Kale Tahini Caesar Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

Kale Tahini Caesar Salad with Crispy Chickpeas | Vegan and gluten-free. | Loveleaf Co.

This kale tahini Caesar salad is easily one of Loveleaf's most popular recipes. Originally published in the 5-Day Salad Reset, it's one that I keep coming back to. It tastes just as good (better) as traditional Caesar salad, but is upgraded by the kale, dairy-free Caesar dressing, and crispy chickpeas (aka croutons that are actually good for you). Enjoy!

Kale Tahini Caesar Salad with Crispy Chickpeas | Vegan and gluten-free. | Loveleaf Co.

Kale. There are a couple different options on the market, but my favorite (hands-down) is Lacinato kale, aka Dinosaur kale. It's the perfect prep-ahead salad green because it will stay fresh in the fridge (even with dressing!) Just make sure to de-stem the kale and give it a good massage with some olive oil and salt before using in the salad.

Crispy chickpeas. I'm obsessed with these little guys. They're good as a protein and fiber-packed snack or a healthy crouton. Thanks to Biena, you can now buy crispy chickpeas in all different flavors. Or you can easily go the homemade route. Here's how:


HOW TO MAKE CRISPY CHICKPEAS

You'll need 1 (15-oz) can of chickpeas, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, and any other spices you like.

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Drain, rinse, and dry chickpeas in a cloth towel (the drier the crispier!).
  • Put the chickpeas on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and spices (if using).
  • Roast for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, shake the pan. Roast for another 10-15 minutes until the chickpeas are lightly golden.
  • Set aside and, once they are completely cool (the chickpeas will get even crunchier as they cool), store in an airtight container until ready to snack or sprinkle on salad.

Batch dressing. Making a big batch of dressing or sauce is one of my favorite meal prep tricks. Prepare the dressing on Sunday and use on everything all week - from salads to veggie bowls to tacos. I usually keep dressing or sauce in a mason jar or small weck jar. This tahini Caesar dressing will thicken a bit in the fridge - to thin, just add a splash of warm water (one tablespoon at a time) until it reaches desired consistency.

Kale Tahini Caesar Salad with Crispy Chickpeas | Vegan and gluten-free. | Loveleaf Co.

Kale Tahini Caesar Salad with Crispy Chickpeas

INGREDIENTS

CHICKEN (OMIT FOR VEGAN)

  • 1 1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

KALE

  • 1 lb Lacinato kale, destemmed and thinly sliced
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

TAHINI CAESAR

  • 1/2 cup tahini paste
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

FOR SERVING

  • crispy chickpeas (see notes)
  • 1 avocado, diced right before serving
  • roasted, hulled sunflower seeds, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Roast the chicken breast. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the chicken breast on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until the chicken registers 165 degrees F (usually about 30-35 minutes). Once cooled, slice and set aside.

  2. Meanwhile, prep the kale. Add the kale to a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and massage until slightly wilted. Set aside.
  3. Make the tahini caesar. In a bowl, whisk together all the ingredients, starting with 1/4 cup of warm water, until smooth and creamy. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired thickness is reached. Transfer to a storage container or small jar and set aside. The dressing will thicken in the fridge, so thin with a little more warm water before serving, if needed.
  4. Pack the salad. Divide the kale and chicken breast between five meal prep containers. Keep the dressing, crispy chickpeas, and avocado separate. When ready to eat, add 1/5th of diced avocado, drizzle with 1/5th of the tahini caesar, and sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of crispy chickpeas.

NOTES

You can either buy or make the crispy chickpeas.

Buy: If you opt to buy, I like Biena Chickpea Snacks.

Make: To make the crispy chickpeas, you'll need 1 (15-oz) can of chickpeas. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Drain, rinse, and dry chickpeas in a cloth towel (the drier, the crispier!). Put the chickpeas on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, shake the pan. Roast for another 10-15 minutes until the chickpeas are lightly golden. The chickpeas will get even crunchier as they cool. Set aside and add to the salad once they cool.