Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas and Paprika Vinaigrette

For this month's Secret Recipe Club I was thrilled to be assigned A Fit and Spicy Life. Mellissa is a 30-something marketing manager who lives in Minneapolis who loves fitness, food, and wine - sounds like a great combo to me! Mellissa posts healthy, mouth-watering recipes (yes, I said those two words in the same sentence) as well wine and fitness posts. While usually I spend a lot of time hemming and hawing over which recipe to make, this month it was no contest. As soon as I saw Mellissa's Quinoa, Garbanzo and Spinach Salad with Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette I knew it was the one. Love at first sight, if you will. Quinoa Salad with Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette
Like Mellissa I am also obsessed with quinoa and eat it at least once a week. I've made quinoa salads similar to this one before, but it was the smoked paprika vinaigrette that really got me excited. The great thing about salads like this is that you can easily switch up the ingredients based on what you like and have on hand. I swapped portobello mushrooms for the spinach, cilantro for the mint, and changed some of the measurements, but mostly kept Mellissa's recipe as is. And I can tell you that this dish will be in regular rotation at our place. Quinoa Salad with Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette
5.0 from 7 reviews
Quinoa, Garbanzo and Spinach Salad with Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
This healthful, vegetarian salad is incredibly nutritious and infinitely variable. Include your favorite vegetables, use parsley or mint instead of cilantro, or leave out the cheese to make it vegan.
Recipe Type: Salad
Yield: 4 servings
  • 1½ cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • Salt
  • 6 small or 3 large portabello mushrooms (about 6 ounces), sliced
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 (15- to 16-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 unpeeled cucumber, chopped
  • 6 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro/coriander
  • 1½ cups crumbled feta or Bulgarian cheese (about 7 ounces), divided
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Pepper
  1. Put the quinoa in a large saucepan and 1¾ cup water, or enough water to cover quinoa by about 1 inch. Season generously with salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and drain of any remaining liquid, if there is any. Allow to cool slightly.
  2. Heat a drop of olive oil in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) until very hot. Add the portabello mushrooms and cook until tender and cooked through. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook until fully absorbed, another minute. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Put the chickpeas, cucumber, tomatoes, cilantro, 1 cup of cheese, and half of the mushrooms in a large bowl.
  4. Add the cooled quinoa and toss gently to blend.
  5. Whisk vinegar and smoked paprika in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper.
  6. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat.
  7. Sprinkle remaining feta and mushrooms over and serve immediately.
Gluten free, Kosher dairy, Vegetarian Can be easily made parve and vegan by omitting the cheese


  1. So glad you liked this! The dressing is so unique and really make this salad. I love the addition of mushrooms too, that will go on my list to try next time I make this.

  2. I literally just made this and posted it last night! What a coincedence. It’s originally from Bon Appetit. http://www.everylittlethingblog.com/2012/05/perfect-potluck-greek-quinoa-salad.html

    It was delicious!

  3. I’ve never had paprika vinaigrette before and this looks fabulous 🙂

  4. This really looks beautiful.

  5. Love this! I’m on a total salad kick lately (as might be obvious from my SRC pick this month), and this one sounds like a real winner… especially since I’m just discovering quinoa and still don’t have a lot of good recipes for it. Can’t wait to try this one out!

  6. This is a great salad! Must be such an energizing way to start the day! Wonderful pick :-).

    On a different note ;-), I would like to invite you to check out RecipeNewZ – a new photo-based recipe sharing network. It just launched today, and was built by your fellow SRC member 😉

    The best part of this site is: NOTHING IS REJECTED! ALL RECIPE PHOTOS ARE PUBLISHED and appear on RecipeNewZ minutes after you click Submit.

    I hope you try it: http://recipenewz.com (RecipeNewZ – with Z :-))

  7. LOVE quinoa…can’t wait to try this salad.

  8. This is my kind of meal! Looks delicious!

  9. Ah, I should have known that the beautiful photography I spied on SRC linky tool was yours! Just beautiful, Katherine.

  10. Great recipe and STUNNING photos!

  11. Ooo, another use for smoked paprika. I bought a jar for an SRC recipe and have been trying to come up with uses other than in refried beans. Salad dressing it is.

  12. Grain salads with chickpeas and plenty of fresh veg are right up my alley. Sounds like a perfect lunch!

  13. We love quinoa too, and are always looking for new ways to enjoy it. Yum!

  14. Stunning recipe Katherine. Loved the presentation and photography 🙂

  15. This salad looks beautiful – your photography is astounding and the recipe in itself looks healthy yet delicious 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  16. I’ve been looking for ways to add quinoa to my diet – what a perfect salad, and the smoked paprika vinaigrette sounds amazing!

  17. That quinoa salad looks amazing–light and flavorful and perfect for a meatless Monday meal.

  18. Yes, delicious and healthy can absolutely go together and this recipe looks fantastic. A paprika vinaigrette, huh? Hmm…

  19. Yum, I love quinoa salad – so filling and tasty! This one looks fantastic! 🙂

  20. this sounds like a fantastic way to enjoy quinoa and mushrooms!

  21. What a great pick! And sounds SO delicious!

  22. What a delectable salad…quinoa is so versatile and I’m loving this healthy recipe. Wonderful SRC pick~

  23. Mouth-watering is good and this salad fits those words. I do want to try the paprika dressing, never had that before. Great vegetarian dish.

  24. My daughter just came back from Barcelona and brought me some amazing smoked paprika. And I’ve got some gorgeous red quinoa in my pantry. How did you know to post something so perfect for dinner tonight?

  25. Quinoa and smoked paprika are two of my favorite ingredients! They make every dish about ten times better. This looks like such a tasty salad!

  26. Can you pass that to me, please.

  27. I made quinoa for the second time ever last night and sure wish I had had this recipe! The one I used was o.k. but we both thought it needed more flavor. This smoked paprika vinaigrette certainly would have accomplished that! WOW! Huge fan of smoked paprika but never would have thought using it in a salad dressing. I bet it really made those portabellos jump out of the salad! Love it!

  28. I did chick peas this month as well, love them! I just bought some black quinoa, and was debating what to do with it…problem solved! I love grains in salads!

  29. This is the kind of salad I like a lot, it looks delicious.

  30. this is a beautiful salad, and that vinaigrette sounds FANTASTIC!

  31. I love salads this time of year! Especially if they have quinoa and chickpeas – yum! The vinaigrette sounds amazing – a must-try for sure. 🙂

  32. I’m always looking for different ways to use my smoked paprika, and my six-year-old daughter loves quinoa, so this will be on my to-make list! (Visiting from Group C!) 🙂

  33. I can see why this recipe called out to you – love the smoked paprika vinaigrette, too. I will be trying this one soon.

  34. I like to cook with quinoa too. This salad looks beautiful and I love the sound of your smoked paprika vinaigrette – I must try this! xx

  35. There is nothing so good as quinoa. Tonight I actually made another favorite recipe of mine:

    Quinoa with Feta, Tomatoes, and Basil, tossed with a lemon vinaigrette

    Think of it like a poor mans caprese!

  36. This looks so healthy but not lacking in flavour, the cheese, vinaigrette and mushrooms would make that stand out. Yum!

  37. SOunds delicious! I’ve been cooking with quinoa a lot but have never thrown chick peas into the mix – will have to try this!

  38. I like quinoa a lot, but I don’t yet eat it on a weekly basis! But it has such great taste – and is so good and healthy – that maybe I should. Anyway, this is a really nice recipe for the warm weather we’re beginning to enjoy. The Paprika Vinaigrette is really intriguing – love the flavors there. Nice recipe, nice post – thanks.

  39. What a nice spring/summer inspired salad! I love your paprika vinaigrette. You always make delicious dressing!!! I’ll definitely try this one.

  40. Katherine this is amazing. It just makes you want to dive in the bowl.

  41. This looks hearty and healthy! Love this recipe, the portabella mushrooms would be a wonderful addition! 🙂

  42. That Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette sound divine! So flavorful.

  43. Wow this looks fantastic!!

  44. Love the idea of the paprika vinaigrette. I bet that would be so good on so many different kinds of salads, too.


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