Spiced paneer, chickpeas & quinoa autumn salad

by Kiran on November 14, 2011 · 65 comments

in Lunch/Dinner, Salads, Sides, Vegetarian

Happy Monday!

If you are following us on Twitter, chances are you would’ve known of our little road-trip past weekend to Atlanta. Road trip that included many rest room stops, Malaysian food encounters and taking in scenic Atlanta views.

Let’s face it – roadtrips can be expensive. Not only you end up eating unhealthy food and sipping copious amount of decaf Star$, if you know what I mean 😉 Obviously we didn’t skim on fast food. There’s something very nostalgic about drive-thru’s during road-trips.

Knowing Atlanta would be chilly cold, I packed a delicious vegetarian supper in order to save some mullah on 1 dinner. Better save on 1 meal, rather than nothing.

I peered into my refrigerator to use up some produce instead, fearing a tossing situation upon our return. Gotta save money where we can. And you should too!

Since we are on the topic of money-saving, I wanted to highlight the importance of using dried beans. It is so easy to prepare and darn cheap. I don’t like using the canned version. It somehow tastes very off and salty, even after rinsing. The after taste of sitting in a pool of liquid can, just isn’t appealing.

We are huge rice eaters. That doesn’t sound good, right? So I thought to change this recipe up by incorporating some healthier option instead – gotta love quinoa!

This salad turned out so delicious & definitely warmed our hearts and bellies. A perfect autumn comforting salad. Good eaten warm and a great to-go meal. The Husband definitely approved this recipe – I packed the same for his lunch box the other day.

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  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 3 tbsp coconut or any cooking oil
  • 6 oz paneer, cubed
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup haricot verts or french beans, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinammon powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder (skip this if you want to avoid spiciness)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 mint sprigs (reserve a few leaves for garnish)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • a nice handful of sliced toasted almonds for crunch
  1. Pressure cook dried chickpeas until tender. If you are using canned, I won’t judge 😉
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil. Water should be enough to cover quinoa. Throw in quinoa and cook on medium heat between 7-8 minutes. Remove access water (if any), fluff quinoa with a fork, put on a lid and turn off heat to cook off remaining moisture.
  3. Heat a non-stick skillet on medium, add cooking oil and lightly brown paneer cubes on each side. Drained on a paper towel.
  4. Using the same skillet, add red onions and fry till translucent.
  5. Throw in chopped carrots, green beans and stir fry till tender.
  6. Once the vegetables are tender, add ginger paste, turmeric, cinnamon, red chili and nutmeg powder.
  7. Stir to combine. Cook for a few more minutes before adding cooked quinoa, chickpeas & paneer.
  8. Sprinkle in some garam masala, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Stir to combine.
  9. Remove from heat. Sprinkle in some chopped fresh mint.
  10. Serve warm, garnished with sliced toasted almonds and a few mint leaves.


I bet this salad would be a great Thanksgiving side – switching up from the traditional green bean casserole 😉

Are you a money-saver while road-tripping? What is your favorite to-go meal?

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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

1 foodwanderings November 14, 2011 at 8:27 PM

I know what you mean exactly about road trips. Love all th epics but first one particularly grabbed me!! :) Fabtastic Autumn salad.


2 Kiran November 18, 2011 at 6:30 PM

You are way too kind, thank you so much :)


3 Divya Vikram November 14, 2011 at 8:39 PM

That is a delicious blend of Indian flavors with the quinoa!


4 Kiran November 18, 2011 at 6:30 PM

Thank you honey :)


5 Simply Life November 14, 2011 at 8:56 PM

oh I love how healthy and vibrant this salad is- beautiful!
Simply Life recently posted..The Half-Half Marathon: Whole Wheat Challah Bread


6 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 12:32 AM

Thanks a lot dear – you made my day :)


7 sophia November 14, 2011 at 10:02 PM

I’m just so in love with your photography, Kiran. You really captured the vibrant freshness and healthfulness of this dish.
sophia recently posted..A Little Tokyo Day Trip


8 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 12:37 AM

Awww.. thanks a lot honey!! You just made my day!!! So sorry for the lateness in reply – the Husband has been under the weather for a few days now. Hopefully he feels better soon :)


9 Reem | Simply Reem November 15, 2011 at 12:54 AM

Beautiful Kiran!!!!
You are really taking Indian food to new heights, seriously…
Fresh and healthy…..


10 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 12:40 AM

Thanks a lot buddy! I hope you would try this recipe and let me know how it tastes. Cold or warm, this salad is just as delicious. I promise :)


11 Rosa November 15, 2011 at 3:01 AM

What a gorgeous salad! That is a mouthwatering combination.




12 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 12:41 AM

You are way too kind, honey :)


13 sukanya November 15, 2011 at 11:23 AM

its a lovely autumn y salad and I bet a notch high on health quotient too
sukanya recently posted..Navratan korma from the court of mughals


14 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 12:41 AM

Indeed! Do try this recipe and let me know how it tastes :)


15 Katherine Martinelli November 15, 2011 at 12:21 PM

This salad looks delicious – nutritious and filling! I’m trying to save money as well, so I hear ya! I’m impressed you packed a dinner for your road trip. And I’m totally with you
Katherine Martinelli recently posted..Daring Cooks: Oolong Turkey Breast


16 Katherine Martinelli November 15, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Sorry hit submit too soon! Meant to say I’m totally with you on using dried chickpeas!


17 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 10:54 AM

No problem honey — it happens with me as well :)


18 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Thank you for those lovely comments – road trips can be very unhealthy especially when we don’t have enough time to scour the city for healthy food options. This salad was so easy to prep a day in advance and flavors were even more delicious :)


19 Divya November 15, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Yum….delicious and healthy – that’s my kind of dish. I so enamored by quinoa these days. I’ve stopped eating bread altogether because I love quinoa so much. I’m going to have to try this one out, especially since it has paneer :).
Divya recently posted..Smoky turkey chili


20 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Hats off to you – I could never give up my carbs (bread) all together 😀 I mostly use whole wheat instead. Do try this recipe and let me know how it tastes :)


21 Gayatri November 15, 2011 at 5:07 PM

Looks delicious. I have all the ingredients already so I’m definitely making this one soon :)
Gayatri recently posted..To Pop or Not


22 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Let me know how it tastes, dear :)


23 Juliana November 15, 2011 at 7:36 PM

This Autumn salad looks great, like the idea of the spices and paneer all together with quinoa.
Beautiful pictures as always.
Hope you are having a wonderful week Kiran :-)


24 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Thanks honey :) I love that you can prepare in salad in advance, allow all spices and flavors to mingle and serve at room temp, warm or cold. It’s delicious no matter what :)


25 Kelly @ Inspired Edibles November 15, 2011 at 8:42 PM

Oh Kiran… what an absolutely gorgeous dish. Full of colour, aromatic ingredients and wholesome nutrients. You know, I was just thinking about paneer the other night (one of my favourite Indian dishes is Kumbh Mattar), anyhow, here it is in all of its glory surrounded by heavenly ingredients. Beautiful.
Kelly @ Inspired Edibles recently posted..Strawberry Tuesdays: La Margarita


26 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Your beautiful comments always puts a smile on my face :)

I’ve got to post paneer making recipe soonish!


27 Nava Krishnan November 15, 2011 at 11:55 PM

Oozing with flavors and taste Kiran. I too sometimes feel guilty on road trips, cannot resist the temptation of all the food out there but we can get back to healthy once we are back home with this salad you have made.


28 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Ditto! We were on a road trip for 4 days 3 nights, and this was the only homemade salad for 1 meal. Better something, than nothing at all 😀


29 Khushboo November 16, 2011 at 4:22 AM

Agreed about dried chickpeas over canned- so much more wholesome and flavorful! I keep a few tins in the pantry for emergency but I tend to prefer to make my own. I love packing lunch to eat on the go/during travel…even though I can’t control the rest of the trip, it’s nice to get things started on a healthy note!
Khushboo recently posted..You do you, I’ll do me


30 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 11:18 AM

I love your take on beginning road trips on a “healthy note”!


31 Biana | Simple and Tasty Recipes November 16, 2011 at 11:23 AM

Kiran, this is a great fall recipe! The dish looks very vibrant and delicious! I like how you use paneer in the salad.
Biana | Simple and Tasty Recipes recently posted..Beef Stroganoff Recipe With Ground Beef


32 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 11:26 AM

Thank you so much honey – try this recipe and let me know how it tastes :)


33 The Elegant Eggplant November 16, 2011 at 11:53 AM

Sounds unbelieveably delicious! What a great flavor combo. YUM!
The Elegant Eggplant recently posted..Mark’s Egg Drop Soup


34 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 11:26 AM

Thanks dear :)


35 Sophie November 16, 2011 at 2:55 PM

What a delectable, tasty & alternative good for you salad!
yummie! :) I love the spices you have used in here! Fabulously food!
Sophie recently posted..Rosemary scented celeriac & 2 beans soup


36 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 11:27 AM

You are way to nice! The spices used are not “spicy” – it adds delicious flavors and aroma :)


37 Nami | Just One Cookbook November 16, 2011 at 7:01 PM

Kiran, I love how you style the food and this salad itself is so gorgeous! Lots of great ingredients as well as flavors and I’d love to have some!
Nami | Just One Cookbook recently posted..Seared Tuna Sashimi (Aburi Toro)


38 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Thank you so much for the food styling compliment – I am still learning :)


39 5 Star Foodie November 16, 2011 at 10:29 PM

A terrific seasonal salad, makes a nice weekday meal for sure!


40 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Thanks a lot dear – best part about this salad is you can prep in advance and eat it the next day or so. And the flavors are delish after it had a chance to sit for a while :)


41 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Is there a virus on your blog – i am unable to visit :(


42 in my kitchen | in my studio November 17, 2011 at 1:50 AM

Hi Kiran, that looks so yummy and healthy. I love chickpeas so much!
in my kitchen | in my studio recently posted..apple crumble cake with vanilla custard


43 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 11:43 AM

If you love chickpeas, please try this recipe and let me know how it tastes :)


44 Sommer@ASpicyPerspective November 17, 2011 at 9:47 AM

Oh my lands! What a gorgeous that healthy dish. :)
Sommer@ASpicyPerspective recently posted..Roasted Game Hens and Alternative Thanksgiving Ideas


45 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 1:17 PM

Welcome to Recipebox and thanks for the lovely comments :)


46 Sommer@ASpicyPerspective November 17, 2011 at 9:48 AM

Ha.. “and” not “that”
Sommer@ASpicyPerspective recently posted..Roasted Game Hens and Alternative Thanksgiving Ideas


47 Asmita November 18, 2011 at 2:13 PM

We need to switch to quinoa too. A much better option instead of rice.
This looks like a gorgeous salad!


48 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 1:19 PM

I agree. Perhaps switching to quinoa every now and then with brown rice would be a great idea – completing cutting out rice might be difficult. Well, at least in our case 😉


49 Punctuation Mark November 18, 2011 at 3:40 PM

love the recipe… you know i love chickpeas! ha!

have a nice weekend!
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50 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Thanks a lot dear!! I am happy you love chickpeas, so please try this recipe and let me know how it tastes :) Weekend was fine – the Husband wasn’t feeling well. He is a little better now :)


51 Kiran November 21, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Dear, I tried commenting on your blog but it takes me to an error page as soon as I hit publish. Thought to inform you of this :)


52 balvinder November 19, 2011 at 1:11 AM

Hi kiran,
That’s my type of dish. Full of vegetarian Protein. Actually I am gluten free so quinoa is an important staple and when I go to my friends they always make something with quinoa. they know that I love it. But strange thing is that I have not yet posted anything with Quinoa. If you like you can check me at http://simpleglutenfreekitchen.blogspot.com/


53 Kiran November 23, 2011 at 4:35 PM

Hey, thanks a lot for the wonderful compliments – glad you loved this recipe. Do try this recipe and let me know how it tastes :)


54 Sonja Burres November 19, 2011 at 1:12 PM

This looks unbelievably tasty ! Have to do it myself, hopefully it will look the same haha and taste awesome !
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55 David Jones November 20, 2011 at 8:47 AM


The salad looks great,can’t wait to make one of my own.

My favorite’s salads are the one with chicken and this one seems great.

Bookmarke’d your site.
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56 Soma November 21, 2011 at 8:43 AM

Oh ! this sounds like such a wholesome fulfilling meal. Love the photograph of the falling quinoa and we LOVE quinoa!


57 Kiran November 24, 2011 at 10:31 PM

Thanks dear – indeed, paneer with the combination of quinoa and veggies- this meal was absolutely filling and nutritious :)


58 carly November 22, 2011 at 12:21 AM

Wooooo! That salad looks so tasty and delicous! Chickpeas and quiona are two of my favorites. I’m gonna try it this week for lunch. :)
carly recently posted..My Beaverton dentist


59 Kiran November 24, 2011 at 11:15 PM

Thanks honey – do try this recipe and let me know how it tastes :)


60 David Jones November 22, 2011 at 9:27 AM

Thanks for the recipe!!

It looks very delicious.Can’t wait to try it.
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61 30AEATS December 6, 2011 at 3:27 AM

Great Food shots and Recipes! Love this one!


62 Kiran December 8, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Welcome to Recipebox and appreciate your compliments :)


63 Dorothy Stuart December 10, 2011 at 6:27 PM

I have to tell you that I made this recipe for the family and everyone LOVED it ! The kids ate the salad like crazy, didn’t expected haha !
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