Smokey Sweet Potato salad will be the supporting act to your next backyard BBQ. It…
Hearty, healthy and super easy to make. Toasted chickpeas, quinoa, arugula, olives and feta tossed with fresh vegetables make this salad super flavorful and perfect for any occasion. This salad is full of fiber and protein making you feel full and happy with every crunchy bite!
This salad surprised me so much when I came up with the idea! I made it TWICE in one month because it was just that good. I even made it for visiting guests with grilled chicken and zucchini and it was a crowd pleaser! Make it right before dinner or in advance and it takes so little effort but it doesn’t disappoint.
It’s super simple and healthy so that’s a double win in my book! In fact, a lot of the ingredients I had on hand and they worked so perfectly together it was a no brainer. The protein from the quinoa and the chickpeas allowed me to feel like it could be a meal on it’s own. I took it for lunch all week and it was the perfect feel-good lunch I needed!
Toasting the chickpeas was key! Now, you most certainly can drain a can of chickpeas and add them in as is but that one extra step of toasting them added depth to the flavor of the chickpea. Any recipe that has chickpeas is worth making. They’re inexpensive, good for your fiber and protein intake and they take on whatever flavor you want them to have. Tip: Make sure that you drain, rinse AND completely dry off your chickpeas before roasting them on a baking sheet. You want them to get crispy, not steamed!
I cannot say enough about this salad. It was perfect and I definitely think it was the choice of ingredients:
- The seedless cucumbers (I used long, thin Hot House cucumbers) are crunchy and great for adding bulk without the calories. Same for tomatoes…cherry or grape are the best because they are sweet but not overly juicy.
- I love olives… I could eat them straight from the jar (which is why I try to limit having them around often). They have great fats and even though they are full of sodium, it’s the balance that this dish needs. Kalamata, little brine-y bombs, pair well with all the other neutral vegetables.
- Feta is the best! When you get a block of feta and cut it into little cubes, they’re the little gems you’re longing for in this salad. Tangy cheese is perfect for this!
- Keep the dressing simple! Olive oil, vinegar, lemon and a little olive brine is all this salad needs. Squeeze over some lemon and sprinkle in some salt and pepper and that’s it.
- Your herbs really freshen up this hearty salad. Whatever herbs you have on hand should work. Mint, oregano, thyme and parsley all work so well. Yield at least a 1/2 cup in total of fresh herbs of your choice.
- Tri-color quinoa that you can boil-in-a-bag is a little secret that I have to share. I’m sure there will be people saying that that’s an easy way out…but that’s the point. Each bag is a little over a cup, I used two, and it cuts down your prep. Plus, it’s so colorful!
- Canned chickpeas are great for this because you need them to be soft enough to toast…which is odd I know. Use any boiled or cooked chickpeas you want but take that step to toast them up!
Fun Fact: When cooking dried quinoa it almost triples in size! By using 2 boil bags (1/2 cup in each) it will yield about 3 cups of fluffy, cooked quinoa. Pretty cool, huh!
If you are trying to make salads that have bulk, health benefits and easy for meal prep…this is it! You’ll be that person on your lunch break that everyone will be eyeing because YOU made this simple and delicious healthy salad in no time!
Serve this at your next dinner because even though it is easy to make, you can please your vegetarian friends, your healthy friends and even the ones who are just freakin’ hungry! It’s great as a side for a grilled dinner! I promise you won’t be disappointed when you make this toasted chickpea quinoa salad!
Toasted Chickpea Quinoa Salad
For the Chickpeas:
- 2 (15oz. cans) chickpeas drained, rinsed
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon Italian herb seasoning dried
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
For the Salad:
- 2 bags boil-in-bag tricolor quinoa 1 cup dried = 3 cups cooked
- 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 large lemon zest and juice
- ½ cup kalamata olives and brine halved or quartered, 1-2 tablespoons of brine
- 6 ounces feta cut into 1 cm. cubes
- ¾ large Hot House cucumber diced
- ¾ pint cherry or grape tomatoes halved or quartered
- ½ large red onion diced
- 2-3 cups arugula packed
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
For the Chickpeas:
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Drain and rinse 2 cans of chickpeas and then pat dry until the chickpeas have no more moisture on them. Spread on a large baking sheet.
- Drizzle with olive oil and then season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, cumin and smoked paprika. Toss until everything is evenly coated and then roast for 20-30 minutes. Check every 10 minutes to toss the chickpeas.
- Remove when the chickpeas are lightly golden. Let cool.
For the Salad:
- Prepare the quinoa according to package directions. Boil and then let cool in a large serving bowl for about 10 minutes. Fork apart the quinoa to fluff and allow it to cool.
- Add into the bowl olive oil, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, lemon zest and juice. Prepare cucumbers, onions and tomatoes and then add to the bowl. Add toasted chickpeas.
- Cut feta into small chunks. Chop olives and add both to the bowl. Add olive brine at this time.
- Finely chop herbs such as mint, oregano, thyme and parsley and add to the bowl with fresh arugula. Season with a little dash of salt and pepper.
- Gently toss the salad until everything is evenly incorporated.
- For best results, let chill for at least 30 minutes.