Lunch meal prep is easy with this Meditteranean-inspired quinoa chickpea salad! You can prep up to 4 days of lunch in under 30 minutes with this super easy salad-in-a-jar recipe.
If you're looking for a convenient but nutritious lunch on the go, a salad in a jar is an easy option! This quinoa chickpea salad (in a jar) is a cold quinoa salad paired with rich Meditteranean flavors like roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, and a simple lemon vinaigrette.
Unlike my pasta mason jar salad recipe, this one pairs quinoa with chickpeas. However, like all good meal prep recipes it is easy to customize using your favorite flavors or whatever ingredients you have on hand.
- Flavors: Made with a handful of Mediterranean-inspired ingredients like olives, a lemon-olive oil vinaigrette, and roasted red peppers.
- Veggie-packed: Cucumber and bell pepper are just the tip of the iceberg. You can also add spinach, fresh peppers, shredded carrots, etc.
- Great for meal prep: Because the quinoa salad is divided between jars, you can make as many or as few as you want. The salads are best within 4 days.
- All about the layers: Putting the hardy, crisp ingredients at the bottom keeps the salad from becoming soggy. When you're ready to eat it, simply shake everything together or pour it out into a bowl.
- Quinoa: You can use any variety of quinoa for this salad. Even frozen quinoa works!
- Chickpeas: This is the main protein source. The chickpeas are the second ingredient added to the jars so that they soak up the lemon vinaigrette flavor. White beans are another good option.
- Lemon vinaigrette: This is made using extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice with a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
- Roasted red peppers: Jarred roasted red peppers are a convenient way to add flavor and vegetables to this recipe.
- Kalamata olives: These are my go-to olives because they are commonly available and add a rich flavor, but really any kind works here.
- Cucumber: For a touch of crispness. I recommend removing the seeds from the salad to keep the salad from becoming soggy.
- Feta: This adds a touch of saltiness. Feel free to omit this or use a dairy-free alternative to make this salad vegan.
- Hummus: I use kalamata olive hummus because it ties everything together, but any variety works. This is a nice way to add extra healthy fats and flavor to the salad.
Steps to make
Putting together the quinoa chickpea salad in a jar is super simple, but I do recommend adding the ingredients in a specific order instead of just throwing everything into the mason jar.
Layering the salad ingredients does two things:
- Marinates the chickpeas in the lemon vinaigrette for optimum flavor.
- Keeps the salad from becoming soggy while it refrigerates. Putting hardy ingredients toward the bottom of the salad keeps ingredients like cucumbers and feta from breaking down and losing their texture.
When you're ready to eat the salad, either shake it up in the jar or pour it out into a bowl. For the best quality, serve the quinoa chickpea salad within 4 days of refrigerating.
- Extra protein: For a high-protein salad, try adding additional beans or baked tofu. For example, double the chickpeas or add a serving of lentils or white beans.
- Greens: If you prefer your salads to be green, try adding spinach, kale, or romaine. Always add greens to the top of the jar so that they don't become soggy.
- The vinaigrette used here is minimal for the sake of simplicity. If you're looking for something with a bit more pizzazz, I recommend my lemon shallot vinaigrette.
- This recipe doesn't have to be for meal prep or stored in jars. It also works well as a side or main salad. Just toss all of the ingredients together in a bowl and serve.
More meal prep favorites
If you love the combination of quinoa and chickpeas as much as I do, you'll want to check out these sweet potato quinoa bowls.
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Cold Quinoa Chickpea Salad (In a Jar)
- ⅔ cup dry quinoa makes 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 and ⅓ cup water or vegetable broth with a pinch of salt
- ½ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons honey
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- 2 15 ounce cans chickpeas drained and rinsed (equals 3 cups chickpeas)
- 2 cups roasted red pepper slices from a 16-ounce jar
- 2 small cucumbers chopped and seeds removed
- ½ cup kalamata olives diced
- ½ cup hummus
- ½ cup crumbled feta
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- Combine the quinoa and water in a medium sauce pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a gentle simmer and cover. The quinoa is ready when the liquid is fully absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
- In a small jar, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, and salt. Alternatively, divide the ingredients between four jars: 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon honey, pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley.
- Divide the ingredients between 4 pint-sized jars in this order: lemon vinaigrette with parsley, ¾ cup chickpeas, ½ cup cooked quinoa, ½ cup roasted red pepper slices, ½ diced cucumber, 2 tablespoons kalamata olives, 2 tablespoon feta, 2 tablespoons hummus, and 1 tablespoon sliced almonds,
- Close the jar and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. Before serving, either shake in the jar or pour out into a bowl and stir to combine. Enjoy!
- Portions: Although I include specific measurements for each jar to make it easy for those who want measurements, you really don't need to measure out each ingredient exactly. Just divide everything between four jars, adding the toppings that you like best in amounts you prefer.
- Leftovers: Best within 4 days of refrigeration. Layer the ingredients in the order listed in the recipe for the best shelf-life.