Lunchbox Love: Quinoa, Chickpea, and Capsicum Salad with a Lime-Honey Dressing

I have a confession: as much as I love salad even I get bored of the same leaf, tomato, legume and antipasto combination. This often leads to me resorting to my next option: cottage cheese and crackers or avocado sushi.

In an attempt to revamp my lunch situation, and to ease night-before-work decision-making fatigue, I made a big batch of this quinoa salad. Full of bright vegetables, healthy protein (from the chickpeas and quinoa), fibre, and complex carbohydrates (slowly broken-down for longer-lasting energy and fullness) it will last in the refrigerator all week long safely divided into four lunchbox-ready containers.

I have also made this salad for a work function and a family barbecue. It makes a perfect pot luck dish because it suits so many different special diets (gluten-free, vegetarian, dairy-free) while still tasting delicious (I’ve had reports). I simply doubled the amount and it made a healthy side dish for 10-12 hungry people. Vegetarian friends, this is a complete protein meal; omnivorous friends, I have reports that it goes rather nicely with grilled chicken or fish.


Quinoa, Chickpea, and Capsicum Salad with a Lime-Honey Dressing

Gluten-free. Vegetarian. Dairy-free.

Serves 4 as a main dish. 6-8 as a side dish.


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (I used red, but any colour will be delicious)
  • 3 cups salt-reduced vegetable stock
  • 1/2 medium red capsicum
  • 1 400 gram can of corn kernels
  • 1 400 gram can of chickpeas
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 2 stalks of spring onion
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves


  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1-2 teaspoons poppy seeds


  1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly and add to a small saucepan with the vegetable stock. Heat on a medium-high stove until it comes to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover pot and cook for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain well and return to pot to cool to room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile dice cucumber, capsicum, and spring onions. Drain corn kernels. Drain and rinse chickpeas well.
  3. Add quinoa to a large bowl and add diced and drained vegetables. Toss mixture together with spinach leaves.
  4. To make the dressing whisk together all dressing ingredients.
  5. Add dressing to bowl and toss well.


Serving suggestions: Perfect the way it is, although sometimes I crumble some feta over the top of mine, or add a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds. Omnivores may like to add grilled chicken or fish (dressed with some extra lime perhaps). Vegans you can substitute agave for the honey.

Nutrition Information: (Per serve. 4 serves per batch.) 315 cals | 1315kJ | 5.55g fat | 0.9g saturated fat | 13.8g protein | 57.8g carbohydrates | 7.8g sugar | 5.2g fibre |


6 thoughts on “Lunchbox Love: Quinoa, Chickpea, and Capsicum Salad with a Lime-Honey Dressing

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