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.


Summer Celebration – Sweet & Peppery Summer Salad

Summer is nearly over and school is starting soon but there is still time to enjoy the bounty of the season.  Here in the desert Southwest it will feel like summer for some time yet. We  have had temperatures in the 110+ range for the past few weeks but it looks like we will be “dropping” to near 100 next week. Yeah! What better way is there to enjoy the week-end before school starts and stay cool than with this delicious summer’s bounty salad. Serve it as a starter, before your grilled veggie or bean burgers are ready, or have a larger portion as a main course. You will love this salad (the dressing is really awesome). It is definitely one of my go-to meals on a hot summer’s day.  Here is a little video incentive to get you started.


Sweet & Peppery Summer Salad

Sweet & Peppery Summer Salad

This salad makes a lovely appetizer or light meal. The quinoa, cashews and almonds are great sources of protein and the avocado adds heart-healthy fats. The lemons add a wonderful freshness, and of course Vitamin C, and the mango is simply delicious.

The combination of arugula, kale and radicchio is peppery and adds a lovely texture. All in all a wonderful summer salad.


  • Salad
  • 1 cup red or rainbow quinoa
  • 2 cups vegan vegetable broth
  • 1 medium Ataulfo mango
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1/3 cup raw almonds
  • 1 - 5 oz package Earthbound Farm Organic Kale Italia deep green blend
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs (I used basil, parsley, garlic chives and cilantro)
  • Dressing
  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked for at least 1 hour
  • Juice of 2 medium sized fresh lemons
  • 1/4 virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cashew milk
  • 3+ cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly. Bring broth to a boil, add quinoa, then reduce to low simmer. Cook until broth absorbed (20 mins) Fluff quinoa with fork. Set aside to cool.
  2. Dice or thinly slice red onion.
  3. Chop mango into small pieces. (The Ataulfo mango is not fibrous like other mangos and has a lovely, creamy lightly sweet flavor. I recommend this mango as it is just the right balance for this salad.)
  4. Thinly slice raw almonds.
  5. Mix Kale Italia and herbs in salad bowl. Add quinoa and toss again. Add all other salad ingredients.
  6. Do not toss again until dressing has been added.
  7. Prepare Dressing: This recipe makes enough dressing for several servings. Refrigerate extra immediately.
  8. Drain cashews and place in bowl.
  9. Add garlic, olive oil, cashew milk, lemon juice, salt & pepper.
  10. Mash together.
  11. Place ingredients in tall container.
  12. Use immersion blender to blend into desired consistency. Add additional lemon juice to thin if necessary.
  13. Drizzle desired amount of dressing over salad ingredients and toss gently.