Spring Dinner Recipe: Quinoa with Chickpeas, Asparagus, and Fresh Peas

updated May 2, 2019
Spring Quinoa with Chickpeas, Asparagus, and Fresh Peas
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Much like kale, quinoa is one of those foods. I see it everywhere lately, from food blogs to lunch menus to dinner parties. And there’s a good reason why: it’s quick to make, simple and inexpensive, and much higher in protein than many other grains.

So when a reader wrote in this week asking for protein-heavy vegetarian dishes, a big bowl of spring vegetable quinoa salad seemed like the easy choice. If you’ve never cooked quinoa before, it’s pretty simple. Once you get the hang of it, the amino acid-rich seed may just became a new household staple as it has in our house. With its fluffy, light, almost creamy flavor, it pairs well with most vegetables, soft cheeses, eggs, and beans.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

For this recipe, I used red quinoa because it’s what we had on hand. But feel free to use a more traditional white quinoa instead. What I love most about this recipe is that it’s such a colorful celebration of the season, but also that the dressing is such a simple, bright dash of lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper. For vegetarians and meat eaters alike, this recipe is spring encapsulated.

A few quick notes: I do quickly cook the asparagus and peas together. I don’t find it changes the flavor of either and it’s quicker this way. While I use goat cheese for this recipe, it would be wonderful with an even saltier cheese like ricotta salata if you have that on hand.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Spring Quinoa with Chickpeas, Asparagus, and Fresh Peas

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1 tablespoon

    extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 1/2 cups


  • 1 teaspoon

    fine-grain sea salt, plus more to sprinkle on top

  • 2 cups

    quinoa, well-rinsed and drained

  • 1/2 pound

    fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch segments

  • 3/4 cup

    sugar snap peas

  • 1


  • 1

    15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

  • 1/4 cup

    radishes, rinsed and sliced thinly

  • 1 bunch

    flat-leaf parsley, chopped (should yield about 1/2 cup)

  • 2 tablespoons

    fresh chives, chopped

  • 1/2 cup

    crumbled goat cheese


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and water over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Salt the water well, add the quinoa and stir. Bring back to a boil, then turn down the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the quinoa absorbs the water, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes, still covered. This will allow the quinoa to fully absorb the water and become nice and fluffy.

  2. In the meantime, heat a large pot of salted water on the stove on medium-high heat and prepare an ice water bath. Add the asparagus and sugar snap peas to the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes, or until they've just begun to soften. Once finished, drain the vegetables and toss them into the ice water bath to prevent further cooking.

  3. Zest the lemon, and squeeze 3 tablespoons of lemon juice into a small bowl.

  4. When the quinoa has cooled, add the asparagus, snap peas, chickpeas, radishes, lemon zest and juice, parsley, and chives. Stir to combine. Sprinkle the goat cheese and finishing salt (like Maldon) on top. Garnish with extra chives or parsley if you like.

It’s Reader Request Week at The Kitchn! This post was requested by PUMAUNICORN.

(Images: Megan Gordon)