Sometimes, all you need is a bowl full of crispy kale chickpea salad. Deliciously crunchy, loaded with nutrients, and super filling.
Kale is definitely not the easiest dark leafy green to love. It comes with a natural bitterness that many can’t stomach. BUT! It’s heartier than spinach so can add nice texture it adds to any dish. That dark green hue brings a powerful nutritional profile, packing in more nutrients than regular lettuce. It’s worth finding ways to incorporate it into your meals.
Fair warning: It might take some time to master masking the intense bitterness, but once you get it right, you’ll be hooked.
If you’ve been wanting to add a texture-rich salad to your weekly menu, this Chickpea and Kale Salad Recipe is a can’t-miss.
It’s a quick recipe with a shake-and-done kind of dressing. Dump, seal, and shake for a garlicky dressing you’d never get enough of.
Plus, you only need a large bowl of this salad as a side dish. It will feed a family of 4 to 6. No extra effort.
Oh, and did I mention the perfectly balanced flavor profile? Imagine crunchy and slightly spicy garbanzo beans (the other name for chickpeas) with fresh and crispy curly kale lathered in a creamy dressing. So, good.
The best part? You only need simple ingredients to pull this off!
Ingredients for Crispy Chickpea Kale Salad
For the Dressing
Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil is my first choice for its health benefits. If that’s not available, light olive oil will work, or use avocado oil.
Lemon Juice: Get just the right amount of zing to your dressing. The flavor pairs perfectly well with spicy and roasted chickpeas.
Dijon Mustard: Adds a mild tanginess to the dressing.
Honey: Just enough to balance out any bitter taste from kale. You can also go with agave nectar or maple syrup as substitutes.
Garlic Clove: One large minced clove is all you need to add depth to your dressing. And you’ll love the aroma! Plus, garlic has excellent health benefits. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. So, whenever you get a chance, squeeze it in! If raw garlic is too much for you, use garlic powder instead.
For the Salad
Kale: Curly kale and Lacinato kale (which is also called Tuscan kale or dinosaur kale) are both good choices.
Drained Chickpeas: Use a store-bought can. Make sure you dry them completely. These little beans are a great source of fiber and plant-based protein. And they’re oh-so-delicious when sautéed or roasted.
Olive Oil: You’ll need some to roast the chickpeas and some for kale.
Seasonings: Dried thyme, dried rosemary, a pinch of salt, and some cayenne powder will liven up your salad. Adjust to your tastebuds. If you prefer even more heat, sprinkle some red pepper flakes.
Pepitas: These are pumpkin seeds. You’ll need a handful of these. Roast and sprinkle on your salad to add some crunch. Got none? They are a great source of magnesium, which is such an important nutrient for many body functions. Replace them with roasted sunflower seeds if needed. Sliced and toasted almonds will work great, too.
You’ll find the exact measurements and cooking instructions for this recipe in the recipe card below.
I kept it simple, but this delicious salad is pretty versatile.
Not sure what more you can add for a flavorful experience? Here, take some inspiration:
- Red Onions: Crisp red onion, chopped into thin slices and tossed with the salad. It adds a lovely tanginess.
- Cherry Tomatoes: Sweet and tangy, these will add a juicy burst to your favorite salad.
- Bell Peppers: Colorful, crispy, and mildly sweet bell peppers are always a great addition to any salad.
- Grilled Sweet Potatoes: This soft, velvety vegetable pairs wonderfully with the crunchiness of kale and chickpeas.
- Feta Cheese: Because what’s a salad without some cheese? If you’re not a fan, go with parmesan cheese instead.
How to Make the Best Crispy Chickpea and Kale Salad
- First, combine the dressing ingredients in a small mason jar and shake until combined.
(Alternatively you can whisk the ingredients together in a bowl.)
- Wash and dry the kale, then tear the leaves from the veins. Chop the kale into small pieces.
- Place the kale in a bowl and drizzle it with the dressing. Massage the dressing into the kale
leaves. Set aside.
- Add the chickpeas to a bowl, then add olive oil, rosemary, thyme, salt, and cayenne pepper.
Toss to coat.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chickpeas to the heated skillet and sauté until they are browned and crispy, about 10 minutes or so.
- Add the pepitas to the kale and toss to combine.
- Place the kale salad in a shallow bowl or on a plate. Top with the crispy chickpeas and serve. Enjoy!
Tips for Preparing Kale
No matter what type of kale you use, you’ll have to prepare it for a perfect bite.
Wash raw kale and dry it first. Separate the leaves from the stem. To do this, I tear with my hands as it’s the quickest and easiest way. From there, chop the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces. If you buy the pre-chopped kale, you may still need to chop it into smaller pieces, depending on your preference.
Once you drizzle with dressing, start massaging the leaves. You’ll know you’re done when the leaves become slightly darker than what you began with.
What to Serve with Chickpea and Kale Salad
This salad is super versatile and goes well as a side dish with many main courses.
- As a light lunch: Serve it in a large bowl on its own or pair it up with some soup.
- As a nutritious dinner: Add some grilled chicken, shrimp, or your favorite fish to your plate.
- As a side dish: Serve it with your favorite pasta dishes, like fettuccine alfredo or spaghetti bolognese. Or pair it with some hearty sandwiches.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Make This Healthy Salad in Advance?
Absolutely! Store your side salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can enjoy it cold or have it at room temperature. It’ll delight you either way.
Can I Make a Bigger Batch?
Yep! You can double (or even triple) the ingredients to make a bigger batch. Perfect for potlucks and parties!
What Other Dressings Can I Use?
I love Lemon Dijon Dressing and that’s exactly where this salad dressing recipe came from. If you’re not a fan of lemon-based dressings, try using balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar instead. My go-to options are lemon vinaigrette dressing and creamy tahini dressing.
I hope you love this Chickpea and Kale Salad as much as I did! If you try it, or any of my healthy recipes, please leave a star rating and comment below. It’s so helpful for other readers to see which recipes are tried and true! I appreciate you. Share your photos on Instagram and I’ll feature you!
Want more healthy salad ideas? Scroll below the recipe card to see some favorites!Print
More Healthy Salad Recipes
If you love healthy, hearty salads, you’ll love these recipes!
- Roasted Vegetable Salad
- Bean Salad Recipe
- Best Farro Salad
- Arugula Quinoa Salad
- Greek Cucumber Salad
- Broccoli Cauliflower Salad
- Healthy Broccoli Salad Recipe
I have a whole lot more salad recipes for you to try. Check out all my salad recipes <—right here!