Katie Lee’s ‘Protein-Packed’ Crispy Chickpea and Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad Is the Perfect Spring Meal

Katie Lee has the perfect spring salad recipe, and now you can make it too! The Beach Bites With Katie Lee host, who is pregnant and expecting her first child with husband Ryan Biegel, said she always has “a big plate of food” nearby thanks to her pregnancy.

Though the 38-year-old’s pregnancy cravings include grilled cheese and peanut butter with grape jelly, she’s also got a yen for hearty yet healthy meals. “I love my big salads and I’ve really been trying to keep up with my fruits and veggies because I am pregnant and I want to have all those good nutrients for my baby,” she told Us Weekly exclusively via video interview on Tuesday, May 19. “I’ve got on my plate here, this is my crispy chickpea and quinoa tabbouleh salad.”

Lee, who partnered with Healthy Choice Power Dressings to create this nutritious dish, explained how she throws everything together in a matter of minutes. “I take a can of chickpeas and I toss it with some of the creamy Italian dressing, which has garlic and herbs and even has cauliflower puree in it, so I’m getting even more vegetables through my dressing,” she said. “I roast [the chickpeas] so they get nice and crispy, so you get that feeling of having something fried, a little naughty, and then I make a quinoa salad.”

Katie Lee Protein-Packed Crispy Chickpea and Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad Is the Perfect Spring Meal
Katie Lee.

Aside from being delicious and nutritious, The Kitchen cohost loves this salad because it’s super adaptable and can be made with just about whatever ingredients you have on hand.

“You can use brown rice, any kind of grain that you like, and I put in chopped cucumber, tomatoes, scallions and herbs,” she added. “I just put that in the fridge and then when it’s lunchtime, all I have to do is scoop it out onto some fresh greens and I’ve got a nice, healthy, protein-packed, nutrient-packed lunch.”

Lee also had advice for those who might be struggling to eat healthily while quarantined amid the coronavirus pandemic. “I think that it’s about being prepared. So whether it’s the stay-at-home quarantine time or it’s normal times, meal prep always is going to help,” she told Us. “Like I said, I love these big salads. I get my produce delivered. I am in here in the kitchen washing it all. I prep those vegetables, put them in containers [and] have them in the fridge so that I can easily make a salad or I can do some roasted vegetables.”

Another tip from Lee? “Make your leftovers work for you,” she noted. “Turn things into different items. If you made grilled chicken last night, chop it up and put it on your salad or do a quesadilla. Find those different ways to reinvent your food.”

Scroll down for Lee’s hearty salad recipe!

Katie Lee’s Crispy Chickpea and Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS:

For the chickpeas:
• 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
• 2 tbsp Healthy Choice Power Dressings Creamy Italian
• Salt and pepper, to taste

For the tabbouleh:
• 2 cups quinoa, rinsed
• 1 English cucumber, peeled and diced
• 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
• 1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
• 1⁄4 cup minced fresh mint (or substitute any soft herbs, like cilantro, chives, tarragon, etc.)
• 1⁄4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley (or substitute any soft herbs, like cilantro, chives, tarragon, etc.)
• 1⁄2 tsp salt
• 1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
• 1⁄2 cup Healthy Choice Italian dressing
• 4 cups mixed greens, for serving
• 4 lemon wedges, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a paper towel or a clean dish towel to pat the chickpeas dry. In a bowl, toss chickpeas with Italian dressing and season with salt and pepper. Bake until crispy, about 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring four cups of water and the quinoa to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork.
  3. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and let cool completely.
  4. Add the cucumber, tomatoes, scallions, mint and parsley to the quinoa and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in Italian dressing and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature on a bed of greens and top with crispy chickpeas and a lemon wedge.

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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