I love salads that eat like a full meal, particularly ones packed with fiber and protein, without meat. This easy quinoa and chickpea salad has a touch of Moroccan influence. Made with cooked quinoa, it’s also easy to make.
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A Moroccan Influence For A Chickpea Salad
Before traveling to Morocco, I never would have associated Moroccan cuisine with so many great salads. Most meals start with a handful of small salad dishes for sharing. These often featured lentils, chickpeas, or vegetables like carrots or eggplant.
We’ve been cooking a lot of Moroccan cuisine in the year since we returned from our Moroccan food tour. This means tagines, chickpeas, lentils, harissa, and most of all cumin. Cumin is so popular in Moroccan cuisine that it replaces pepper on the table.
Although this Moroccan chickpea salad is not a traditional Moroccan recipe, I included some of the typical ingredients and seasonings to make it Moroccan-influenced. This means olive oil, cumin, paprika, carrots, and raisins.
Check out some of our other Moroccan inspired recipes:
Benefits Of Quinoa
I feel like over the last decade there has been an entire volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica on the benefits of quinoa. Quinoa is a Peruvian grain that’s been around for hundreds of years. It’s gained notoriety in the last decade or two in the vegan and vegetarian world because it is so backed with good stuff that it can make up for a lack of traditional proteins in the diet.
Quinoa is high in protein, fiber, and minerals like folate, iron, zinc, and magnesium. It’s one of the most high-fiber grains. It’s also gluten-free, which makes it a good alternative to pastas and other grains. Quinoa also improves the metabolism.
One of the reasons why I love adding quinoa to salads is because it adds some nice bulk to a salad. This is what turns a salad into a meal rather than a snack or side dish. Mixing quinoa and chickpeas in one salad means a meal that is high in protein and fiber.
Check out some of our other Vegetarian Moroccan Recipes:
Ingredients For Quinoa And Chickpea Salad
The dressing for this salad is pretty simple. I used to be intimidated by making my own salad dressing at home, but now I find it super easy. In this case, use a high-quality olive oil (preferably a Moroccan olive oil if possible), along with freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt, cumin, sweet paprika, and honey. Most of these ingredients are ones in a typical kitchen pantry.
Chickpea Salad Ingredients
In addition to quinoa and canned chickpeas, the salad includes yellow pepper, shredded carrot, fresh spinach, a bit of fresh cilantro (coriander), and raisins. I like using yellow or red pepper in salads because they add some nice color. They also are more sweet than green pepper.
I also like using shredded carrots rather than diced because they are easier on the teeth. This started when we were living in Spain because the stores sold shredded carrots and I was lazy! But, now we have an OXO 3 Piece Peeler Set, which includes a julienne peeler. This makes it so much easier to shred carrots for salad.
Looking for more chickpea lunch options? Check out this recipe for Vegetarian Chickpea Patties.
How To Make An Easy Chickpea Salad With Quinoa
The hardest thing about this salad is making the quinoa ahead of time. This recipe calls for two cups of cooked quinoa, which is about a ½ cup of uncooked quinoa. I make it ahead of time, generally, the morning before or the day before, so that it has time to cool before adding it to the salad. Just follow the package instructions for the quinoa you have at home.
Preparing The Dressing
To make the dressing, add the lemon juice to a small bowl. I like to add the lemon juice first in case a seed sneaks in. Then, add the salt, cumin, paprika, olive oil, and honey. Use a wire whisk to blend the dressing.
Always taste the dressing and make any adjustments that are needed. The flavor of the dressing will always differ a bit based on the type of olive oil used and the type of honey. If it seems a bit thick or concentrated, add a tablespoon of water to take away this concentrated flavor. This can sometimes happen when using a good quality olive oil.
Preparing The Chickpea Salad
Place the dressing to the side and start adding the other ingredients into a larger bowl where you can blend the salad easily.
Add the carrot, pepper, raisins, and chickpeas to a large bowl. Add the dressing and use a spatula to mix well. Add the spinach, cilantro, and quinoa and stir to coat in the dressing.
If preparing the salad ahead of time, add the quinoa and greens at the last minute to avoid the quinoa from getting too soggy.
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 shredded carrot
- 1 yellow pepper, diced
- 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
- ⅓ cup of raisins
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon
- 2 tablespoon honey
- Sprinkle of salt
- To make the dressing, add the lemon juice to a small bowl. Then, add the salt, cumin, paprika, olive oil, and honey.
- Use a wire whisk to blend the dressing. Always taste the dressing and make any adjustments that are needed.
- Place the dressing to the side and start adding the other ingredients into a larger bowl where you can blend the salad easily.
- Add the carrot, pepper, raisins, and chickpeas to a large bowl. Add the dressing and use a spatula to mix well.
- Add the spinach, cilantro, and quinoa and stir to coat in the dressing.
The additional time is the time it takes to make the quinoa ahead of time.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 450Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 235mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 10gSugar: 20gProtein: 12g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.