This Protein Salad is packed with fresh veggies and plenty of protein from quinoa, chickpeas, black beans, and eggs – the perfect combination of high-protein ingredients to keep you full and satisfied! You can pack this delicious salad in a jar, which is perfect for healthy meal prep.
Salads have a bad rep for being too light, but I firmly believe that having a good salad for lunch or dinner should never leave you unsatisfied.
Therefore, I take my salad assembly very seriously and pack in as much protein and nutrient-dense veggies as possible.
This fresh and flavorful protein salad is a powerhouse of nutritious ingredients designed to fill you up and keep you fueled throughout the day.
It’s made with a delicious combination of plant-based and animal protein, but you can also make a vegan version with no eggs.
This is truly one of the best healthy high-protein salad recipes you can get! Who would have thought there were so many ways to add protein to salads without meat?!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Quinoa: Quinoa is a great protein source. A serving of cooked quinoa has nearly twice the plant protein as rice and is a better source of fiber.
- Chickpeas: Garbanzo beans are yummy straight from the can, but crunchy roasted chickpeas are also an option.
- Black beans: Black beans are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Feel free to add other beans like pinto, kidney, or white beans.
- Eggs: An egg adds an additional 6 grams of protein per salad. See below for ways to add non-animal proteins to salads.
- Cucumber: If possible, use seedless English or Persian cucumbers. If using a common cucumber, scoop out the seeds and watery centers before slicing.
- Red onion: Here, I used thin slices of fresh red onion. Try pickled or marinated red onions for a milder, crisp onion flavor!
- Greens: Any crisp, leafy greens like baby spinach, arugula, or chopped romaine.
- Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes, Roma, plum, grape, etc.
- Carrot: Shredded or sliced into ribbons for a pop of color and crunch.
- Fresh herbs: Parsley, basil, salad cress, or any other fresh herbs on hand.
- Salad dressing: For this flavorful dressing, you will need fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, garlic, maple syrup (or honey), sea salt, and black pepper.
How To Make
- Cook the quinoa: In a small pot, bring water (or vegetable broth) to a boil. Add the rinsed quinoa and cook on medium-low heat until the liquid is absorbed. Set aside to cool off.
- Boil the eggs: Place the eggs in a small pot and cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat, and cook for 4-6 minutes (depending on how you like your boiled eggs). Remove from the heat, rinse under cold water, and remove the shells. Slice the eggs in half, and set them aside to cool off.
- Prep legumes and vegetables: Rinse the black beans and chickpeas. Chop the cucumber into bite-size chunks, slice the onion, dice the tomatoes, and shred the carrots (or use a vegetable peeler to slice them into ribbons).
- Make the dressing: Add the dressing ingredients to a small jar, close the jar, and shake until the dressing is emulsified.
- Assemble: Divide the crisp lettuce between two plates or shallow bowls, then add the quinoa, chickpeas, black beans, egg, and remaining veggies.
- Serve: Sprinkle fresh parsley, basil, or salad cress over the top and then drizzle with dressing and serve.
How To Build A Salad Jar
Layering salad ingredients vertically in a glass jar helps preserve each ingredient’s freshness and crunch longer.
I used these ¾ liter jars -they hold about 3 cups each. Two wide-mouth 32-ounce mason jars work as well.
- Assemble: To assemble, split the ingredients into jars. Start with the dressing, then add the crisp ingredients: chickpeas, black beans, and cucumbers. Then layer ingredients like quinoa, cherry tomatoes, and onions. Leave the more delicate ingredients as last: eggs, carrots, and greens.
- Serve: When ready to serve, invert the jar’s contents onto a plate, toss with a fork, and enjoy!
How To Store and Meal Prep
Meal prep: This protein salad stays fresh for 4-5 days in a sealed mason jar. Just be sure to add the dressing to the jar first, followed by the legumes, quinoa, and crunchy veggies, and add the egg and greens last.
This is perfect for lunch on the go.
You can even eat the salad straight from the jar. Just give the jar a good shake, open it, and dig in!
Tips and Variations
Soak your quinoa. Quinoa is coated in a layer of bitter saponin that must be rinsed off. If time permits, soak the seeds overnight and rinse with cold water before cooking. Soaking quinoa also helps activate enzymes, making the seeds easier to digest. You can also buy pre-soaked quinoa to save time.
Quinoa substitutions. Brown rice, farro, barley, and whole-grain couscous are good high-protein alternatives to quinoa.
Other proteins you can add: You can add feta cheese, goat cheese, greek yogurt, or even some roasted chicken breasts if you want to opt for a non-vegetarian version.
Add more plant proteins. To make this a vegan protein salad, substitute the eggs for foods like lentils, crispy tofu or tempeh, or nuts & seeds (like sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, or pumpkin seeds).
Swap the veggies: Other great alternatives to add to this rich salad are mushrooms, green pepper, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, or red cabbage.
Dressing options. This salad pairs well with almost any dressing. Try it with this turmeric tahini dressing, balsamic vinaigrette, red wine vinaigrette, ranch dressing, etc.
Why I love this protein salad
- Its’ quick, easy, and perfect for weekly meal prep.
- The right combination of protein-packed ingredients to keep me satisfied.
- Perfect for lunch or for an easy dinner.
- Gluten-free, vegetarian, and easily vegan (without the egg).
More lunch recipes you’ll love
- Mediterranean Lunch Box
- Mediterranean Quinoa
- Chickpea Salad
- Hummus Bowl
- Vegetarian Bento Box
- Vegan Bento Box
- Vegan Meal Prep Bowls
If you try this Protein Salad (Meal Prep) recipe, please leave a comment and a rating and let me know how much you liked it!
Protein Salad (Meal Prep)
For The Salad
- ½ cup quinoa - or 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 cup water - or vegetable broth
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 can black beans
- 2 eggs
- 1 cucumber
- ½ red onion - chopped
- 2 cups greens - lettuce, romaine, baby spinach
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 carrot - shredded or ribbons
- Parsley - basil, or salad cress
- 2 servings turmeric tahini dressing
- In a small pot, add salted water or vegetable broth and bring it to a boil. Add the quinoa (note 1) and cook on medium-low heat until all the liquid is absorbed. Allow to cool off.
- In another small pot, add cold water and add the eggs. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook for 4-6 minutes (depending on how you like your boiled eggs). Remove from the heat, rinse and peel the shells off. Slice them in half and let them cool down.
- Rinse the black beans and chickpeas. Cut the cucumber into chunks, cut the onion, dice the cherry tomatoes, and cut the carrots into ribbons or shred them.
- Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small jar. Cover it with a lid and give it a good shake.
- Assembling the Salad On a plate: Add all ingredients, top with some fresh parsley or salad cress, add the dressing, and serve.
- Assembling the salad in a jar: Split the ingredients into two jars (I used these ¾ liter jars – they hold about 3 cups). Start with the dressing, followed by chickpeas, black beans, cucumbers, cooked quinoa, cherry tomatoes, eggs, carrots, onions, and salad. When you are ready to serve, empty the jar's content on a plate, mix well with a fork and enjoy!
Did you make this recipe? Tag @gatheringdreams on Instagram. I want to see it!