Introducing my favorite quinoa salad! I’ve published more than a few quinoa salads over the years and I genuinely love all of them, but this recipe is officially my favorite.
This quinoa salad is refreshing, crisp and delicious. It’s made simply with fresh cucumber, red bell pepper, red onion, chickpeas, fresh parsley and a garlicky olive oil and lemon dressing. The salad sort of reminds me of tabouleh, an herbed Lebanese salad with tomatoes and bulgur.
The Best Quinoa Salad
Three reasons to love this recipe:
- This quinoa salad recipe is also very easy to toss together, especially if you use leftover quinoa (see recipe note). The recipe uses my preferred quinoa cooking method, which yields fluffy quinoa every time.
- This salad packs great for lunch, picnics, road trips and plane rides.
- Bring this allergy-friendly salad along to your next potluck—it’s vegan/dairy free, gluten free, and nut free, for all to enjoy.
This recipe doesn’t taste “basic,” but it has a lot of merits that make it a staple recipe in my kitchen. I hope it becomes your go-to quinoa salad recipe, too! Please let me know how it turns out for you in the comments.
Watch How to Make Quinoa Salad
My summer has been punctuated by fun, casual get-togethers with friends. Spontaneous afternoons at the pool, walks around the park, and potlucks—yes to all of the above. It’s nice to have supplies at the ready. My pool bag is packed with magazines and sunscreen, and my fridge is stocked with quinoa salad and Bota Box Wine (thank you, Bota Box!).
The “Bota Mini” size is super portable and easy to grab for an evening picnic at the park. The small boxes are convenient because you don’t have to remember to bring a bottle opener, and the empty boxes are lightweight and recyclable. Each 500 mL mini contains three glasses of wine, or just over half of a standard wine bottle. I recommend pairing their light, crisp Sauvignon blanc with this refreshing summer salad.
Please let me know how this recipe turns out for you in the comments! I love hearing from you and hope this quinoa salad becomes your favorite, too.
Craving more fresh and delicious salads? Here are a few more:
- Quinoa Broccoli Slaw
- Sun-Dried Tomato, Quinoa and Spinach Salad
- Mexican(ish) Kale and Quinoa Salad
- Herbed Quinoa and Chickpea Salad
Favorite Quinoa Salad
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 8 side salads 1x
- Category: Salad
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
This quinoa salad recipe is the best! Everyone loves this healthy quinoa salad made with quinoa, chickpeas, red bell pepper, cucumber, parsley and lemon. It’s vegan and gluten free, too! Recipe yields 4 medium salads or 8 side salads.
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed in a fine-mesh colander
- 2 cups water
- 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 medium cucumber, seeded and chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- ¾ cup chopped red onion (from 1 small red onion)
- 1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (from 1 large bunch)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup lemon juice (from 2 to 3 lemons)
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- To cook the quinoa: 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, reducing heat as time goes on to maintain a gentle simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes, to give it time to fluff up.
- In a large serving bowl, combine the chickpeas, cucumber, bell pepper, onion and parsley. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic and salt. Whisk until blended, then set aside.
- Once the quinoa is mostly cool, add it to the serving bowl, and drizzle the dressing on top. Toss until the mixture is thoroughly combined. Season with black pepper, to taste, and add an extra pinch of salt if necessary. For best flavor, let the salad rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
- This salad keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for about 4 days. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Recipe inspired by the outrageous herbaceous chickpea salad in my cookbook (page 71) and my quinoa tabbouli.
*Quinoa note: If you happen to have 3 cups of leftover cooked quinoa, you can use it instead of cooking more.
Change it up: This salad is awesome as written. You can serve it on fresh greens with an extra drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon juice for dressing. Feel free to top it with crumbled feta cheese or a dollop of cashew sour cream (recipe in my cookbook, page 217).
▸ Nutrition Information
This post was sponsored by Bota Box and I received compensation for my participation. Opinions are my own, always. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who support C+K!
Love this recipe, it is my go-to for potlucks as it is vegan, gluten, and soy free. Sometimes I like to sub the parsley for kale if I don’t have it, and I usually like to add halved cherry tomatoes as well.
Super delicious and great on top of mixed greens. I love how healthy and delicious this is. Easy to make to.
Great to hear, Carole!
I like adding just a little lemon pepper to this salad. I’ll be making it many more times. Thank you for the recipe. Oh, and I had no idea you could cook quinoa without a lid. It works perfectly!
Deliciousness. I add diced avocado when serving. Takes this delicious salad to another level.
I love this recipe. I also add pickled jalapeños and use pickled red onions. Oh and I add the zest of the lemons.
Hello! I tried searching the numerous comments but didn’t see an answer. How much olive oil do you use? It just has an “x” by it.
Hi Jenn, see the ingredient list – 1/4 cup olive oil.
I made this recipe mostly because my son has restricted his diet to mostly vegetarian (organic meats sometimes), dairy free, organic gluten only, etc. Also, my husband and I need to lose weight and eat healthier, so it seemed like one to try. They sell something similar at Costco, but I looked at the ingredients and knew my son wouldn’t eat it (probably had soy oil). My son loved it and my husband must have liked it too because he ate a good amount. I also enjoyed it. Great recipe. Also – I made it exactly as the recipe called for. Although someone’s idea of using lime, cilantro, etc. to make it Tex Mex sounds like a good variaion. Thanks.
Thank you for sharing, Kris!
This recipe is spot on!!! It is bright, colorful with a super tasty dressing. I have a granddaughter who is lactose intolerant and vegetarian; this is an ideal recipe for a shared lunch with her.
Wonderful, Diane! I appreciate your review.
That is a brilliant salad. I just made it here in New Zealand and will definitely make it again. So yummy and fresh. Thanks for sharing ❤️
How long does this last for meal prep purposes?
It should last for a few days in the fridge.
Simply the best!! I added feta-cheese :3 simply the best quinoa recipe ive ever tried.
Great to hear! Thank you for sharing, Anna.
I love this salad! Made it quite a few times… thank you for a wonderful recipe!
Can I sub pearl barley for the quinoa just to change it up?
You could try it. Let me know what you think!
This is excellent! My daughter said she could eat it every day. My mom asked me for the recipe. Thank you for sharing this.
Great to hear, Carol! Thank you for your review.
Quick question: what can I sub in for chickpeas? They’re not my favorite, unfortunately. Thanks!
Hi! You can omit them if you prefer.
Madelyn, you could sub in Edamame beans, they would work really well.
You can sub any white bean. I didn’t have chick peas so I used cannellini )white kidney beans). The salad was delicious!
I used edemame last time because I was out of chickpeas. (Discovered after prepping most of it.) Worked great!!
That’s great to hear, Heather!
I’ve used fava beans, mixed beans, white beans, black beans. I’ve even used lentils, but that’s a stretch.
made this exactly as the recipe says.Love it!
I also added halved cherry tomatoes, pomegranate seeds and crumbled before serving.
I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for your review, Matt.
I’ve made this salad a few times and it’s a favorite of mine. Hubby isn’t big on quinoa, so it’s a treat I make for myself. I made it today as part of my meal prep for my lunch this week. I didn’t have parsley, so I omitted it-I didn’t feel like running to the store for just a bunch of parsley. It’s great with it but it’s still delicious without. I also sub the red bell pepper for chopped grape/cherry tomato; that’s just my personal preference. I also top with a little crumbled feta when I get dish it up.I made this for a work potluck a while back because we have one vegetarian and one person with celiac and I wanted something that they could enjoy. At the end of the day I went to retrieve the remains to take home-the bowl was empty and someone had washed and dried it for me! It was a hit with everyone
Prepared this almost word for word. My wife does not care for chick peas so those were omitted. Added some halved grape tomatoes and some carrot confetti.
I wouldn’t change a thing and will be making it again and again. Clean, fresh, healthy and delicious!
Thank you for sharing how you made it, Ed!
Delicious salad!! Highly recommend, I tried it twice so far. The first time I followed the recipe 100%, the second time I chose to add extra lemon juice, tomatoes, canned corn, and fresh cilantro. Very fun recipe.
Great to hear, Tiffany!
Just made this…amazing and will definitely be making this often. Thank you so much
You’re welcome, Diane!
Simple and delicious! I added spinach too.
Great to hear, Eliza!
I’ve been making this salad every week for the past month.. it’s so fresh and delicious!
I love to hear that! Thank you for your review.
Great recipe, thank you. I didn’t have any cucumber so I added some green onion and asparagus instead. I also added a little shredded coconut, a few chopped dates and a little grated raw ginger. I missed out the vinegar and added more lemon juice. There are so many variations that can be used so I will make this again and again
Can this be frozen? I make it a lot. Love it, but never tried to freeze.
I don’t know if this would be the best one to freeze. The vegetables may not hold up as well.
Can you please give me the approximate serving size for “8 side salads” in either cups or ounces. Or even just how much one recipe approximately makes in cups. I plan on making it for a crowd and serving in individual clear plastic cups. Thank you.
Hi, roughly 1.5-2 cups. I hope you love it, Toni!
Made this tonight. Loved it! Served over a roasted Portabella mushroom and a little feta sprinkled on top. Time consuming but worth every minute.
I’m happy to hear you thought it was worth it!
Love this recipe
Can you tell me the serving size ie weight /carbs ??? 25.9g
Just not sure
This salad is wonderful!
My family really liked it as well
I added feta cheese and A few Greek Olives, but is delicious without them
So rich in protein.
Great recipe! I doubled it and cooked my own chickpeas.
Also tried a variation adding a few drops of balsamic vinegar and some feta cheese crumbles.
Both are yum. I’m taking one more step – freezing a small portion. I have a big batch so why not?!
Love this salad! We eat it quite often at our house and at my daughter’s house. Even my granddaughters life it!
I love this recipe and make it all the time. It’s easy to customize depending on taste. Today, I subbed watercress for the parsley and added Peppadew peppers and dried apricot for a touch of sweetness. So good! Thanks, Kate!
You’re welcome, Nash! Thank you for your review.