Chickpea and Quinoa Salad with Beets, Cukes, and Peppers
Jul 16, 2012
Linda Watson in beans, beets, bell peppers, chickpeas, cucumbers, gluten free, quinoa, salad, vegan, vegetables

Show off Summer's colorful produce with this healthy meal-in-a-bowl salad. Last Friday, I took it to a wedding reception filled with local and sustainable-food foodies (my peeps!) and they ate every bite. It satisfies many current diets: organic, vegan, no added fat, gluten-free, and local. Let this satisfying, make-ahead dish get you through the dog-days of summer. From my book Fifty Weeks of Green: Romance & Recipes.

vegan and gluten-free chickpea quinoa salad with beets, cucumbers, bell peppers shows off swirls in Chioggia beets and other colorful summer produce

Chickpea and Quinoa Salad with Chioggia Beets, Cukes, and Peppers

Active time: 20 minutes, starting with cooked chickpeas. Total time: 30 minutes, but it's actually best the next day. Makes 4 main-dish servings or 8 sides.



  1. Put on an old or dark apron or shirt in case the beets splash and stain. Actually, do it because the beets WILL splash and stain. Scrub beets and pierce several times with a fork. Save any beet leaves for another recipe. Put beet bulbs in a covered, microwave-safe container and microwave on high for five minutes. (Poking and covering keeps beets from exploding in your microwave and making a mess! The picture below shows a raw beet on the left and a beet that is puffy and split from the steam pressure while cooking.)

    raw beet and cooked beet that exploded in the microwave

  2. Turn beets over and microwave until they are fork-tender, about five more minutes. Uncover and let cool so you can peel them.
  3. Put quinoa, water, and salt in a medium pot, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low so water barely boils and cook covered for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and, without lifting the lid, let quinoa finish steaming for five minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cut slices off both ends of the cucumber and taste, then peel if bitter. Cut cucumber and pepper into bite-sized pieces. Put vegetables into a non-absorbant serving or storage container as you go. For example, a glass bowl shows off the colors and won't stain.
  5. Cut off stem and root ends of beets and compost. Peel beets and cut into bite-sized pieces, saving beet juice. If you have Chioggia beets, the ones with light and dark circles inside, cut them to show off the pattern. (See the top picture.)

    to dice beets, cut of ends, peel, slice, and dice. Watch for beet stains.

  6. Fluff quinoa with a fork. Toss with chickpeas and vegetables, then drizzle with any beet juice and about half the chickpea broth to deepen the flavor and help the salad stick together a bit for easier eating. Use apple juice or water if you are using canned chickpeas. Toss again until the beets turn the quinoa pink, taste, and add salt or more chickpea broth if desired.
  7. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Keeps refrigerated for 5 days.


Article originally appeared on Cook for Good, home of Wildly Affordable Organic and Fifty Weeks of Green (
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