A nutrient-packed Quinoa Vegetable Salad with chickpeas and fresh lemon-basil dressing! Easy to assemble, and also great for make-ahead meals, take-along lunches, picnics, potlucks, etc. (Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free.)
This healthy quinoa salad is a great recipe for take-along lunches and meal prep.
The quinoa and garbanzo beans provide a hearty, satisfying boost of protein, and the lemon-basil dressing is so simple, light, and fresh.
Quinoa is so versatile, nutrient-packed, and simple to cook.
Plus this is a great recipe to make ahead of time as we find the flavors only intensify as it chills.
Ingredients for Quinoa Salad
For the salad portion you will toss together in a large bowl:
- White quinoa: You will lightly boil this in a medium saucepan with about 1 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth.
- Garbanzo beans (chickpeas): You could also try this with black beans, cannellini beans, white beans, etc.
- Grape or cherry tomatoes: I use these because they are so sweet and flavorful. But you can substitute roma or other garden tomatoes too.
- Orange bell pepper
- Green onion (scallion)
- Cooked sweet corn: Either frozen, canned, or a freshly cooked ear of corn.
- Fresh basil
Ingredients for Dressing
For the lemon-basil dressing you will whisk together:
- Fresh lemon juice: Plus optional lemon zest if desired for an even bolder lemon flavor. (You could also try this with lime juice instead, but I haven't tested that version.)
- Apple cider vinegar
- Garlic cloves
- Dried basil
- Salt to taste
- Olive oil: This is optional. Simply omit for an oil-free version.
Variations and Substitutions
More tang: The dressing is fairly subtle, so add a teaspoon of lemon zest, more lemon juice, or more vinegar to taste if desired.
Herbs: Fresh herbs add great flavor to this dish, and I highly recommend adding fresh basil or parsley if you have it.
Flavors: You can also add Kalamata olives, roasted red pepper, red onion, black pepper, or vegan feta cheese for extra flavor.
Vegetables: If you would like this salad heavier on the veggies, simply decrease the amount of quinoa. (Use about 1/2 to 3/4 cup instead of 1 cup.)
This is a wonderful main dish or side dish for take-along lunches, meal prep, picnics, potlucks, BBQs, and gatherings.
Simply toss together a batch ahead of time, then store covered in the refrigerator until ready to enjoy.
We find it keeps well for about 4-5 days.
Quinoa Vegetable Salad with Lemon-Basil Dressing
- 1 cup white quinoa (uncooked)
- 15 oz. can garbanzo beans
- 6 oz. grape/cherry tomatoes (or 3 roma)
- 1 orange bell pepper
- 4 green onions
- 1 1/2 cups sweet corn (cooked)
- 2-3 Tbsp. fresh basil (optional, but recommended)
For the lemon-basil dressing:
- 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice* (about 1 lemon, or more to taste)
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Optional: lemon zest
- Cook the quinoa: place 1 cup quinoa (rinsed and drained) in a small saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water (or vegetable broth for more flavor). Bring to a light boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing: In a small bowl combine all dressing ingredients. Whisk to combine.
- Dice tomatoes and bell pepper. Slice green onions. Rinse and drain garbanzo beans. Roughly chop fresh basil, if using.
- When quinoa is done cooking, let cool for a few minutes. Then place all salad ingredients in a large bowl.
- Pour dressing over top and toss well to combine. Taste and adjust flavors if desired.
- Can serve immediately or chill covered in the refrigerator for a few hours to let flavors intensify. (Also great served with diced avocado!)
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
If you are enjoying this lemon-basil quinoa salad, also check out:
- Quinoa Chickpea Salad with Dill Dressing
- Mexican Quinoa Salad
- Cucumber Salad
- Chickpea Salad with Lemon-Basil Dressing