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Simple Quinoa Chickpea Salad

This Quinoa Chickpea Salad is made with simple, wholesome ingredients that make it not only delicious but also beautiful and filling.

overhead shot of quinoa chickpea salad in 3 colorful bowls

It is a light and easy salad that includes fresh ingredients like quinoa, chickpeas, and veggies with a tangy orange miso dressing.

Perfect for lunch, picnics, and family gatherings. I’ve taken it to a number of social functions and always come home with an empty bowl.

This salad is amazing because it’s…

  • Super flavorful
  • Sweet & zesty
  • Hearty
  • Filling
  • Simple to make
  • Delicious!
quinoa chickpea salad in gray bowl with salt shakers in background

How to make quinoa chickpea salad

If you happen to have leftover quinoa hanging out in your refrigerator waiting for you to get around to it before it goes bad, you’re in luck. Having it already cooked takes out the most time-consuming step in this recipe.

Quinoa used in this salad is a highly nutritious grain that was a staple in the diet of the ancient Incas. It has a delicious flavor and a light, fluffy texture. It’s also packed with protein!

Cooking quinoa

For those that need to start from scratch, cook the quinoa according to the package directions. This means first rinsing it in a rice rinsing bowl. If it isn’t rinsed well, quinoa can have a bitter taste.

cooked quinoa in pan with white spoon

Quinoa cooks on the stovetop just like rice in about 15-minutes, but I prefer to make it my rice steamer. The rice steamer simplifies everything. I just add the quinoa and water, press the button, and walk away.

You will know when quinoa is done when all the water is absorbed and the grains have turned from white to transparent.

two photos of quinoa. one before cooked and one after

While the quinoa is cooking, go ahead and dice up the green onions, cherry tomatoes, and cilantro. Regular tomatoes can also be used, I just like that the cherry tomatoes are round and uniform in size. They make for a beautiful salad.

diced green onion, tomatoes, and cilantro

If you are using canned chickpeas in this recipe, drain and rinse them in a colander to remove most of the salt and preservatives. I do this by dumping the container into a colander or strainer and running warm water over it.

chickpeas draining in strainer with handle

Quinoa salad dressing

The dressing for this quinoa salad is one of my favorite parts. It’s an Orange Miso Asian Salad Dressing that I also use as a salad and pasta dressing. This recipe will actually make more than you need for this salad, so you’ll have a little left to keep in the refrigerator to drizzle over those garden and/or kale salads.

It’s very easy to make by whisking together the few ingredients required in a small bowl. Ingredients include orange juice, rice vinegar, miso, garlic, ginger, sweetener, and black sesame seeds.

quinoa salad dressing in glass bowl with whisk

Assembling quinoa chickpea salad

Once the quinoa has finished cooking, place it in a large bowl and add the other ingredients–chickpeas, diced veggies, and orange miso dressing.

quinoa, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro in large stainless mixing bowl

Mix together thoroughly to coat well. This salad can be served immediately or chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Allowing it time to marinate actually enhances the flavors.

Believe me when I say that everyone is going to love this recipe. We make it in the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Food for Life classes that I teach, and participants always go crazy over this stuff.

*Originally published September 25, 2015.

Recipe from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Tips for making this recipe

  • Always rinse the quinoa before cooking, as the package directs. There is a natural film on the quinoa that can taste bitter if not rinsed off before cooking.
  • If you are using canned chickpeas for this recipe, remember to drain and rinse the liquid before adding it to the salad.
  • I highly advise making extra dressing while you’re at it and use it on salads.
quinoa chickpea salad in 3 colorful bowls blue, green, yellow

Your Questions Answered:

  • Q: What can I substitute for miso paste? Though I haven’t tried it, probably soy sauce would make a fair substitute. However, the miso really adds to the flavor of this recipe, so I highly recommend using it instead when possible.
  • Q: Can I freeze this salad? I would imagine it would freeze just fine. There aren’t any ingredients in it that I consider nonfreezable, so I say give it a try.
  • Q: Is this recipe gluten-free? Yes, it is! Quinoa and chickpeas are gluten-free as well as other ingredients.

Other great salad recipes

overhead shot of quinoa chickpea salad in 3 colorful bowls

Quinoa Chickpea Salad

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

This quinoa chickpea salad is made with simple, wholesome ingredients that make it only delicious but also beautiful and filling.

Ingredients

Salad Ingredients

  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 1.5 cups garbanzo beans (chickpeas), cooked or canned, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup orange juice, (juice from 2 oranges)
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons white or yellow miso
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated or minced
  • 2 teaspoon black sesame seeds

Instructions

Salad

  1. Cook the quinoa according to the package directions. This means first rinsing it in a rice rinsing bowl. If it isn’t rinsed well, quinoa can have a bitter taste.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, go ahead and dice up the green onions, cherry tomatoes, and cilantro. Regular tomatoes can also be used, I just like that the cherry tomatoes are round and uniform in size. They make for a beautiful salad.
  3. If you are using canned chickpeas in this recipe, drain and rinse them in a colander to remove most of the salt and preservatives. I do this by dumping the container into a colander or strainer.
  4. Whisk together the salad dressing ingredients in a small bowl. This dressing recipe will actually make more than you need for this salad, so you'll have a little left to keep in the refrigerator to drizzle over those garden and/or kale salads.
  5. Once the quinoa has finished cooking, place it in a large bowl, and add the chickpeas, diced veggies. Last, pour about 1/4 cup or a little more of the orange miso dressing in and mix together thoroughly to coat well. Add more if you prefer.
  6. This salad can be served immediately or chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Allowing it time to marinate actually enhances the flavors.

Notes

Detailed instructions, in-process photos, and my personal helpful tips can be found in the article above.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 95Total Fat: 2gCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 4g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

Did you make this recipe?

Please rate and leave a comment because I love hearing from you. Remember SHARING IS CARING!

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Orange Miso Dressing is so delicious with this recipe!

Char

Sunday 13th of September 2020

Do you think it would still taste good using plain Rice Vinegar without the salt and sugar?

Terri Edwards

Monday 14th of September 2020

Hi Char- I haven't tried it without salt and sugar, but if you are used to a diet void of those it should still taste good to you, I would think.

Aimee B.

Wednesday 12th of August 2020

This looks lovely! Is there something I can use in place of miso, or may I just leave it out? Also, how much is 1 serving? I was thinking maybe 1/2 cup, but if it's larger, even better, lol! Thank you.

Terri Edwards

Wednesday 12th of August 2020

Hi Aimee- I haven't tried to substitute for the miso, but this article has some good ideas for substitutions (except for the fish sauce of course). I would say that 1/2 cup is a good guesstimate of the serving size. Hope you enjoy the salad! https://thestonesoup.com/blog/best-substitutes-miso-paste/

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