Warm Lemon Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas {Recipe}

Inspiration comes from the most unexpected places sometimes. I was in the office break room the other day waiting for my lunch to finish heating. As I stood there, a man came in with a pouch that looked to have come from Target. He microwaved the pouch for a minute or so and then poured the contents into a bowl. They tumbled out with a puff of steam. It looked like quinoa, chickpeas, red bell pepper, and spinach. And it looked good. Since I’m not a fan of processed food, I immediately started thinking of how I could create a similar concoction with whole foods.

It wasn’t until a couple weeks later that I had time to play with the idea, but the result was a success. I made Warm Lemon Quinoa Salad (with chickpeas, red bell pepper, and spinach).

Warm Lemon Quinoa Salad Recipe

I love the versatility of this recipe. You can serve it as a fun side dish or protein-packed vegan/vegetarian entrée.

Did you know that quinoa is a great source of protein for non-meat-eaters? According to this Natural News article on quinoa:

Quinoa is perhaps one of the most perfect non-animal sources of protein on the planet. What makes quinoa (pronounce keen-wah) unique is that it is the only plant based source of complete protein. “Complete” means that it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids that are crucial to human function and health.

Warm Lemon Quinoa Salad Recipe

As I was working on this recipe, I wasn’t sure how to season the quinoa at first. When I originally saw the packaged quinoa dish at work, I could only capture the ingredients with my eyes. I only saw the major components. But, lemon turned out to be a good choice. I think it really brightens up the flavor. And, the lemon also makes this a great dish for the upcoming spring season. Potlucks, anyone?

Warm Lemon Quinoa Salad Recipe

I enjoyed this Warm Lemon Quinoa Salad with a slice of broccoli cheddar quiche with a whole wheat crust. The recipe for the quiche (and another flavor!) is queued up for another day.

Warm Lemon Quinoa Salad Recipe

Feel free to switch up the mixing to our liking. This recipe is pretty versatile.

Warm Lemon Quinoa Salad Recipe

Warm Lemon Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas {Recipe}
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This recipe makes for a great protein-packed vegan/vegetarian entrée or everyday side dish. Consider even trying it for breakfast. Top it with a fried egg! And, freshest is always best, but this dish also reheats well for easy leftover eats.
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (cooked according to package directions – I used water, but broth would be more flavorful)
  • 1½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped small
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach (or sub baby spinach, about 4-6 loose cups – it wilts down!)
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ¼ teaspoon, plus more to taste
  • salt, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add chickpeas and spread to an even layer. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until lightly browned. Stir and repeat. Move to a bowl.
  2. If needed, add a little extra olive oil (about ½ tablespoon). Add the bell peppers and cook for about 2 minutes, until just softening.
  3. Add spinach and 1 tablespoon water and cover with a lid to steam for 1 minute. Remove lid, stir and cook till wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add quinoa, chickpeas, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Taste test and season with additional garlic salt, salt, and/or pepper, as desired. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
Serving size will depend on whether you serve this as an entrée or side dish.

 

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Here are some more great quinoa recipe ideas (from breakfast to dessert):

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If you like this recipe, let me know by sharing this recipe using one of the share buttons below or leaving a comment. I love hearing from you! And, your feedback lets me know what kinds of recipes/posts to do in the future!

Happy cooking!

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Comments

  1. Chelsie says

    Diana, thanks for sharing this – it sounds so tasty! I am looking forward to trying it. In your opinion, where is the best place to buy quinoa in Charlotte?

    • says

      Hi Chelsie! If you just want to get a little quinoa to try this recipe, then I suggest hitting up the bulk bins. I’m pretty sure they sell quinoa in the bulk bins at Earthfare, Healthy Home Market, and Whole Foods. Harris Teeter (and I think most other grocery stores) usually sell quinoa in packages near the rice/grains. And I know HT even has a nice organic quinoa packaged! Happy cooking! :)

  2. Dee says

    Diana I soooo thought this was you then thought maybe it was a close resemblance. then I googled her and realized it actually is you!!!!!!. but just wanted to give you a heads up. not sure if anyone else will be using this pic.

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