Roasted Veggie, Chickpea & Pesto Quinoa Salad

Wonderful pesto quinoa salad tossed with sheet pan roasted vegetables and garlicky chickpeas. This flavorful vegetarian quinoa salad recipe is packed with protein and a great make ahead lunch to enjoy hot or cold!

Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
45 mins

On my constant quest to make delicious and good for you things, I have forgotten about my love for the ever-popular trendy grain of 2014 AKA quinoa. At one point, I had put quinoa in mac and cheese, frittatas, stir fry, my favorite salad and also in banana bread. Call me the Harry Potter of quinoa.

Wait… what.

I’m certainly no quinoa queen (or wizard), but obviously my love for quinoa is the real deal. Not unlike my love for Twilight (it’s still real, guys), Jon Snow or Pacey from the 90s.

All truths today.

chickpeas, mushrooms, red pepper and red onion on a baking sheet

Ingredients in pesto quinoa salad

I whipped up this beautiful, super easy pesto quinoa salad with roasted veggies and chickpeas and MY GOODNESS IT WAS CRACK. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • Veggies: red onion, red bell pepper, grape tomatoes and baby bella mushrooms. Feel free to mix it up with veggies you have on-hand!
  • Chickpeas: for a delicious and affordable plant based protein.
  • Spices: you’ll use garlic powder, dried oregano, salt and pepper to give the veggies and chickpeas the perfect flavor.
  • Olive oil: you’ll need just a bit of olive oil to coat your veggies and chickpeas.
  • Quinoa: the base of this amazing pesto quinoa salad. It gives the salad a wonderful nutty flavor and boost of protein.
  • Homemade pesto: made with fresh basil leaves, fresh lemon juice, water, garlic, chopped cashews (or sunflower seeds), grated parmesan and a pinch of salt.

This easy quinoa salad recipe is so good and something I ate for three nights straight paired with various proteins like chicken sausage, hardboiled eggs and leftover shrimp. Just on that protein train like those people from bodybuilder.com.

Again, kidding. I am deliriously tired while writing this but hopefully you find it entertaining.

chickpeas, onions, mushrooms, and red peppers on a baking sheet

How to make pesto quinoa salad

  1. First you’ll roast your veggies and chickpeas. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place chopped veggies and chickpeas on parchment paper.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over veggies, then sprinkle on garlic powder, dried oregano, salt and pepper. Gently toss with your hands then spread veggies out evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until veggies are tender and roasted.
  3. While the veggies are roasting, make the quinoa: Add quinoa and water to a medium pot and place over high heat; bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. (see below for the BEST tips for making fluffy quinoa!)
  4. After 15 minutes, remove from heat, fluff quinoa with a fork and transfer quinoa to a large bowl.
  5. Next make the pesto: In the bowl of a food processor, add basil, lemon, water, garlic, cashews and parmesan cheese. Process until smooth, about 1 minute, adding another tablespoon of water if necessary. Pesto will be on the thicker side.
  6. Once your veggies are done, add them to the bowl with the quinoa. Then fold in the pesto. Serve warm or cold.

healthy pesto quinoa salad in a bowl

How to cook the perfect fluffy quinoa

I have a tried and true method for making super fluffy quinoa that’s perfect for salads (like this one) and side dishes. Guaranteed to be your new go-to method.

  1. First, add 2 parts water and 1 part quinoa to a medium pot and place over high heat.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low, and cook your quinoa for exactly 15 minutes.
  3. After 15 minutes, remove pot from heat and fluff quinoa with a fork. Then cover and allow quinoa to sit in the pot off of direct heat for 10 minutes to fluff and steam for the best texture. Easy!

Tony even said this pesto quinoa salad was good. And this is coming from a guy who still pronounces quinoa as KIN OH UH.

Customize this pesto quinoa salad

The best part about this simple pesto quinoa salad recipe is that you can truly make it your own!

  • Add different proteins like chicken, shrimp, tofu or get wild and throw an egg on it.
  • Use the veggies you have on-hand. Roast up different peppers, zucchini, sweet potato and more.
  • Swap the quinoa for another grain like farro, couscous or even your favorite pasta noodle.

vegetarian pesto quinoa salad with chickpeas and veggies in a bowl

How to store quinoa salad

Store this vegetarian pesto quinoa salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. It’s delicious eaten hot or cold, so feel free to dig in straight from the fridge or warm it up in the microwave!

What to serve it with

On another note, I’ve been running like a mad woman trying to finish up my taxes because April 18th is coming up real quick. Last year was nuts, so this year I finally got myself a new accountant, a bookkeeper and started filing as an S-Corp. It’s crazy to see Ambitious Kitchen grow and flourish. Crazy in the best way because this is a rollercoaster I never want to get off. It just keeps getting better and I can’t thank YOU enough.

In the midst of all the craziness, I’m glad that my eating has stayed somewhat on track. It truly helps to prepare a meal or two ahead here or there. Either that or Abra and I are making egg and avocado sandwiches every day. Better when we have pesto quinoa salads to nosh on.

I really hope you get a chance to make this salad. It’s easy to make, FUN and freaking delish.

ENJOY! And don’t forget to leave a comment below if you make this recipe, or tag #ambitiouskitchen on Instagram. xo!

Roasted Veggie, Chickpea & Pesto Quinoa Salad

5 from 9 votes
pesto quinoa salad in a bowl
Course Gluten Free, Lunch, Salad, Side Dish, Vegetarian
Cuisine American
Keyword easy, healthy, pesto quinoa salad, simple, summer
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Serves 4

Wonderful pesto quinoa salad tossed with sheet pan roasted vegetables and garlicky chickpeas. This flavorful vegetarian quinoa salad recipe is packed with protein and a great make ahead lunch to enjoy hot or cold!

Ingredients

  • For the roasted veggies/chickpeas:
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 2 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For the quinoa:
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • For the pesto:
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cashews (or can sub roasted sunflower seeds to make it nut free)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place chopped veggies and chickpeas on parchment paper. 
  2. Drizzle olive oil over veggies, then sprinkle on garlic powder, dried oregano, salt and pepper. Gently toss with your hands then spread veggies out evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until veggies are tender and roasted.
  3. While the veggies are roasting, make the quinoa: Add quinoa and water to a medium pot and place over high heat; bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. 
  4. After 15 minutes, remove from heat, fluff quinoa with a fork and transfer quinoa to a large bowl.
  5. Next make the pesto: In the bowl of a food processor, add basil, lemon, water, garlic, cashews and parmesan cheese. Process until smooth, about 1 minute, adding another tablespoon of water if necessary. Pesto will be on the thicker side.
  6. Once veggies are done, add them to the bowl with the quinoa. Then fold in the pesto. Serve warm or cold. Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition
Servings: 4 servings
Serving size: 1 serving (based on 4)
Calories: 324kcal
Fat: 13.5g
Saturated fat: 2.3g
Carbohydrates: 44.1g
Fiber: 8.9g
Sugar: 3.7g
Protein: 14.2g

More healthy quinoa recipes you’ll love:

Fiesta Mango Black Bean Quinoa Salad

Kale, Edamame & Quinoa Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Famous Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad

One Pot Moroccan Chickpea Quinoa Salad

Green Goddess Tuna Quinoa Salad

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