Sometimes a girl just needs a hearty kale salad.
There’s no explaining why; she just does.
So move out of the way and give her that kale salad.
She deserves it. That and the chocolate. Give her all of the chocolate.
Since my first few experiences with kale, wherein I couldn’t figure out how to mask its bitterness or sturdy texture, I’ve grown to love this shrubby green.
When prepared right, it makes the perfect addition to smoothies, salads, breakfast scrambles, and dips. I’ve recently been loving it in salads because it’s heartier than other greens – such as spinach – and leaves me feeling full and satisfied.
Not to mention, nutrients. So, many, nutrients.
The dressing comes together quick and packs tons of garlicky flavor, thanks to quick roasted garlic! If you’ve ever roasted a head of garlic, you know the struggle of waiting the grueling hour of cooking until its completion. Longest hour of my life.
But you guys know I’m impatient (30 minutes or less ring a bell?). So I crafted a way to quick-roast garlic by separating the cloves.
Then you only have to wait 20 minutes. Guys, think of all the things you can do with that 40 minutes you get back in your life. Cartwheels, dancing, hugging, snacking. You can do whatever you want with it. You’re welcome.
The other star of this recipe? The tandoori-roasted chickpeas. I made a Masala Tofu Scramble a while back and fell in love with this smoky spice combination.
The good news is, if you’re a speciality spice newb like me, Whole Foods has a Tandoori Spice Mix that’s to die for. I recommend looking for that next time you’re there! Otherwise, I have notes for how to make your own with just a few ingredients.
Once your (quick) roasted garlic-tahini dressing comes together, all that’s left to do is pour, toss, and top it with chickpeas! Then go to flavor town. My treat.
This salad is my absolute new favorite. It’s:
Even if you’re not a big spicy food lover, you’ll love this salad. Think more smokiness and depth of flavor rather than heat. Not to mention, the subtle sweetness of the dressing brings balance so it’s not overwhelming.
This salad would be an excellent entree for a weeknight meal, or for hosting vegan or gluten free friends and family. It’s so hearty it stands on its own as a main dish! But hummus and pita or naan would make excellent additions.
If you make this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment and rate it! It’s so helpful for us and other readers. And don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see! We’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers!
Garlicky Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas
- 1 large bundle kale (loosely chopped or torn // ~6-8 cups or 10 ounces as original recipe is written)
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (rinsed, drained and thoroughly dried)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp olive, avocado or grape seed, oil
- 1 healthy pinch sea salt
- 2 1/2 – 3 Tbsp tandoori masala spice blend* (see notes for DIY blend)
- 1 head garlic (large/even-sized cloves work best)
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 2 Tbsp olive oil + more for roasting garlic and massaging kale
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (plus more for massaging kale // ~2 small lemons)
- 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)
- 1 healthy pinch each salt + pepper
- Hot water (to thin)
- Peel apart garlic cloves but leave the skin on. Avoid using any tiny garlic cloves from the center of the head. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).
- Add drained chickpeas to a mixing bowl and toss with oil, salt, and seasonings.
- Add garlic cloves and seasoned chickpeas to a baking sheet. Drizzle garlic with a bit of olive or grape seed oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes (depending on the size of the garlic cloves), or until garlic is fragrant and slightly browned. Carefully remove garlic and set aside. Continue baking chickpeas for 10-15 minutes more or until slightly crispy and golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside (the chickpeas will get more crispy as they cool).
- Squeeze garlic out of skins / peel away skins and add to a mixing bowl. Add all remaining dressing ingredients and whisk vigorously to combine, smashing the garlic with the whisk. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired, adding more lemon for brightness, tahini for richness, and maple syrup for sweetness. Set aside.
- Add kale to a large mixing bowl. Before adding dressing, add 1 Tbsp each lemon juice and olive oil (amount as original recipe is written // alter if adjusting batch size) to the kale and massage with hands to soften the texture and lessen bitterness. Then add as much dressing as desired (some may be leftover) and mix with a spoon or salad tongs.
- Top with chickpeas and serve. Best when fresh, though leftovers keep in the fridge for up to a few days.
*DIY Tandoori Masala Blend: 3 Tbsp cumin, 2 Tbsp garlic powder, 2 Tbsp paprika, 3 tsp ginger, 2 tsp coriander, 2 tsp cardamom. Multiply as needed. This Shawarma Spice Blend is also delicious and quite similar.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with olive oil, the lesser amount of maple syrup, and all of the dressing.