This quinoa chickpea salad might just be the easiest you’ve ever made. And with loads of lemon and dill, possibly the tastiest too!
Good thing it’s simple AND tasty, because I’ll be honest: I’ve been struggling with meals the last few months. Nothing really sounds that great and I don’t ever feel like making dinner. Or breakfast or lunch for that matter. And I rarely have anything healthy, satisfying, and that fits my narrow parameters at the ready in the fridge. SO off I go to Starbucks for another glorified fast food meal. Hey, I might be all about creating recipes, but this is real life, my friends. And real life is up and down, am I right?
After chatting with my awesome intuitive eating nutrition counselor (a story for another day!), I realized that, yep, I am just plain burned out.
Why? Well, for one, I’ve been a vegetarian for about 17 years. And I don’t think I can ever go back to eating meat, even though meals might be a lot easier if I did. Plus, I eliminated dairy a couple of years ago. Bye bye cheese (sob) and yogurt (whimper). Then, last year, I took a food sensitivity test. Soy and eggs were on my naughty list. So I eliminated them for awhile to see if it made a difference (it didn’t – I actually felt even worse without them).
But since then, mentally, I realized I’ve really only been considering beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds valid sources of protein. Maybe eggs, but only one per day! Because high cholesterol!
Nothing like a severely restricted diet to take the joy out of the kitchen. I mean, it kind of makes sense that I burned out, right?
Well, this salad was kind of a weird little revelation. Granted, it’s another beans-for-protein situation (well, and the quinoa has protein too), but it’s just SO EASY to whip up and have in the fridge, at the ready for snack attacks or quick lunches. And that’s half the battle, because I’ve been feeling like I never have anything wholesome and healthy that I CAN eat actually available TO eat.
So I’m working a few angles to help bring the joy back to the kitchen and into my diet, one being expanding my list of proteins, like putting store-bought meat substitutes back on my mental “okay to eat” list and experimenting with goat/sheep cheeses. Another is just always having something super easy in the fridge to grab at a moment’s notice. Something exactly like this Simple Lemon Dill Quinoa Chickpea Salad!
And by simple, I really do mean simple. Only 8 ingredients, and that’s including the olive oil and salt!
This salad really is super easy to throw together, especially if I’m cooking up a batch of quinoa for another meal. I cook extra to throw together this salad, add a can of drained chickpeas, some scallions, a whole lotta fresh dill (YUM), and the super simple dressing. DONE!
This quinoa chickpea salad tastes best after a day of lounging around in the fridge, giving the dill time to really mingle with the other ingredients.
It’s delicious atop a bed of arugula for an easy lunch or perfect as a hearty side with dinner. I’ll be honest, I’ve even had it for breakfast – with all that protein, it’s kinda perfect for that meal too.
Ahhhhh. I think I’m finally coming out of my food burnout. Having salads like these at the ready is definitely helping!
Simple Lemon Dill Quinoa Chickpea Salad
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (rinsed with cold water (about 1 1/2 cups cooked))
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans) (about 1 1/2 cups cooked), drained and rinsed
- About 6 scallions (sliced (about 1/2 cup))
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (1 generous handful)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 medium lemons)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste
- Cook the quinoa. Rinse quinoa under cold water and drain. Place in a small pot on the stove and add 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook about 15 minutes, just until tender and translucent, with the white tail removed from the seed. Remove from heat and pour into a large bowl. Stir and spread a bit to let cool some (but it does not need to cool completely).
- Add the chickpeas, scallions, and dill. Stir gently to combine.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until combined. Pour over the quinoa mixture. Stir to combine.
- Taste and add more salt if desired. Flavors will develop more after the salad chills.
- Cover and refrigerate until it's time to eat. Best flavor is achieved after about 24 hours but it's still delicious right after mixing! Keeps about 4 days in the fridge.