Saturday, January 12, 2013

Crispy Kale and Roasted Chickpea Salad

For a salad, this recipe has an awful lot of oven time, but don't let that dissuade you, for roasted chickpeas and oven-crisped kale are both delightful, delicious in this salad and totally worth the extra effort.
To remove stems from kale, I fold the leaves so the stem is to one side and then use a paring knife to cut away the stem. 

Kale and chickpeas go great together (The Washington Post featured this Dinner in Minutes stew with the duo back in April). Although they are often used as raw ingredients, they have a markedly different character when cooked. Kale, which has to be either massaged or finely chopped for raw preparation, turns into brittle, crunchy chips when dried in an oven on low heat for about 30 minutes. It's easy to do and makes a great (and healthy) snack.

Be sure to spread the kale in a single layer, using two pans if needed.

Chickpeas get a little crunchy too, although not so much that you'd mistake them for nuts. The roasting brings out their earthiness. Smoked paprika seems like a natural seasoning partner.

When thinking about what else to put in this salad, I decided to go all out. I added something sweet (dried cranberries), something briny (Kalamata olives) and something smoky (Rogue smoky blue cheese). I even topped it with sautéed chicken, as I'm apt to do for our usual Tuesday salad night.

In keeping with the seasonal theme, I whisked together an apple cider vinaigrette with Dijon mustard and honey for dressing. 

Both the chickpea and kale recipes below make way more than you need for two salads, but they make a great snack for later (or while you're making the salad).

Crispy Kale and Roasted Chickpea Salad

Makes 2 dinner salads

2 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey
3 cups baby arugula
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives
2 oz. smoked blue cheese, cut into crumbles
3/4 cup roasted chickpeas (recipe below)
Generous handful of crispy kale chips (recipe below)

1. Heat olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Pat chicken breasts dry, season with salt and pepper and sauté in the pan until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes total, turning halfway. Set aside to cool and then chop into 1/2-thick strips.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil with vinegar, mustard, honey and salt and pepper to taste. Set dressing aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine arugula, dried cranberries, olives, blue cheese, chickpeas and kale. Toss with dressing. Serve on plates topped with sautéed chicken strips.

Roasted Chickpeas
Adapted from Spicy Baked Chickpeas, Claire Robinson

Two 15 oz. cans chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
Kosher salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a nonstick baking mat. In a large bowl, combine chickpeas with olive oil, paprika, cumin and salt, stirring to combine. Pour onto lined baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring after the first 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Crispy Kale Chips
Adapted from Tuscan Kale Chips, Bon Appetit

12 kale leaves, thin part removed from stem (stems discarded) and torn into 2-inch pieces
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Seasoned salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 250 F. Spread kale leaves evenly across two baking sheets. Toss or spray with olive oil. Season with seasoned salt and pepper. Bake until dried and wilted, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.


  1. This was a nice way to add some variety to our weekly salad night. Love the roasted chickpeas!

  2. Thanks. I've been really into chickpeas lately and roasting them brings out their flavor nicely.