Quinoa with roasted tomatoes and chickpeas is the perfect, easy summer vegan side dish. It’s easy to make, but it’s so flavorful, thanks to juicy and sweet burst cherry tomatoes. Chickpeas add plant protein to this versatile recipe!
To some extent, I think of the food that I post on this blog as “comfort food,” in the sense that my recipes always grow out of personal likes and dislikes, food that feeds my spirit and makes me happy. A lot of the recipes I share these days are meals that Steven and I have enjoyed enough to repeat a few times, which means that they’re familiar and comforting to us.
But today’s recipe deserves a special “comfort food” designation, because it’s such a perfect expression of flavors and ingredients that I love and return to, again and again. I also tend to think of comfort foods as being relatively simple, or at least easy enough to prepare that we can learn the process by heart and replicate it often. In that sense, this recipe fits the bill, too.
Ever since I made my polenta tart with garlicky white bean spread and roasted cherry tomatoes earlier this summer, I’ve been on a tomato roasting kick. It’s so easy to roast a pan of them at the start of a week and put them in various recipes, from pasta dishes to salads to grain salads. They’re also great on toast, with either homemade hummus or herbed cashew cheese as a bottom layer. And they’re wonderful, apparently, with quinoa.
The nice thing about this recipe is that very little seasoning or fuss is needed once the tomatoes and chickpeas are roasted. They’ll absorb rich, roasted garlic flavor as they cook, and as you mix the tomatoes into the quinoa, they’ll be a little sweet and juicy, providing the grain with plenty of moisture and flavor. After that, a simple drizzle of balsamic vinegar, salt, and a sprinkle of chives is all it takes to create a vibrant, satisfying, simple bowl of whole grain goodness.
This is a perfect grain to serve to friends–you can prepare it in advance and then pair it with a summery soup, or you can use it as a side dish for grilling and barbecues. It’s nice hot or cold, and it goes really well with grilled tofu. Other vegetables would work well here, too, including roasted eggplant, zucchini, or asparagus. And if balsamic isn’t your favorite flavor, fresh lemon juice or sherry vinegar will give the grain salad a little acid.
Hope you’ll enjoy this recipe at some point before tomato season is behind us. I’m clinging to august produce right now, and have no intention of stopping until I have to, which means another summery recipe is on its way later this week. For now, I wish you a happy Tuesday!
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Delicious! Right up my alley!
I often have baby tomatoes in my refrigerator that are a bit too soft for eating raw. This recipe is my new go-to when I have baby tomatoes that need to be used up. It’s a super healthy side dish, and I love to snack on it as leftovers. I also used the discarded roasted garlic to make humus. 🙂
Really glad you enjoyed, Leah!
This is sooooooo good!!!!
This is sooo good 😀 Just made it, and the boyfriend (whom is rather terrified of my healthy cooking) even enjoyed!
This is a great sounding bowl. I love the sound of roasted tomato.
I actually really the sound of the roasted tomoatoes on toast with homemade cheeze like you suggested too =)
Just about anything on toast wins my vote 😉
That looks so good! I am forwarding this to my wife. Anything with garlic automatically jumps to the top of my list 🙂
Comfort food is the food I tend make and eat the most, too. I find roasting vegetables brings out the best flavours in them! This sounds so delicious!
This was made for me, wasn’t it? Because it sure has my name written allll over it. 😉
It sounds good, but I’m perplexed by the garlic also. If you don’t peel them and then they dry out during cooking and you discard them, what do they add to the dish?
Amy, their flavor infuses the tomatoes and chickpeas. It’s definitely apparent when you taste them after roasting, regardless of how you use the garlic after! If your cloves stay plump, you can also peel them and store them with the tomatoes after cooking to continue giving them more flavor (that tip is from Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen).
Cool, I’ve never heard of this method. I may have to try it out! I’m such a stinky-food lover though (give me all the onion and garlic) that I may just wrap a head in foil to roast and then squeeze them all out to make a dressing for the salad. I’m up to my ears in cherry tomatoes right now but I also don’t want to turn on my oven (DC in August)….decisions!
I do know what you mean about the oven, Amy! Summertime dilemmas. A garlic dressing would work beautifully on the salad, and as long as you’ve got the oven on, why not 🙂
I love this idea, but why waste that glorious roasted garlic?! I can imagine using at least a few of those soft, sweet, roasty cloves minced into this dish… or at least use them to whip up a garlicky vinaigrette for later use.
When I made it, many of my cloves dried out in cooking, so it didn’t occur to me to use them in the dish. I was working with a head that had smaller sized cloves, though. In the past, when I’ve roasted tomatoes this way, I have sometimes had cloves that end up perfectly plump and usable. So, I’d just tell you to use a head of garlic with bigger sized cloves, and then you can definitely squeeze them into the grains!
Thanks for your response! I have definitely seen small cloves dry too much in the oven. I guess it’s probably a good idea to go with the big cloves for roasting as you suggest. I’ll definitely be giving this recipe a try soon. Thanks again!
Yup, just find some nice, plump cloves, and you’ll be good to go (thanks for the comment — it encouraged me to add a note about this in the instructions for the recipe).
Isn’t it funny how certain flavors connote comfort? For me, anything with Italian/Mediterranean flavors is comforting to me. My mom’s side of the family is Italian, so those foods make me think of family and home 🙂
Quinoa is one of my favourite grains.. I love how nutritious and healthy it is. These little bowls look very delicious and a recipe I can see myself making.
This sounds so yummy. I am wondering though, what do I do with the roasted garlic? Thanks
If you choose a head of garlic that has bigger sized cloves, you can squeeze them directly into the dish for more flavor! Or you can save them for hummus, polenta, dips, dressings, or pasta. Sometimes the cloves do mostly dry out through roasting, in which case you can just discard them.
Thanks so much. This may indeed be my new comfort food.
I look forward to your cookbook and making many of your recipes.
Oooh, perfect! Two of my favorite ingredients, quinoa and cherry tomatoes, this is how comfort food should look like. I think I’m going to throw in some roasted eggplants, too!
This looks amazing. I am embarrassed to say I have never cooked with Quinoa before. I have had it and loved it but this recipe is pushing me to give it a shot. This is right up my alley and sounds yummy and comforting.