Meatless Monday: High-Protein Pilaf

This entry was posted on Aug 22, 2016 by Charlotte Bell.

meatless mondayA few days ago I was asked to bring a favorite grain or bean salad to a dinner. Not knowing which to make, I decided on a salad that has both.

But here’s a fun fact: Quinoa isn’t actually a grain. It is the seed from the Chenopodium or Goosefoot plant. It is often classified as a grain because we cook it the same way we cook grains, but it is, in fact, part of a subcategory called “pseudograins.”

No matter. Besides its earthy taste and toothsome texture, quinoa is a complete protein. Paired it with chickpeas and feta, the quinoa salad below is a protein-packed one-dish meal.

I’ve riffed on this recipe, originally inspired by Bon Appetit magazine, sometimes playing with the proportions, but I’ve never felt a need to add or subtract ingredients. It’s quite good as is.

This recipe makes a LOT of food, so it’s great to share at a potluck. You will likely have plenty to eat at home as well.

Quinoa-Chickpea Salad

  • 1-1/2 cups quinoa (any color)
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1-1/3 cup cubed English cucumber (I used peeled lemon cucumber this time.)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas
  • 7 ounces feta cheese (I used fresh goat feta from Drake Family Farms.)


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 2-1/2 t smoked paprika
  1. Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa, return to a boil, then turn down the heat. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until done. Let the quinoa cool to room temperature.
  2. Combine the spinach, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, mint leaves, chickpeas and feta in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  4. Add the quinoa to the vegetables and mix thoroughly.
  5. Add the dressing a little at a time, mixing and then adding more to make sure all the ingredients are coated.



About Charlotte Bell
Charlotte Bell discovered yoga in 1982 and began teaching in 1986. Charlotte is the author of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice and Yoga for Meditators, both published by Rodmell Press. Her third book is titled Hip-Healthy Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Guide to Protecting the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Pain (Shambhala Publications). She writes a monthly column for CATALYST Magazine and serves as editor for Yoga U Online. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte plays oboe and English horn in the Salt Lake Symphony and folk sextet Red Rock Rondo, whose DVD won two Emmy awards in 2010.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *