Combining the wholesome goodness of chickpeas, the nutritional powerhouse of quinoa, and the vibrant flavors of the Mediterranean, this Chickpea and Vegan Mediterranean Quinoa Salad is a symphony of textures and tastes that celebrates the essence of a healthy and delicious meal. Packed with plant-based protein, fiber, and a bounty of colorful vegetables, this salad is a feast for the senses and a nourishing delight. Let’s embark on a culinary journey and explore the step-by-step recipe for crafting this vibrant and flavorful salad that will transport you to the shores of the Mediterranean.
Ingredients you’ll need:
For the Salad:
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups water or vegetable broth
- 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained & rinsed
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 red chopped onion
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted & sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped (optional)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
For the Lemon Herb Dressing:
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1-2 lemons (adjust to taste)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt and black pepper to taste
1. Cook the Quinoa
The rinsed quinoa should be combined with water or vegetable broth in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, cover the pan & continue cooking the quinoa for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the grains are soft and the liquid has been absorbed. After it has been cooked, the quinoa should be fluffed with a fork and let to cool before serving.
2. Prepare the Dressing
In a small bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, dried oregano, dried thyme, salt, and black pepper. Add more lemon juice, herbs, or salt to taste and adjust the flavors.
3. Assemble the Salad
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, drained chickpeas, halved cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, diced red bell pepper, finely chopped red onion, and sliced Kalamata olives.
4. Add the Freshness
Gently fold in the chopped fresh parsley and mint (if using). These herbs add a burst of freshness & elevate the flavors of the salad.
5. Drizzle the Dressing
Pour the lemon herb dressing over the salad ingredients. Use a large spoon to gently toss and coat the salad with the sauce. Ensure that all the ingredients are well combined.
6. Season to Perfection
Taste the salad & season with additional salt and black pepper if needed. Adjust the flavors to your preference, ensuring a harmonious balance of tastes.
7. Chill and Marinate
Cover the salad bowl with plastic wrap & refrigerate the salad for at least 30 minutes. Chilling allows the flavors to meld and infuse the salad components with the zesty and herbaceous dressing.
8. Serve and Savor
When you are ready to serve, give the salad a final gentle toss. Spoon the Chickpea and Vegan Mediterranean Quinoa Salad onto plates or into bowls, ensuring a colorful and balanced distribution of ingredients.
9. Garnish and Enjoy
Garnish each serving with additional fresh parsley and a drizzle of olive oil if desired. The salad can be enjoyed as a hearty meal, with crusty bread, or as a refreshing side dish to complement other Mediterranean-inspired words.
10. Store and Rejoice
If there are any leftovers of the Chickpea and Vegan Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, you may preserve them in the refrigerator for up to two or three days in an airtight container. The flavors will continue to meld & intensify, making the salad even more delightful with each passing day.
Crafting a bowl of Chickpea and Vegan Mediterranean Quinoa Salad is an invitation to embrace the Mediterranean region’s vibrant colors and bold flavors. With a symphony of vegetables, nutrient-rich chickpeas, and the wholesome goodness of quinoa, this salad pays homage to taste and nutrition. Whether enjoyed as a satisfying lunch, a light dinner, or a refreshing side dish, this vibrant creation captures the essence of the Mediterranean spirit—celebrating the beauty of fresh ingredients and the joy of savoring every bite. As you relish the harmonious blend of textures and tastes, let the Chickpea and Vegan Mediterranean Quinoa Salad transport you to sun-kissed shores and the culinary delights of a cherished region.