This zesty quinoa salad is packed with flavor and texture, with diced apples, dried cranberries, chickpeas, bell pepper, feta cheese and more tossed with a delicious vinaigrette. It’s such a simple salad to make, and this quinoa feta chickpea salad is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
What’s so good about this easy quinoa salad?
- It’s packed with nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber which will keep you full.
- It’s really simple to make, especially if you prep the quinoa in advance.
- Zesty quinoa salad is packed with flavor, much of which comes from a simple lemon, olive, oil and vinegar dressing that’s lightly sweetened with honey or maple syrup.
- The Mediterranean inspired flavors of this salad really complement the quinoa.
- This is a great gluten free dish to enjoy, either as a side dish or as a light meal.
- You can prep the different components of the salad in advance for meal prep.
- It’s extremely versatile, toss in whatever you have on hand!
Ingredients you need for this quinoa chickpea salad:
Quinoa: white quinoa for that fluffy texture
Cucumbers– diced pretty small so you don’t get really big chunks in each bite
Red Bell Pepper– adds beautiful color as well as flavor
Green Apple– great for giving some tartness to the salad
Chickpeas– canned work perfectly, just make sure you drain and rinse well
Feta Cheese– you can also use any other cheese you like, or leave this out for a vegan chickpea quinoa salad
Red Onion– these give a little bite and pepperiness
Cranberries– I always like adding something a little sweet to salads
Parsley– some fresh chopped herbs really brighten up the salad
Olive Oil– use good quality olive oil in the salad dressing
Balsamic Vinegar- you can also substitue apple cider vinegar
Garlic– This adds so much flavor to salad dressing
Honey– A hint of sweetness is a must in the dressing, you can also substitute maple syrup
Salt and pepper
Steps to make this yummy salad:
- Make the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients until well combined. Set aside until ready to use. You can also add all the ingredients to a jar and shake to combine.
- Cook the quinoa: Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook uncovered, until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let quinoa absorb any excess liquid for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- In a salad bowl or serving platter, add the cucumbers, bell pepper, green apple, red onion, chickpeas and parsley, mix together. Add the cooked quinoa and toss to combine.
- Drizzle the dressing on top of the salad, and toss to combine. Sprinkle the dried cranberries and feta cheese on top.
Leftover salad will store dressed for 2 days in an air tight container in the fridge, while undressed quinoa salad will last for 4 days.
Prepping zesty quinoa salad in advance:
You can cook the quinoa in advance, and store it in the fridge for 5 days before using in the salad.
You can also prep the salad dressing in advance, and store in a jar for 3-5 days.
Feel free to chop all the veggies and the apples (toss apples with lemon juice to prevent browning) the day before assembling the salad.
Zesty Quinoa Salad tips and tricks:
- Rinse the quinoa thoroughly before cooking to eliminate any bitterness. Let it stand covered 5 minutes after cooking so it absorbs the liquid and becomes fluffy.
- Taste the dressing and make sure the lemon flavor is prominent enough to make a refreshing zesty quinoa salad. If you want even more of a zesty flavor, add the zest of 1 lemon to the dressing.
- Add any extra veggies you like. For even more of a Mediterranean flavor, add olives and sundried tomatoes. Beans would be great, as well as roasted beetroot. You can also top the salad with grilled chicken or grilled salmon to make this more of a complete meal.
Yes, quinoa is naturally gluten free.
Yes, cooked bulgur or couscous would also be delicious. Cook according to package directions.
Yes, use maple syrup in the dressing and leave out the feta cheese. Add vegan cheese instead if desired.
Yes, cook the quinoa and store in the fridge tightly covered, and chop the veggies and apple and store in the fridge. Make the dressing in advance and store in a jar in the fridge. Combine the quinoa, veggies and dressing before serving.
For more delicious salad recipes:
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Zesty Quinoa Salad
For the dressing
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon balsalmic vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- pinch black pepper
For the salad:
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well 160g
- 2 cups water
- 2 cucumbers, diced small
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green apple, diced
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 400g
- 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
For the dressing:
- Whisk together all the dressing ingredients until smooth and combined. Set aside.
For the salad:
- Combine the rinsed quinoa and the water in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook uncovered, until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes, to give it time to fluff up. Cool to room temperature.
- In a serving plate, add the cucumbers, bell pepper, green apple, red onion, chickpeas and parsley. Toss to combine. Add the cooled cooked quinoa and mix to combine.
- Drizzle the dressing on top of the salad, and toss to combine.
- Sprinkle the dried cranberries and feta on top, and serve.
- Rinse the quinoa before cooking to get rid of any bitter flavor.
- Cook the quinoa in advance to save time. You can also make the salad dressing in advance and store in a jar in the fridge, taste the dressing and adjust for seasoning.
- Add any a more well rounded meal.extra veggies you like, or top the finished salad with grilled chicken or salmon to make this