Did I ever mention how I love quinoa salads? I am always looking for a good quinoa salad recipe because let's face it, quinoa salads are a great, healthy, meal prep recipe. This lentil quinoa salad has spinach, lentils, chickpeas, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, and a pomegranate vinaigrette dressing.
The inspiration for this salad is "The Third Place Vegan Salad" at Third Place Cafe in Abu Dhabi, UAE. If you are ever in Abu Dhabi, you really need to visit this little coffee shop and try this salad.
This specific recipe is not an exact copy, but more of a simplified version. The original Third Place Cafe recipe has beets, artichoke palm hearts, avocado, walnuts, and pomegranate seeds. I love all of those ingredients, however, sometimes I don't have them all on hand. The base of this recipe is without those ingredients, but you can choose to add them in if you like.
How To Make Lentil Quinoa Salad
- Prepare the lentils, chickpeas, and quinoa. Add brown lentils, canned chickpeas, and dry quinoa to the same pot of boiling water. Cook for 15 minutes. Drain the lentils, quinoa, and chickpeas using a strainer. Return to the pot and cover for 5 minutes. Place lentils, chickpeas, and quinoa in an open bowl in the fridge to cool off quickly.
- Wash and chop the tomatoes, cucumber, and baby spinach.
- Prepare the pomegranate dressing. In a separate bowl, add pomegranate syrup, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Assemble the salad. Make sure that the lentils, chickpeas, and quinoa are cool. Mix the chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, baby spinach, and pomegranate dressing.
How To Meal Prep This Salad
The key to a fresh-tasting salad is only mixing the amount you will eat immediately. I store the salad ingredients in 3 separate containers, then mix them together right before eating:
- the lentils, quinoa, and chickpea mixture
- the pomegranate salad dressing
- the cucumber, tomato, and baby spinach
Keep in mind that the salad dressing will need about 15 minutes at room temperature if stored in the fridge for the olive oil to return to it's normal oily state.
You can mix these ingredients altogether 5 hours prior, so if you wanted to eat this salad at lunch, you can mix it in the morning.
What is Pomegranate Molasses?
Pomegranate molasses or pomegranate syrup is frequently used in Middle Eastern dishes and it's derived from pomegranate juice. It's viscous, sweet, and tangy, and it can be made at home from pomegranate juice if you don't have access to the pomegranate molasses at your grocery store.
Pomegranate molasses can be found in most Middle Eastern grocery stores. Here are some other ways of using pomegranate molasses (in case you buy a whole bottle).
Quinoa is higher in protein and fiber and is lower in carbohydrates than white rice, making it a healthier choice in comparison. However, both rice and quinoa are gluten-free alternatives to wheat.
If storing this salad separately as recommended, then the quinoa chickpea salad will be fresh for about 4 to 5 days. I do not recommend freezing this recipe.