I don’t know about you, but after the holiday weekend, I’m in desperate need of some vegetables in my life.
I ate my fair share of burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, cocktails, and desserts last week/weekend, and while I have ZERO regrets, I am craving all the fresh things today.
Whenever I’m meal planning for a holiday week or weekend, I always make sure to include something light and easy for the post-holiday meals. Salads like the one I’m sharing with you today are in the regular rotation, holiday or not.
During the past year or two, I have developed a deep love affair with Greek salads. I mean, I’ve always loved them and the flavors typically found in Greek salads, but they have taken the top spot as my favorite salad flavor combo as of late. If there is a Greek salad on a menu somewhere, I almost always order it. It has even trumped Caesar salads, which have been a longtime go-to for me.
There’s something about all those bright and briny flavors tossed together over crisp lettuce. It makes my mouth WATER just talking about it, and that’s really saying something when we’re talking about…salad.
This Greek salad is vegetarian, gluten free, and loaded to the max with crunchy freshness and delicious ingredients. I have been making a version of this salad for lunch for months now. I even talked about it on my Instagram stories awhile back and showed a quick and dirty version thrown together for a weekday lunch. A few of you reached out asking me to put it on the blog for you.
So, here we are! A few months late, probably, but I think you’ll forgive me once you see how easy this comes together and how freaking GOOD it tastes.
This is how I do it.
Do ahead: cook the quinoa, roast the chickpeas, chop all the veg, and make the dressing. Store everything in airtight containers in the fridge.
When it’s time to eat: toss everything together in a big bowl and add in some fresh herbs, crumbled feta, and a handful of crushed up pita chips (skip if gluten free).
The only thing that’s left to do is DEVOUR.
Now, the version written out below is exactly how I like this salad. I don’t add anything extra to it. Dan, on the other hand, often feels like salads need more protein to count as a meal. I get it. If you’re like him, feel free to top this with some grilled chicken or shrimp. Even cooked salmon would work well here.
Another note about Dan: he doesn’t like chickpeas all that much. But these crispy, roasted ones? Oh, he’s ALL ABOUT THEM. He even asked me for extra on his salad. Once I picked my jaw up off the floor, I happily obliged. The chickpeas, along with the briny feta and olives, sort of make this salad for me. They add heft and crunch and awesome spiced flavor.
The other kicker? The quinoa. I’ve talked about this at length before, but I do not like quinoa. Nope. It’s a texture AND flavor thing for me. When I add it to things like soups or salads, though, I really don’t mind it at all. It sort of coats the lettuce with the dressing and blends right in. Just how I like it. BLENDED IN.
It makes me feel good, though. Quinoa is a superfood, after all!
Even though I’m still dreaming of crispy hot dogs and bowls of ice cream, this salad is a welcome addition to our upcoming week. Quinoa and all!
This salad is a healthy, vegetarian, and gluten-free option that is easily meal prepped! It’s loaded with fresh Mediterranean flavors.
For the Chickpeas:
- 1 (15-oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Dressing:
- 2 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Pinch of sugar
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Salad:
- 3 hearts of romaine, chopped
- 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
- The crispy chickpeas
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup sliced cucumber (I like seedless)
- 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
- ¼ cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
- ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- ½ cup pita chips
For the Chickpeas:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Once the chickpeas have been drained and rinsed, spread them out on a clean kitchen towel and pat them dry. The drier the better – it will make them crispier!
- Spread the chickpeas out on the baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, spices, and salt.
- Bake for 10 minutes, stir the chickpeas, and then bake for another 10-15 minutes. The chickpeas are done when they are golden brown, dry, and crispy on the outside.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
For the Dressing:
- Place the feta, oregano, Dijon, vinegar, and sugar in a bowl and whisk to combine.
- While constantly whisking, slowly stream in the olive oil. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
- Store any leftover dressing in an airtight container in the fridge.
For the Salad:
- To a large serving bowl, add the lettuce, quinoa, chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, olives, and herbs. Add a few tablespoons of the dressing and toss well to combine.
- Top the salad with the feta cheese and toss again. I like to serve this with the pita chips crushed on top of the salad, but you can also serve them on the side (OR omit altogether if you are gluten free).
- I love this salad as a meal prep option. I cook the quinoa and roast the chickpeas ahead and store them in airtight containers in the fridge. I also make the dressing and prep all the vegetables ahead. Store in airtight containers and take out and toss together as needed.
- If more heft is needed, feel free to add some grilled chicken, shrimp, or fish to this salad. It is plenty filling for me with the chickpeas and quinoa, but my husband often likes additional protein on his.