Recipe: $5.77 | Per Serving: $0.96 | Yield: 6 | Jump to Recipe
We are talking vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, protein-packed, flavorful quinoa salad with a cilantro-lime dressing. Super easy, super delicious, and full of real food! This cilantro quinoa salad is the perfect side for summer.
This weekend I decided to dive back into the blog to the best of my ability. Summers are really busy on the east coast. Plus, I have been traveling a lot for the past 4 months - marathon, weddings, Cuba - so it's time to hunker down and get back to business.
However, the stars are kind of against me. My computer has been out of commish for the last 2 weeks, which means I can't access photos and recipes stored on my hard drive. (ugh) Also, sometime in July or August, Photoshop stopped offering its Lightroom subscription service, which means I can't use my go-to photo editor. I ordered an iPhone tripod to work on my video skills, but my phone is now too full to handle video. Welp, looks like it's blogging circa 2013 for me! Ah well, on to the food!
This is a salad. I know it's October, and I expect some people around the country are experiencing fall in full force. We, here in Baltimore, are not. No chill to the air - just 80+ degrees on the daily. No leaves falling, and no sweaters and no boots.
In honor of summer in October, I decided it's time to get back to the salad game. And one of my favorite ways to do raw veggies is in quinoa salad form with a super flavorful dressing. (See Quinoa & Black Bean Salad with Cilantro Jalapeño Dressing and Cherry Balsamic Quinoa Salad.)
This dish is the perfect complement to end of summer vibes. The farmer's market still has some lingering tomatoes, and plenty of greens & herbs, but you might be sort of sick of leafy green salads so this is a great alternative. Luckily, quinoa and chickpeas are always in season. Also, if you happen to have some fresh orange juice, adding a tablespoon or so of that to the dressing would be super duper bomb.
Also, this is the first time I'm including a nutrition label with a recipe post! I've not fully decided if I'm going to continue, but so many people these days are interested in the nutrient data behind recipes.
I'm a little over halfway through my master's in nutrition, and while I mostly think that we shouldn't be counting calories or individual nutrients, with widespread mineral and vitamin deficiencies, and excessive caloric intake, I understand the desire to keep an eye on your numbers. So, I've got nutrition labels...for now.
Paleo: No, but if you can handle quinoa (gluten-free), I'd recommend replacing the chickpeas with shredded chicken.
Vegetarian: Yep! In fact, VEGAN.
Cilantro Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas & Spinach (Vegan)
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa about 3 cups cooked
- 2 cups water or broth
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- ½ cup minced red onion
- 1 cup halved or quartered grape tomatoes
- 5 ounces fresh spinach
- 1 bunch cilantro about 1 cup
- 1 ;arge garlic clove
- 3 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard optional
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- Cook the Quinoa: Rinse and drain the quinoa, then add it to a pot and cover it with 2 cups water or broth. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa is puffed and fluffy. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Make the Dressing: Add the cilantro, garlic, lime juice, maple syrup, salt, cumin, and optional dijon to a blender or food processor and process until relatively well combined. Add the olive oil and process for just 5 seconds or so to combine. Stir, taste, and adjust seasoning as desired.
- Put it together: Mince the onion, chop the tomatoes into halves or quarters, and finely chop the spinach - I processed the spinach in batches in my food processor to make it easier to eat. Combine the quinoa, cooked chickpeas, and vegetables, then pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!
Optional Add-Ins: This would be awesome with chunks of avocado, or topped with feta cheese.