Let’s welcome autumn with a wholesome Vegan Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with Lemon Parsley Dressing. Packed with fresh ingredients and bursting with vibrant colours, this salad is a celebration of the harvest season, perfect for filling your belly and nourishing your soul.

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the lemon parsley dressing:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons parsley flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked and the water is absorbed. Once done, fluff the quinoa with a fork and let it cool to room temperature.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and parsley. Toss gently to combine all the ingredients.
  3. In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, minced garlic, maple syrup, salt, and pepper to make the dressing.
  4. Pour the dressing over the quinoa salad and toss until everything is evenly coated.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Transfer the salad to a serving dish or individual bowls.
  7. Garnish with additional parsley flakes for presentation.
  8. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavours to meld together before serving.

Pro Tips

Roast Your Veggies: Consider roasting the cherry tomatoes and red onion before adding them to the salad for an extra layer of depth and flavour. Simply toss them with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast in the oven until caramelized and tender.

Toast the Quinoa: Enhance the nutty flavour of quinoa by toasting it before cooking. Simply heat a dry skillet over medium heat, add the rinsed quinoa, and toast for a few minutes until fragrant and golden brown. Then, proceed with cooking as usual for an extra layer of deliciousness.

Add fruit: Add some delicate sweetness by adding apples, dried cranberries, or any other fruit of your choice.

Health Benefits

Quinoa:

  • Rich in Protein: Quinoa is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids, making it an excellent plant-based protein source for vegetarians and vegans.
  • High in Fibre: Quinoa is packed with fibre, promoting digestive health, regulating blood sugar levels, and keeping you feeling full and satisfied.
  • Nutrient-Dense: Quinoa is loaded with vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus, which are essential for overall health and well-being.

Chickpeas:

  • Excellent Protein Source: Chickpeas are a great source of plant-based protein, helping to build and repair tissues, support muscle growth, and boost energy levels.
  • High in Fibre: Like quinoa, chickpeas are rich in fibre, aiding in digestion, promoting satiety, and supporting heart health by lowering cholesterol levels.
  • Packed with Nutrients: Chickpeas are packed with vitamins and minerals such as folate, iron, potassium, and zinc, which are essential for maintaining a healthy immune system and preventing chronic diseases.

Parsley Flakes:

  • Antioxidant-Rich: Parsley flakes are loaded with antioxidants, such as vitamin C and flavonoids, which help combat oxidative stress, reduce inflammation, and protect against chronic diseases.
  • Supports Bone Health: Parsley is a good source of vitamin K, which plays a crucial role in bone health by aiding in calcium absorption and promoting bone density.
  • Freshens Breath: Parsley contains compounds that help neutralize odours and freshen breath, making it a natural breath freshener and a healthy addition to any meal.

Whether enjoyed as a light lunch, a side dish at your next gathering, or a nourishing dinner option, this salad is sure to delight your taste buds and leave you feeling satisfied. So gather your ingredients and savour every bite of this delightful autumn-inspired dish.