Curried Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! While this MDW is looking much different than years prior, we can still celebrate the beautiful weather with delicious food and family (from a distance, of course).

This Curried Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas is the perfect addition to your weekend barbecue menu. The kale is hearty and can be made ahead, as it doesn’t go soggy like most other greens. Other bonus? The creamy dressing is completely vegan (thank you tahini), so it won’t be an issue if left out in the sun for a bit too long. If you don’t have tahini, any neutral nut butter will work in its place. I would recommend natural and unsweetened almond or cashew butter. If you do substitute the tahini, make sure whatever you’re using in its place is as runny as possible (i.e., from a newly opened jar with a good amount of oil content). If you use a nut butter that is too firm, your dressing will be difficult to whisk together. If this happens, try adding 1-2 TBSP hot water to loosen everything up!

The most difficult part of this salad is letting the chickpeas crisp in the oven without growing impatient. They do take a solid 25-30 minutes to get totally crisp, but they’re so worth it. The nice part about waiting for the chickpeas to roast is that you give the kale a chance to sit and tenderize in some of the creamy curry dressing, so it becomes silkier and less chewy!

You can top this salad with anything that sounds delicious to you, although I highly recommend the feta, scallions, and dried cranberries in addition to those chickpeas. Other great options would be olives, nuts, or additional veggies.

Regarding the dressing… it’s addictive. In addition to a salad dressing, you can use it as a dip for crudités, a sauce for grilled proteins, or in place of the mayonnaise in chicken or tuna salad.

I hope you keep this salad in mind when you’re planning that MDW menu. Get creative with the toppings and enjoy this low-stress, healthy side that doesn’t skimp on flavor. If you make this salad, don’t forget to share your photos and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram!

Ingredients

2 bunches kale, de-stemmed and leaves finely sliced

¼ cup tahini (see recipe notes above)

Juice of 3 lemons

2 tablespoons soy sauce 

2 tablespoons curry powder

1 tsp coconut sugar

½ tsp salt, plus more to taste

¼ tsp black pepper

Raisins or dried cranberries, for topping

Thinly sliced green onion, for topping

Feta, for topping

Crispy roasted chickpeas, for topping (see recipe below) 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Rinse and thoroughly dry a can of chickpeas. Toss with olive oil, and a pinch each of salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
  3. Spread the chickpeas out into a single layer on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Bake until crispy, about 25-30 minutes.
  4. While the chickpeas bake, prepare the salad. Wash, dry, and remove the stems from 2 bunches of kale. I love to use a mix of lacinato (dinosaur) and curly kale.
  5. Using a very sharp knife, gather the leaves and thinly slice the kale into strips. The thinner you slice, the more tender the salad will taste overall. Add to a large salad bowl.
  6. Prepare the dressing. In a separate bowl, combine tahini, lemon juice, soy sauce, curry powder, coconut sugar, salt, and pepper and whisk until emulsified. Pour 1/2 of the dressing onto the kale and massage it into the leaves with your hands. Cover and let rest at room temperature while the chickpeas finish crisping.
  7. Assemble the salad. Thinly slice scallions and scatter on top of the salad, along with the crispy chickpeas, dried cranberries, and crumbled feta. Drizzle on the remaining dressing, or serve on the side. Enjoy!
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The Ardent Prep: Herby Vegetarian Quinoa Salad

This is the first recipe in the The Ardent Prep series “Ground Turkey, Quinoa, and Zucchini.” To view the original blog post, click here. To view the other two recipes in this series, click the links at the bottom of the page. I hope you enjoy this prep series!

Ingredients

Prepared quinoa (use all except 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup, divided, for other two recipes)

1/2 of the prepared cubed and roasted zucchini (if you divided it into two containers on prep day, simply use one of the two containers)

2 TBSP olive oil

2 shallots, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ground cumin

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 TBSP honey

1/4 cup (about 5) Medjool dates, pitted and coarsley chopped (or raisins)

Handful fresh mint, finely chopped

Handful fresh parsley, finely chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a medium skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add thinly sliced shallot and pinch of salt and sauté 2-3 minutes, until softened and slightly golden.
  2. Add minced garlic and cumin and cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly, until fragrant.
  3. Pour in apple cider vinegar and honey, and stir to combine. Lower heat slightly and allow the mixture to simmer and bubble until slightly thickened and the liquid has reduced by about half. Add chopped dates and allow them to sit in the liquid while it is still hot, to soften. Set aside.
  4. Warm up the quinoa and zucchini in a large mixing bowl in the microwave (or on the stovetop, if preferred). Combine the warmed quinoa and zucchini, chopped herbs, and apple cider vinaigrette (it’s okay if it’s still hot). Taste and add salt/pepper if desired.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

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