Herbed Quinoa & Chickpea Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

A disaster occurred on last Thursday. For once, I got up and immediately got to work on my to-do list. Emails, yes. Laundry? Check. Groceries? Check. Grats to you, self!

Then my landlord arrived to my house to do some work. Cookie performed a truly amazing performance by leaping up and swiping a piece of dark chocolate cake off the counter while I was speaking to him and attempting to clean the counters. I couldn’t stop her before she ate it all up. We sped over to the veterinarian after I attempted the hydrogen peroxide remedy and it wasn’t effective enough.

We returned the following afternoon after my Cookie daughter had spent the afternoon behind closed doors. Since then, both of us have been moving quite slowly. She’s usually such an energetic force, and she’s currently around 90% recovered. While I’m also cautious, it’s lovely when she takes a head of cabbage from the counter but not chocolate.

After a challenging day, it was a relief to return home to a nutritious dinner because I finished these salad preparations while she was out. Quinoa salads can be incredibly wholesome and delectable, and this one is surely both.

I added chickpeas, which are high in fiber, protein, and nutrients like manganese and folate, in addition to the quinoa, which I cooked to fluffy perfection using my favored technique (source). With spinach, parsley, cilantro, and green onions, I infused the quinoa-chickpea base with tons of fresh flavor.

Until I added freshly toasted pepitas and some creamy, crumbled feta cheese (which could be swapped out for sliced Kalamata olives, if you’d like), the salad wasn’t nearly fantastic enough. Then I added a zesty, garlicky, lemon-flavored dressing that had been somewhat creamy with tahini. This salad would make a nice vegetarian (or simply vegan) addition to your holiday meal as well as a fantastic packed lunch.

Also read: Chickpea Salad with Carrots and Dill

This is the final article I wrote to honor the International Year of Pulses recognized by the United Nations. The more common name for beans, lentils, and peas is “pulse” (a few of my favorite ingredients). Visit to learn more about the advantages of pulses and to take the pledge with me to consume one serving of pulses each week. Check out my fresh seven-layer dip, broccoli, chickpea, and avocado chickpea pita sandwiches, Greek lentil salad, and other recipes.



  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a fine-mesh colander
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 ½ cups roughly chopped baby spinach
  • ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro (or additional parsley)
  • ⅓ cup chopped green onion (green parts only)
  • ⅓ cup crumbled feta
  • ⅓ cup toasted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)

Lemon-tahini dressing

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. To cook the quinoa: Combine the rinsed quinoa and the water in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then decrease the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, about 15 minutes, reducing heat as time goes on to maintain a gentle simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and let the quinoa rest for 5 minutes, which gives it time to fluff up.
  2. Meanwhile, toast the pepitas in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and making little popping noises, about 5 minutes. Transfer them to a large serving bowl to cool for a few minutes (we’ll add more to the bowl in a minute).
  3. To make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt and several twists of freshly ground pepper. Taste, and add up to 1 more tablespoon of lemon juice and/or more pepper, if necessary (I like my dressing pretty zippy for this salad, so I used the full 4 tablespoons).
  4. Once the quinoa is ready to use, add it to the large bowl. Add the chickpeas, spinach, parsley, cilantro, green onion, feta and toasted pepitas. Drizzle all of the dressing over the salad, and toss to combine. Serve immediately, or let it cool and refrigerate for later. This salad keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days.