Creating an interesting side-dish doesn’t have to include a ton of ingredients or much thought/effort. Often times, you have all the ingredients you need right in your kitchen. Today’s side salad makes use of two high-protein vegetarian items I always have on hand: canned chickpeas and quinoa. Using these two items as a base and then adding vegetables, herbs and seasoning is the perfect way to make a creative salad without relying on the usual leafy greens. Not to mention, a warm salad is also perfect for the Fall weather.

Chickpeas are a legume with a ton of fiber, protein, manganese and iron. They have a low glycemic index, which makes them perfect pre or post workout. Regular intake of chickpeas can lower LDL and total cholesterol. Their high levels of folate helps to strengthen blood vessels, as well as lower the risk of heart attack. Likewise, quinoa has high nutritional value. Quinoa contains anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, as well as heart-healthy fats. This grain has substantial protein content, making it quite special. When compared with other grains it contains more calcium and anti-oxidants.

All of the additives in this dish are just as healthy and nutrient rich, relying mostly upon extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which is considered to be a healthy dietary fat. These may lower your risk of heart attack, as well as lower total cholesterol levels.


1 small cauliflower (chopped into bite-size florets)
sea salt and ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
1 can rinsed chickpeas
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup sliced almonds
a handful each of fresh mint leaves

a handful of chopped cilantro


Juice of two limes

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of chopped chives

sea salt and ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F). Roast cauliflower florets seasoned with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil for 15-20 minutes. Cooked cauliflower should be golden and tender.
  2. In a bowl, season chickpeas with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast these in the oven for approximately 10-15 minutes until they’re a bit crisp and browned.
  3. Combine all dressing ingredients in separate bowl.
  4. In a large bowl, combine cooked cauliflower, chickpeas, (pre)cooked quinoa, herbs, sliced almonds and mix with dressing.

Serves 2-4 people as a small side dish.