This recipe is inspired by a salad we loved ordering at a restaurant that featured roasted chicken, cornbread croutons, and a smoky-sweet dressing.
To keep our version plant-based and gluten-free, we opted for chickpeas instead of chicken and candied pecans in place of cornbread, and we crafted a 5-minute smoky chipotle dressing to cut down on prep time.
The result is an incredibly satisfying salad that strikes the perfect balance between smoky, spicy, savory, and sweet. Just 8 ingredients and 30 minutes required. Let’s do this!
This recipe is inspired by both Mexican and Indian cuisines- two of our favorites! The dressing is Mexican-inspired, seasoned primarily with chipotle peppers in adobo (learn more about this ingredient in this post). While the chickpeas are coated in tandoori masala, which is an Indian seasoning blend comprised of spices like coriander, ginger, cardamom, and nutmeg (find a traditional recipe here).
Making this salad starts with roasting the chickpeas with avocado oil, tandoori masala seasoning, and sea salt.
You’ll want the chickpeas to be thoroughly coated in the spices — so don’t skimp out here! We really do mean 2 ½ – 3 tablespoons!
To make this salad even simpler, you could also opt for store-bought crispy chickpeas.
Then it’s time to prepare the candied pecans (or opt for store-bought in a pinch). These taste dangerously close to candy, friends!
We like making a half batch, using 1 cup of pecans and omitting the walnuts.
Then it’s time to make the dressing and assemble the salad!
Here are the components:
- Kale (massaged with lime juice and avocado oil)
- Tandoori roasted chickpeas
- Candied pecans
- Grape tomatoes
- 5-Minute Smoky Chipotle Dressing
You’ll have enough dressing to generously dress the salad, plus have extra!
We hope you LOVE this salad. It’s:
& So delicious!
It’s perfect on its own as a lighter meal. Or for a heartier meal, it would be delicious with our 1-Pan Mexican Shredded Chicken (or tofu), Easy Green Chile Chicken Tamales, or Easy 1-Pot Black Bean Soup.
More Kale Salad Recipes
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Chickpea Chopped Kale Salad with Adobo Dressing
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (rinsed, drained, and thoroughly dried)
- 1 ½ Tbsp avocado oil
- 2 ½ – 3 Tbsp tandoori masala spice blend* (see notes for DIY blend)
- 1 healthy pinch sea salt
FOR SERVING optional
- 1/2 batch Candied Pecans (or other nuts of choice)
- 6 cups chopped kale
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 Tbsp avocado or olive oil
- 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 5-Minute Smoky Chipotle Dressing
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add drained and dried chickpeas to a mixing bowl and toss with oil and seasonings. Then add to a baking sheet.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the chickpeas are slightly crispy and slightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Optional: While the chickpeas are baking, prepare candied pecans. If using our recipe, omit the walnuts and just use pecans. We made a half batch, so 1 cup of pecans total (adjust amounts if adjusting serving size).
- In the meantime, prepare 5-Minute Smoky Chipotle Dressing.
- To assemble salad, add kale to a serving bowl or platter and massage with a little lime juice and oil for 1 minute to tenderize. Then top with roasted chickpeas, grape tomatoes, and candied pecans (optional) and drizzle with the dressing. Toss to coat.
- Best when fresh. Store leftovers (pecans and dressing each stored separately) in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Not freezer friendly.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with 2 tablespoons of dressing per serving and without optional ingredients.