Quinoa, chickpeas, juicy cherry tomatoes, and summer squash is topped with olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and fresh herbs. This 20 minute vegan dish is light, flavorful, and fresh!
Easy Vegan Quinoa Salad
I know the adult struggle so well. You’re staring at your fridge with a blank stare, kids screaming in the background, blocking your thoughts. Dinner seems so daunting. What can you whip together within minutes that doesn’t require much time, thought, or energy? Smoky Chickpea and Kale Rice Bowls, Easy Korean Beef Bowl, or Mediterranean Quinoa Salad are all great options, but this one….
Quinoa salad was the first thing to come to mind when I was having one of those nights. It only takes 15 minutes to cook and is packed with nutrition like protein, fat, and fiber. Quinoa makes for a great low car, high protein rice substitute and tastes great with any dish.
Tossing some quinoa into a salad with chickpeas, tomatoes, and summer squash, then topping with lemon juice, olive oil and fresh herbs created an incredibly fresh dish. In the months of winter, these easy to find quinoa salad ingredients will brighten up anyone’s day and remind you of warm summer days.
Ingredients to make Herb and Lemon Quinoa Salad
- Quinoa– known as the “ancient grain,” quinoa is high in protein and is a healthy gluten free option.
- Chickpeas- also high in protein, these are a great vegan alternative to meat.
- Summer squash- when you think of summer eats, summer squash comes to mind. Hello, happy, fresh dish!
- Cherry tomatoes- these juicy, flavorful little tomatoes add an extra fresh and delicious touch to this meal.
- Raw garlic- every dish that’s worth eating begins with garlic. Period.
- Lemon juice- slice a lemon in half and squeeze both halves straight into the dish. It can’t get any more fresh and simple!
- Fresh herbs- basil and mint are closely related in the plant family, so it’s no surprise they mesh well in this meal.
- Olive oil- a bold tasting olive oil signifies it’s authenticity and freshness, but it also adds a deep flavor that is undeniably good.
- Salt & pepper- the celebrity couple of every dish.
Tips to make this Vegan Quinoa Salad
Here are a few ways to make this dinner quicker and easier- although it only takes 20 minutes TOPS to throw together!
- Use precooked or frozen quinoa. My mom used to cook and freeze quinoa and rice into small individual servings, which I now find useful since my time is always limited.
- Blend the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and herbs. Not everyone is good with knife work. If using a knife to finely chop the herbs and garlic seems like a task in itself, toss it into a blender and give it a quick pulse. You want the herbs to be finely chopped but not pureed.
- Use canned chickpeas. I love using canned beans because it’s just too easy to open a can, give them a rinse, and toss them into a dish.
How to make this easy Quinoa Salad
- Cook the quinoa. Just like rice, you will use double the amount of water to the amount of quinoa to cook it. If you are cooking 1 cup of quinoa, you will use 2 cups of water.
- Dice the produce. Halve the cherry tomatoes and cut the summer squash into bite sized pieces.
- Prepare the chickpeas. Drain and rinse the chickpeas in a strainer and set them to the side.
- Make the dressing. In a small blender, combine the garlic, basil, mint, lemon juice and olive oil. Pulse the blender until the herbs and garlic are finely chopped.
- Add the summer squash to the quinoa in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Adding the summer squash to the pot for the last few minutes of cooking will allow the squash to become slightly tender, but still hold it’s delicious crunch.
- Toss everything into one bowl. Add the quinoa, summer squash, tomatoes, chickpeas, and the dressing into one bowl and give it a good mix. Serve and mangia!
Storing & Reheating
Quinoa salad can be store for up to a week in the fridge. Place the quinoa salad in an air tight container (preferably glass) and label with the date.
You can certainly cook quinoa and freeze it to help save time. Quinoa can be stored in airtight glass containers in the freezer for up to 8 months.
Frozen quinoa can be heated up in the microwave. Cooking time will vary upon the size of the container. For small containers, start with two minutes in the microwave.
You can reheat your quinoa salad in the oven if you prefer it warm. Heat your oven to 350° and place it in the oven for 10 minutes. Quinoa salad does not need to be reheated and tastes absolutely delicious as a cold meal.
What goes with quinoa salad?
- Rosemary Garlic Dinner Rolls are a fantastic addition to any dinner table. Made right in the cast iron pan like grandma’s!
- Parmesan Creamed Corn made easily and quickly on the stove top have the perfect saltiness and creamy texture.
- Crispy Baked Eggplant is crunchy yet tender and so delicious!
- Lemon and Basil Ricotta Spaghetti Squash is a fabulous and fresh meal that has similar flavors to the quinoa salad.
- 1 medium sized pot with lid
- large serving bowl
- 1 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 15 oz can of chickpeas
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 medium sized summer squash diced into bite sized pieces
For the dressing
- 3 TBS olive oil
- 1 lemon juiced
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 3 TBS basil
- 2 TBS mint
- 1/2 tsp salt
- In a medium pot, boil 3 cups of water. Once the water is rapidly boiling, add the quinoa. Stir the quinoa, then cover the pot with the lid and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the quinoa for about then minutes.
- Dice the zucchini into bite sized pieces. Halve the cherry tomatoes and place to the side. Drain and rise the chickpeas. In the last 5 minutes of the quinoa cooking, place zucchini in the pot, then place the lid back on.
- Place olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, basil, and mint in the blender. Blend until the herbs are finely chopped.
- When the quinoa is done cooking (15 minutes total), remove from the stove. Plate in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, and the dressing. Stir to combine. Top with a pinch of salt, red pepper flakes, more herbs, or lemon wedges. Mangia!
Nutrition values are estimates, for exact values consult a nutritionist.
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