Chickpea, Brown Rice, & Spinach Salad with Garlic & Herb Dressing

Chickpea, Brown Rice, & Spinach Salad with Garlic & Herb Dressing

This vibrant salad features hearty brown rice, fresh baby spinach, and protein-packed chickpeas. Crisp cucumber, creamy feta, and crunchy pistachios add layers of flavor and texture. Crispy bacon crumbles provide a savory touch, all brought together with a zesty garlic and herb dressing. Perfect for a light lunch or a satisfying side dish!

Why You’ll Love it:

  • Packed with Nutrients– loaded with vitamins, minerals, and protein from spinach, chickpeas, and brown rice and is naturally gluten-free.
  • Variety of Textures– this salad combines the crunch of cucumber and pistachios with the creaminess of feta and the chewiness of rice.
  • Balanced– this salad recipe offers a good mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats.
  • Versatile– great as a main dish or a side, and perfect for meal prep or a quick lunch.
ingredients for chickpea brown rice and spinach salad

Ingredient Notes:

  • Brown Rice– provides a nutty flavor and chewy texture; ensure it’s cooled before adding to salad to prevent wilting the spinach.
  • Baby Spinach– fresh and tender, adding a vibrant green color and a dose of vitamins.
  • Chickpeas– a great source of protein and fiber, adding heartiness to the salad.
  • Cucumber– adds a refreshing crunch and hydration; use English cucumber for fewer seeds.
  • Feta Cheese– offers a creamy and tangy flavor; can be substituted with goat cheese for a different twist.
  • Pistachios– provide a delightful crunch and nutty flavor; can be swapped with almonds or walnuts if preferred.
  • Bacon– adds a savory and smoky note; for a vegetarian option, use tempeh bacon or omit entirely.

Substitutions & Variations:

  • Brown Rice– substitute with quinoa, farro, or barley for different textures and flavor.
  • Baby Spinach– kale, arugula, or mixed greens can be used as alternatives.
  • Chickpeas– replace with black beans, lentils, or edamame for a different protein source.
  • Cucumber– try using bell peppers, zucchini, or radishes for a different fresh crunch.
  • Feta Cheese– swap with goat cheese, blue cheese, or a dairy-free cheese alternative.
  • Pistachios– use slivered almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds instead.

  • Make it Vegetarian– substitute bacon with tempeh bacon or omit entirely.
  • Make it Vegan– omit the bacon and feta, and use a vegan cheese alternative or additional nuts and seeds for added richness. Replace the honey in the dressing with agave syrup.
  • Mediterranean Twist– Add cherry tomatoes, olives, and a splash of lemon juice.
  • Asian-Inspired– Replace the dressing with a sesame ginger vinaigrette and add edamame and shredded carrots.
  • Mexican Style– Use black beans instead of chickpeas, add corn, avocado, and a lime-cilantro dressing.
  • Fruit Addition– Incorporate dried cranberries or raisins for a touch of sweetness.
ingredients for chickpea brown rice and spinach salad with garlic dressing
brown rice chickpea and spinach salad with garlic and herb dressing

Tips & Recipe Notes:

  • Ensure the brown rice is completely cooled before mixing it with the other ingredients to prevent wilting the spinach.
  • Toss the salad with the garlic and herb dressing right before serving to keep the spinach fresh and crisp.
  • For extra crispy bacon, cook it in the oven on a wire rack over a baking sheet.
  • Brown rice and bacon can be made ahead of time to save on preparation time. Both can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, keeping the dressing separate for optimal freshness.
chickpea and brown rice spinach salad with garlic and herb dressing

More Salad Recipe You Will Love:

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chickpea spinach and brown rice salad with garlic and herb dressing

Chickpea, Brown Rice, & Spinach Salad with Garlic & Herb Dressing

This vibrant salad features hearty brown rice, fresh baby spinach, and protein-packed chickpeas. Crisp cucumber, creamy feta, and crunchy pistachios add layers of flavor and texture. Crispy bacon crumbles provide a savory touch, all brought together with a zesty garlic and herb dressing. Perfect for a light lunch or a satisfying side dish!
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Salad
Servings 4
Calories 406 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice cooled
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 1 15 oz can chick peas drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
  • 4 slices bacon cooked and crumbled

Garlic & Herb Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp dried basil leaves
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients until well combined. Adjust dressing ingredients according to taste.
  • Toss together all salad ingredients. Pour half of dressing over salad, toss again. Add more dressing to taste.

Notes

  • Ensure the brown rice is completely cooled before mixing it with the other ingredients to prevent wilting the spinach.
  • Toss the salad with the garlic and herb dressing right before serving to keep the spinach fresh and crisp.
  • For extra crispy bacon, cook it in the oven on a wire rack over a baking sheet.
  • Brown rice and bacon can be made ahead of time to save on preparation time. Both can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, keeping the dressing separate for optimal freshness.
  • Nutritional Information is an estimate only and will vary according to specific ingredients and amounts used.

Nutrition

Calories: 406kcalCarbohydrates: 26.4gProtein: 13.5gFat: 22.2gSaturated Fat: 5.8gCholesterol: 25.5mgSodium: 749mgFiber: 5.9gSugar: 2.4g
Keyword brown rice and spinach salad
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