Simple Summer Salad

Quinoa Chickpea Salad

The summer heat is on! For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Summer is here literally and figuratively. In the desert, where we live, the temperature has exceeded 110F several times already with more HOT.HOT, HOT days to come! Cooking meals in the summer not only adds to our external discomfort, but our bodies are already pretty busy trying to manage temperature making digesting a heavy meal a burden no “body” really wants. One way to keep your kitchen cooler (saving some money on expensive air conditioning) and aid your digestive system, is to make meals that don’t require cooking. This is just one of the many awesome reasons a plant-based diet makes perfect sense. There are so many options for plant-based meals that don’t require “heat”.  Here is one very flavorful summer meal that is quick to make, perfect for a picnic or to take to work, and, most importantly, has outstanding nutrition.

Simple Summer Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Simple Summer Salad

This recipe was inspired and veganized from one of my favorite recipe books "Quinoa, The Everyday Superfood 365" by Patricia Green & Carolyn Hemming. It is fresh and full of flavor - not to mention an excellent source of plant-based protein, vitamins and minerals.


  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (cooled)
  • 2 19 oz cans chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3 Tbsp drained capers
    For Dressing
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tsp Eden Organic Yellow Mustard
  • 3 cloves freshly chopped organic garlic
  • pinch of chili powder


  1. Prepare the dressing, blending well, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine chickpeas, parsley, capers and quinoa.
  3. Pour dressing over mixture and blend well.
  4. Let salad sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.


I like to batch cook quinoa and keep in the refrigerator or freezer so it is always handy for a quick meal like this Simple Summer Salad.

Italian Parsley is recommended for this recipe as it is very much more flavorful than curly parsley. Curly parsley also changes the texture - although that is not a bad thing!

I recommend Eden Organic Yellow Mustard because the ingredients are simple and healthier than most other options. Read labels to be sure of what you are consuming.

Capers are very flavorful but do add sodium to your meal. You will not need to, nor do I recommend, adding any additional salt to this recipe.

Chili powder adds a little "zip" to the dressing. If you like things a little spicier, try using a pinch of cayenne instead.

Quinoa RecipesThis recipe book, “Quinoa – The Everyday Superfood 365” by Patricia Green & Carolyn Hemming, is one of my favorites. While not all of the recipes are Vegan, most can easily be Veganized. The very cool part of this recipe book is that is demonstrates all the incredible ways you can enjoy the SuperFood – Quinoa. Check it out.




Nutrition Information 

Quinoa – 3/4 cup

  • Excellent source of plant-based protein. In fact, quinoa provides all the essential amino acids so it is considered a “complete protein” source. One serving of quinoa supplies 8.14 grams of protein or 16% of DRI.
  • Excellent source of fiber. 5.18 grams or 21%
  • Very good source of manganese and good source of phosphorus, since, magnesium, and copper.

Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans – 1 cup

  • Excellent source of plant-based protein. 14.53 grams or 29% of your daily requirement for protein.
  • Excellent source of fiber. 12.4 grams (3.9 g soluble/8.6 g insoluble) fiber or 50% of your daily requirement.
  • Chickpeas are also a excellent source of molybdenum, folate and choline; and a good source of copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, and zinc.

Italian Parsley – 1/2 cup

  • Excellent source of Vitamin K (554% DRI) and Vitamin C (54%DRI)
  • Good source of Vitamin A (14%), Folate (12%) and Iron (10%)


  • Good source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, niacin and riboflavin.
  • Excellent source of flavonoid anti-oxidants rutin and quercetin. Rutin is known to strengthen capillaries and quecertin has been shown to have excellent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial qualities. In fact the quercetin levels found in capers is second only to the quercetin levels found in tea leaves.


Plant-Based Nutrition for Your Family

Some Great Jazz to Get Us Started

Our name, Jazzed Up Veggies, came to us because food and music are two of our greatest pleasures. As you can hear, my husband is a gifted musician. Listening to his original music, “The Need to Groove”, from his album “Quintessence” really inspires me. That, and exploring the wonderful world of plant-based living! Please enjoy this great jazz. I hope you find it and today’s blog inspiring.

My goal is to encourage you to embrace the idea of nourishing your body as a way of life. I firmly believe most people want to take good care of themselves; but, life always seems to get in the way, right? All the activities we pack into a day seem so important to us that we find we need to cut corners to fit it all in. Unfortunately, cutting corners usually translates into poor food choices, no exercise and not enough sleep. If we treated our vehicles the way we treat our bodies, we would never get to all our activities; we and our vehicles would be stuck on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck.

The exponential increase in the use of medical services over the last half-century can be attributed directly to our “new normal” of cutting corners to get it all done. The wear and tear on our vehicles will cause them to break down and so will our bodies if we don’t take care of them. Good thing we are the masters of our domain (aka body) and we have all the tools we need to keep our bodies in running order. We just need to make taking care of ourselves a top priority, take stock of what needs to be done, and DO IT!

Here are some ideas to help you make good nutrition your “new normal”.

  1. Talk to the people you love and who love you. Let them know how important good nutrition is to you and invite them to partner with you on getting your family’s nutrition on track.
  2. Knowing what good nutrition looks like will help you make good decisions. Educate yourself. Vendors at farmers’ markets and produce managers in shops are eager to show off their products. Let them! The more you know the more you will want to know.
  3. Shift your perspective on grocery shopping. Rather than think of it as another “chore” to complete in the shortest time possible, think of it as an adventure. Allow yourself to enjoy the amazing variety of colors, textures and smells; and, given the importance of the food choices you make, take the time to really consider your selections.
  4. Change your routine. Instead of going to the same store you always shop at, try your local farmers’ markets, farms & orchards, and specialty shops. Who knows what you will find: its all part of the adventure.
  5. Don’t do it alone. Give your family the opportunity to shop with you. Making nutrition a family affair is a great opportunity to learn together and we are all more likely to embrace change if we are involved in the process.




To help you get started on thinking differently about the foods you choose, here is a great recipe for an easy, delicious lunch or evening snack that covers all the nutritional bases. Let me know how you like it!

Jazzed Up Chickpea Spread

Yield: Makes approximately 2 cups and should serve 4+ people.

Jazzed Up Chickpea Spread

This spread is an excellent source of protein and a great way to incorporate raw vegetables into a meal. Chickpeas are inexpensive and really versatile. Experiment with this recipe by using different spices and different veggies such as red pepper. Jazzed Up Chickpea Spread also makes a great dip for crackers and raw vegetables.


  • 1 can (2 cups) cooked chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 2 small carrots, shredded
  • 6 small Cornishons (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley coarsely chopped
  • 2 scallions chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast (you are going to love this stuff!)
  • 1/4 cup Vegenaise
  • 2 Tsp yellow mustard
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp lemon rind (optional but so zesty!)
  • 1/2 - 3/4 Tsp curry powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 - 3/4 Tsp ground cumin
  • Pepper
  • Lettuce Leaves for Wraps
  • Whole Grain Bread and Fresh Sprouts for a Sandwich
  • Vegan Seeded Flatbread or Crackers for a Snack
  • Sides
  • Raw vegetables: carrots, celery, cauliflower etc.
  • Grape Tomatoes


  1. Combine all ingredients, from chickpeas to pepper, in a bowl or process using the pulse setting on your food processor. You want the chickpeas to be finely chopped but still allow for a bit of texture.
  2. Taste and adjust spices & seasonings.
  3. Serve.