High-Protein Chickpea Quinoa Salad with over 25 grams of protein per serving is healthy, easy, and meal prep friendly. Eight ingredients, vegan, and gluten-free. Perfect for a packed lunch, weeknight dinner, picnic, potluck, or barbecue.
Make this salad in a mason jar for meal prep! Layering the ingredients keeps them separate, so they last longer. Plus, these salad jars are convenient to take to work, or for when you're on-the-go. You can also skip the jars and make it in a bowl instead.
Either way, it's delicious. Salting the tomatoes brings out their umami flavor, and roasting the chickpeas adds a welcomed crunch. You are going to love this meal!
- Add hemp seeds or hearts for an additional 10 grams protein per jar. (Each jar has 25 grams protein without hemp seeds.)
See recipe card for quantities.
- Cucumber - instead of cucumber, you can use chopped bell pepper
- Chickpeas - add edamame instead of chickpeas
- Red onion - skip the red onion and add two minced garlic cloves to the olive oil instead (use a garlic press for best results)
- Hemp seeds - Hemp seeds or hearts add 10 grams of protein per jar. You can omit them, or substitute with sunflower seeds, or pepitas (5 grams and 2 grams protein respectively).
- Quinoa - Instead of quinoa, you can use wild rice (gluten-free). Or substitute with farro, orzo, couscous, or barley, but the salad will no longer be gluten-free.
- Cilantro - substitute with your choice of fresh chopped herbs (parsley, mint)
This recipe includes a few optional steps for adding even more depth of flavor. While you can skip these steps, they do bring out the best tasting salad.
Step 1. Start by cooking the quinoa according to the directions on the packet. Use vegetable broth instead of water for even more flavor.
Step 2. Optional: Rub the chickpeas between layers of a kitchen or paper towel to dry. Rub them to remove the skins, if time permits. Toss with olive oil. paprika, garlic powder, and salt.
Step 3. Optional: Roast the chickpeas at 425ºF for 15 minutes. Broil them for about 3 minutes more, or until golden brown and crispy.
Step 4. Optional: Transfer the chopped tomatoes to a strainer. Add a generous dash of salt and toss until evenly coated. Set aside to drain. Toss the tomatoes to remove excess liquid.
Step 5. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, chickpeas, quinoa, hemp seeds, and cilantro to the mason jars. (See recipe card for quantities.) Or add the ingredients to a large bowl and mix to combine.
💡 Expert Tips
- Equipment: Use three (32-ounce) Mason jars for one to two servings, and up to 35 grams protein, per jar. Or you can use any size canning jar you desire.
- To fit this salad into jars in equal amounts without leftovers, the combined jar capacity must equal 96 ounces. For example, you can use eight (12-ounce) jars, six (16-ounce) jars, and so on.
- Roast the chickpeas on a large rimmed sheet in a single layer so they crisp up evenly. Broil for about 3 minutes after roasting to get them extra crisp.
- Storage: Refrigerate any leftover High-Protein Chickpea Quinoa Salad in an airtight container for up to 4 days. For the jars, refrigerate them lid-side up for up to 5 days. Because there is no lettuce, and the dressing is on the bottom, they will not become mushy. Invert the jars into a bowl and mix well for serving.
🙋🏽♀️ Recipe FAQs
If you plan on serving a salad as a main dish, use 32-ounce jars. This size jar serves at least one person, but can also be enough for two, depending on portion sizes. For side salads, use 16-ounce jars instead.
Add the ingredients in the following order: dressing, hearty vegetables, beans and less hearty veggies, pasta and grains, tofu or tempeh, lettuce, nuts & seeds, fresh herbs.
Hemp seeds are small, brown seeds from the Cannabis sativa plant. They have a mild nutty flavor, and are exceptionally rich in omega-3 and -6. (Hemp hearts are the hulled version of the seeds.) They have 10 grams of protein per 3 tablespoon serving. However, they can be pricey so feel free to substitute with sunflower or pumpkin seeds, or omit entirely.
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High-Protein Chickpea Quinoa Salad
- 30 ounces chickpeas 2 (15-ounce) cans, drained, and rinsed (or 3 cups cooked)
- Dash of paprika (optional)
- Dash of garlic powder (optional)
- ¼ cup plus ½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 1 cup dry quinoa or 4 cups cooked
- 5 medium Roma tomatoes diced (about 8 ounces)
- Salt to taste
- ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons lemon juice (about 3 medium lemons)
- 1 long English cucumber diced (about 3 cups)
- 1 ½ cups diced red onion (about 1 medium)
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon hemp seeds or hearts (optional)
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Roast the chickpeas (optional): Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Rub the chickpeas between layers of a kitchen or paper towel to dry. Transfer them to a large bowl. Add a generous dash of paprika, garlic powder, and salt, plus a drizzle of olive oil. Toss until evenly coated. Place them on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 15 minutes. Change the oven setting to broil and cook for about 3 minutes more, or until crispy.
- Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the packet. Set aside for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Transfer to a large rimmed dish to cool.
- Drain tomatoes (optional): Meanwhile, transfer the chopped tomatoes to a strainer. Add a generous dash of salt and toss until evenly coated. Set aside to drain. Toss the tomatoes to remove excess liquid.
- Make jars (optional): Place 3 (32-ounce) Mason jars in a row. To each jar, add 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 cup cucumber, ¾ cup tomatoes, ½ cup red onion, 1 cup chickpeas, 1 ⅓ cups quinoa, 3 tablespoons hemp seeds (if using), and ⅓ cup cilantro. Cover and refrigerate up to 5 days.
- For serving: Jars: Invert the jar and shake it over a medium bowl. Mix to combine. Add salt, pepper, and more lemon juice to taste.Skip the jars and combine the salad and dressing in a large bowl instead. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Hemps seeds (or hearts) add 10 grams protein to each jar. Without them, each jar contains 25 grams protein.
- Servings: 1 to 2 servings per jar
- Roasting the chickpeas, and salting the tomatoes, adds more depth of flavor, but these steps are optional. Roast chickpeas on a large rimmed sheet in a single layer for crispiest results. The broil setting is equivalent to the grill setting on some ovens.
- Drain the tomatoes well before adding them to the jars.
- Cook the quinoa in vegetable broth instead of water for additional flavor.
- Mason jars: To fit this salad into jars in equal amounts without leftovers, the combined jar capacity must equal 96 ounces. For example, you can use 8 (12-ounce) jars, 6 (16-ounce) jars, and so on. Refrigerate them lid-side up for up to 5 days.
- Skip the jars and combine the salad and dressing in a large bowl instead. Refrigerate for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
This information is provided as a courtesy and is an ESTIMATE only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe.