Packed with tri-color quinoa and crunchy chickpeas, this Jennifer Aniston salad is bursting with plant-based protein and texture. Drizzled with homemade dressing, it’s a perfectly light and refreshing salad.
Healthy Chickpea Quinoa Salad
With crunchy cucumbers and sweet bell peppers, this Jennifer Aniston quinoa salad with homemade dressing is the perfect summer salad. Loaded with pan-roasted chickpeas, it’s a light and healthy side that’ll go perfectly with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern meals.
Prep-friendly and served chilled or at room temperature, this recipe is fuss-free from start to finish. For added cheats and an extra filling bite, you can serve this chickpea quinoa salad in flatbread with shredded chicken for a whole meal in one sitting. You can even add some spices!
Tossed with toasted pistachios and spicy red onion, this delicate salad is packed with sweet and savory flavors that make it absolutely irresistible. Don’t forget the creamy feta for a bit of tang and creaminess. Once in the salad bowl, it’ll be the prettiest, most refreshing quinoa salad you’ve had in a while.
What Is The Jennifer Aniston Salad?
The Jennifer Aniston salad is a simple salad recipe that was popularized by Friend’s star, Jennifer Aniston. It’s a heartier, yummier take on the Cobb salad she ate daily for almost 10 years. Filled with plant-based protein, lots of texture, and a homemade dressing, it’s the perfect healthy food to keep you feeling full even on the busiest schedule.
This Jennifer Aniston quinoa salad is loaded with Mediterranean ingredients. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient amounts.
For the Cucumbers
- Persian cucumbers – Feel free to use English cucumbers, but remove all the seeds.
For the Chickpeas
- Olive oil – Vegetable, corn, and canola oil are good substitutes.
- Canned chickpeas
For the Quinoa
- Olive oil
- Garlic cloves – 1-1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder is a good substitute.
- Tri-color quinoa – Use your favorite type of quinoa or bulgur.
- Low-sodium chicken broth – Veggie broth or water will work as well.
For the Dressing
- Lemon juice – Don’t use lime juice.
- Raw honey – Avoid the sugary syrups for this
- Orange juice – Freshly squeezed orange juice is best.
- Olive oil
For the Salad
- Toasted pistachios – Toasted almonds, pecans, or walnuts are great alternatives.
- Red onion
- Red bell pepper – Any color of bell pepper will do.
- Fresh parsley
- Feta – Goat’s cheese is an excellent alternative.
With a couple of extra ingredients, you can take this Jennifer Aniston salad to the next level.
- Add protein. Grilled chicken, turkey, and tofu are excellent protein options for this Mediterranean-style salad. You can even use leftover rotisserie chicken.
- Add spices. Toss the chickpeas in spices like 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon of paprika for extra flavor without lots of additional effort.
- Use regular chickpeas. The pan-roasted chickpeas give the salad a nice crunch, but they do require extra cooking time. If you’re in a rush, use regular canned chickpeas and give them a good rinse before tossing them into the salad.
How to Make Jennifer Aniston Salad
Making this Jennifer Aniston quinoa salad is easier than it seems, especially if you prep ahead.
- Prepare the cucumbers. Place the sliced cucumbers and salt in a bowl. Toss until well combined. Refrigerate the cucumbers and let them rest for 1 hour. They will release excess moisture. Strain the cucumbers. Rinse them with cold water 3 or 4 times, stirring them around well. When you bite into one, it shouldn’t be salty anymore. If not, keep rinsing them. Set them aside.
- Roast the chickpeas. Place the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the chickpeas and let them cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring constantly, or until golden and crispy to taste. Don’t let them sit untouched for too long or they’ll begin to burn. Remove them from the heat and set them aside.
- Prepare the quinoa. Add the olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and let it cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the tri-color quinoa and pour in the chicken broth. Add the salt and stir well. Cook according to package instructions. Remove it from the heat and set it aside. Let it cool for 20 minutes before adding it to the salad.
- Make the dressing. Mix the lemon juice and raw honey in a small bowl until well combined. Add the orange juice, salt, and olive oil. Stir until well combined. Set it aside.
- Make the salad. Add the cooled quinoa, cucumbers, and pan-roasted chickpeas to a large salad bowl. Mix well to combine. Add the pistachios, red onion, red bell pepper, parsley, and feta. Stir.
- Serve. Serve the salad at room temperature or cooled with the dressing on the side.
This chickpea quinoa salad is perfect with chicken, turkey, and fish mains.
For chicken, try it with my Artichoke Chicken Recipe, Chicken Marbella, and Tender Instant Pot Chicken Breasts Recipe. Try my Juicy Air Fryer Turkey Breast and Instant Pot Turkey Breast for turkey. For fish, try it with my Maple Mustard Salmon Baked in Foil, Creamy Garlic Dijon Salmon, and Oven Baked Salmon and Asparagus with Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce.
I love to serve it with flatbread like my Lavash. It’s also great with naan or pita bread when they’re used as pita pockets or wraps. Filled with a bit of this salad plus some shredded chicken, it’s a light and filling meal!
Can This Quinoa and Chickpea Salad Be Prepared In Advance?
Absolutely! I recommend making it a day or two in advance, except for the crispy chickpeas. Those are best on the same day for the ultimate crunch.
You can also prepare some of the salad’s elements in advance, like the dressing or quinoa, and throw the rest of the recipe together throughout the week.
How to Store Leftovers
- Refrigerate it in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days, keeping the salad and salad dressing separate. Keep it away from any sunlight and heat sources when it’s on the counter or table for serving to help prevent the growth of bacteria.
- You can serve it chilled or at room temperature. This Jennifer Aniston quinoa salad shouldn’t be eaten warm or reheated for serving.
More Healthy Salad Recipes
Jennifer Aniston Salad
For the cucumbers:
- 5 Persian cucumbers, sliced into 1/4" rounds (about 1-1/2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the chickpeas:
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
For the quinoa:
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 cup tri-color quinoa, uncooked
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the dressing:
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons raw honey
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
For the salad:
- ¼ cup toasted pistachios, shells removed and roughly chopped
- ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ cup diced red bell pepper
- ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
- ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
For the Cucumbers
- Place the sliced cucumbers and salt in a bowl. Toss until well combined. Refrigerate the cucumbers and let them rest for 1 hour. Strain the cucumbers. Rinse them 3 or 4 times, stirring them around. Set them aside.
For the Chickpeas
- Place the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the chickpeas and let them cook for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until golden and crispy to taste. Remove them from the heat and set them aside.
For the Quinoa
- Add the olive oil to a pot set over medium heat. Add the garlic and let it cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the tri-color quinoa and pour in the chicken broth. Add the salt and stir well. Cook according to package instructions. Remove it from the heat and set it aside. Let it cool for 20 minutes before adding it to the salad.
For the Salad Dressing
- Mix the lemon juice and raw honey in a small bowl until well combined. Add the orange juice, salt, and olive oil. Whisk until thoroughly incorporated. Set it aside.
Finish the Salad
- Add the cooled quinoa, cucumbers, and pan-roasted chickpeas to a large salad bowl. Mix well to combine. Add the pistachios, red onion, red bell pepper, parsley, and feta. Stir.
- Serve the salad at room temperature or cooled with the dressing on the side.
- Cucumbers: The original recipe includes Persian cucumbers, but you can also use English or regular cucumbers, but remove the seeds.
- Quinoa: I used tri-color quinoa, but you can also use regular quinoa or bulgur. Cook the quinoa or bulgur according to the directions on the package.
- Cheese: I love adding feta cheese here, but if you want, you can also use crumbled goat cheese or bleu cheese.
- Nuts: Pistachios are great, but if you’re in a rush or don’t like pistachios, feel free to use toasted almonds, walnuts, or pecans.
- Add protein. Grilled chicken, shredded turkey breast, and tofu are excellent protein options for this Mediterranean-style salad.
- This is a perfect salad to make ahead of time, but don’t toss it with the dressing if you plan to eat the salad throughout the week. Keep the salad dressing in a separate container and use it as needed.
BethMar 28, 2023 at 2:54 pm
I love recipes like this that are so healthy and delicious. I love all the ingredients, and I can’t wait to make it!
Katerina PetrovskaApr 1, 2023 at 1:25 pm
Thank you, Beth! I hope you love it! ❤
Allyson ZeaMar 29, 2023 at 12:01 pm
Wow, I absolutely loved every single bite of the salad! Thank you for sharing!
Katerina PetrovskaApr 1, 2023 at 1:23 pm
That’s great! I’m very glad you enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂
SandraMar 29, 2023 at 12:57 pm
Such an amazing salad!! My whole family loved it!
Katerina PetrovskaApr 1, 2023 at 1:22 pm
Thank YOU! I’m very glad everyone enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂
Erin | Dinners, Dishes and DessertMar 29, 2023 at 10:12 pm
Looks absolutely fantastic! I would love to make this!
Katerina PetrovskaApr 1, 2023 at 1:21 pm
I hope you love it! Thank YOU! 🙂
CatalinaMar 30, 2023 at 3:55 pm
Love how rich and healthy this salad is! I am so curious to try it!
Katerina PetrovskaApr 1, 2023 at 1:18 pm
I hope you enjoy it! Thank YOU! 🙂