fan of "old" avocado. I dice mine right before serving. 

Nutrition

Calories: 444kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 330mg | Potassium: 939mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 2013IU | Vitamin C: 71mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 4mg