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August 12, 2013

Chickpea and Quinoa Salad with Beets, Cucumbers, and Peppers

Fifty Weeks of Green by Linda Watson

  • Multi-colored summer vegetables add variety and nutrition to this quinoa salad. CookForGood.com 2012

Serves 4

4 small beets (beetroots)
1 cup (225g) quinoa
1 1/3 (300ml) cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cucumber (about 1 cup chopped)
1 bell pepper
1 1/2 cups (340g) cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup (115ml) chickpea broth, apple juice, or water

Wearing a dark apron to fend off stains, scrub the beet bulbs and pierce them several times with a fork. In a microwave oven set on high, cook the beets in a covered, microwave-safe container for 5 minutes. (Poking and covering the beets keeps them from exploding in your microwave and making a mess.)

Turn the beets over and microwave them until they are fork-tender, about five more minutes. Uncover the beets and let them cool so you can peel them.

Put the quinoa, water, and salt into a medium pot, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low so that the water barely boils, and cook the quinoa, covered, for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and, without lifting the lid, let the quinoa finish steaming for 5 minutes.

Cut off the stem and root ends of the beets. Peel the beets and cut them into bite-sized pieces, saving the beet juice. If you have Chioggia beets—the ones with light and dark circles inside—cut them to show off the pattern.

Meanwhile, cut slices off both ends of the cucumber and taste; then peel if it's bitter. Cut the cucumber and bell pepper into bite-sized pieces. Put the vegetables into a non-absorbent serving or storage container as you go. (A glass bowl, for example, shows off the colors and won't stain.)

Fluff the quinoa with a fork, then toss it with the chickpeas and vegetables.

Drizzle the mixture 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 the salad again until the beets turn the quinoa pink. Taste, and add salt or more chickpea broth if desired.

Serve at room temperature or chilled. Keeps in the refrigerator for 5 days.


  • Show off your colorful finds in your garden or at the market by adding in purple or red bell peppers; yellow or green cucumbers; and purple, orange, or golden beets.
  • Use what's in season and is a good buy. Mix up the quantities and proportions to suit your taste and the situation: Add chopped avocado just before serving in place of the cucumber, use cooked green beans instead of bell pepper, add halved cherry tomatoes, or top with basil ribbons.
  • This recipe is at its best after a night in the fridge, which allows the juiciness of the vegetables to make a low-low-cal "dressing" for the quinoa.
  • You can make the chickpeas and quinoa up to 4 days in advance and refrigerate until needed.
  • You can microwave the beets in advance, or bake them in foil for about an hour while you bake something else.

Recipe courtesy of Linda Watson, from her book "Fifty Weeks of Green."


All figures are per serving (assumes 4 servings).

Calories: 367
Fat: 5 g 
Carbs: 72 g
Fiber: 13 g
Protein: 14 g
Sodium: 1508 mg*

*If sodium is a concern for you, rinse the chickpeas well and reduce the added salt in this recipe.