The Best Buffalo Chickpea Kale Salad recipe is just the thing that you'll need to fill you up during any season! Enjoy the beautiful green color of this salad with pops of red as well as the flavor and nutrients with a variety of ingredients like green kale, brown basmati rice, chickpeas, cucumbers, avocado, onions, etc. Entirely dairy-free, vegan, + gluten-free. Make ahead option.
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I first made this loaded kale salad during one of those weeks when I was just feeling burnt out. It's so easy to throw together. And even when you're craving junk food, this recipe makes you feel good and is so satisfying. It truly lives up to it's name----The Best Buffalo Chickpea Kale Salad. Ever since then, I've been making this recipe regularly to save time and fuel myself and my family with whole foods, plant-based ingredients in the most delicious way possible.
Usually, I love a good loaded salad like this Roasted Cauliflower Green Goddess Salad, Fall Harvest BBQ Chickpea Kale Salad, or chicken salad like this Chicken Caesar Salad with Cornbread Croutons, however, you will certainly enjoy the "meatiness" of these roasted cauliflowers which are coated in a savory blackened seasoning. If you're not restricted to a meatless diet, you'll love these Crispy Buffalo Popcorn Chicken. And if you're into salads, then you'll love this Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Chopped Salad, Ultimate Summer BBQ Chopped Kale Salad, Easy Loaded Corn Salad, and Baked Jamaican Jerk Chicken Salad.
The best part about this salad is that it's entirely meatless, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free which makes it perfect for the entire family. Of course, you can mix and match ingredients to meet the need for all of the eaters in your family and you don't have to use just kale as your base and instead add your favorite greens like lettuce, arugula, collard greens, spinach, you name it.
When it comes to massaging kale, it's usually recommended because kale is known for being tough and fibrous, which makes it sometimes hard to chew and digest. However, massaging the kale softens it a great deal and helps the flavors to be more pronounced which works hand in hand with the other ingredients.
My easy method to massage kale is to add the de-stemmed and chopped kale to a large bowl and then drizzling it with 1-2 tsps of lemon juice or Extra virgin olive oil and using your clean hands, rubbing the leaves together gently for about 2-3 minutes. They should look glossy and slightly reduced in volume when massaging is achieved.
When I say that this Buffalo Chickpea Kale Salad is loaded, I mean LOADED! It's full of plant-based protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. So GOOD!
Check out this powerhouse of an ingredient list for this salad:
If you want to take this already delicious Buffalo Chickpea Kale Salad to the next level, have fun tossing in your favorite salad toppers. I especially love the following ingredients with the kale and spicy buffalo flavors in this recipe:
Truly, the list is never-ending. This is a great make-ahead vegan meal that you can use whatever is in the fridge or pantry!
Because the buffalo chickpeas add so much bright and fiery flavor to this salad, I like to use a lighter dressing. You can use a simple vinaigrette de with olive oil and vinegar, or your favorite bottled salad dressing. However, you can always try any of these dressings as well:
Creamy Lemon Garlic Dressing
For those of you who aren’t aware, another name for Chickpeas are Garbanzo Beans. Despite the most recent craze, chickpeas have been around for thousand of years and originate from the Middle East.
Chickpeas have such a great texture and nutty flavor, which allows them to successfully pair well with a lot of other ingredients, especially in vegan and/or vegetarian recipes.
When it comes to the health benefits of Chickpea, here a few awesome reasons why you should probably add this simple ingredient to your diet more often:
Although, kale is the most common veggie that I love to use as my salad base, you can definitely use other greens such as romaine lettuce, spinach, collard greens, bokchoy, etc. for a nice twist! When it comes to vegetables, there are so many benefits as we all know. While some veggies pack a greater punch when it comes to nutrients, we’ve curated a special list of our Our Top 12 Favorite Healthy Green Leafy Vegetables! Most of these are super popular while others are under utilized in many dishes. Lettuce Eat, Shall We?
Absolutely! The buffalo chickpeas and chopped veggies can be made up to 2 days beforehand and stored in an airtight container and refrigerated. The dressing can be made and refrigerated in a separate airtight container. The kale can be chopped up to 30 minutes before serving.
Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days, depending on the ingredients. Always determine the ingredients in your salad and keep it no longer than the shelf life of your fastest-spoiling ingredient.
According to research, iceberg lettuce has a high water content, which causes it to not be as rich in nutrients as other types of lettuce.
Yes! kale (aka as a superfood) is one of the healthiest and most nutrient-dense foods you can eat, therefore, adding it to a salad or making it the base is a great option. Massaging your kale makes it easier to digest and enjoy.
Prior to chopping my kale, I find that soaking the leaves in a bit of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar for 10 minutes and then rinsing them off thoroughly helps. In addition, it's great to massage your kale with olive oil or lemon juice, which helps as well.
Yes! Adding salt and squeezing lemon unto your kale leaves when massaging them makes a big difference by removing the bitterness.
While Kale stems have a reputation for being fibrous and tough, they're actually completely edible and can be delicious if prepared right.
In general, leafy vegetables like kale should be soaked (in water + vinegar) for optimal disinfection and the removal of any dirt. Vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar) is a natural "disinfectant" and it is safe for human consumption so it is a natural choice when cleaning vegetables thoroughly.
Believe it or not, you can give it a little rinse before cutting, but rinsing it off after cutting helps removes more of the bitterness. Soak the chopped kale in cold water + vinegar and then rinse thoroughly after. The cold will help remove some of the bitterness, and the vinegar will help to deep clean the leaves.
This Buffalo Chickpea Kale Salad is easy to throw together, but if you'd love additional texture + crunch croutons are a great addition! While you might think that it's so hard to make----I'm here to show you just how easy it is, using the following ingredients:
For greater ease, you can easily make this kale salad a chopped salad by chopping your ingredients in a food processor for the perfect bite. I suggest first starting with solely the kale leaves once they are de-stemmed. Add them to your food processor and pulse for a few seconds before they are too minced. Then remove those chopped greens and place them into a bowl and work your way through the other ingredients (all processed separately).
Once all ingredients are chopped, add them together in a bowl and continue recipe.
If you'd like to switch things up a bit by roasting your tomatoes-----the key to this recipe is to start with great-quality tomatoes. Choose a mix of large and cherries, and several different colors if you can find them.
You can enjoy this Spicy Buffalo Chickpea Kale Salad on its own as a nice lunch or dinner. Or, if you'd like to add additional protein to round out your meal, add crispy tofu or nuts to keep things plant-based. If you're not vegetarian or vegan, you can add seared salmon, Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders or leftover cooked chicken.
If you're offering this salad as a side dish, I personally love it paired with a hearty and warming entree like Creamy Roasted Garlic Tomato Soup, Creamy Garlic Chicken Gnocchi Soup, Roasted Carrot Soup + Cheesy Croutons, or Easy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. For a hearty bite, I enjoy this salad with the following meals also: Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken, Creamy Jamaican Rasta Pasta, Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Wings/Bites, or Baked Sticky Orange Cauliflower + Quinoa.
Now that you're on a chickpea kick with this kale salad recipe, give these recipes that your entire family will love a try next:
If you tried this Best Buffalo Chickpea Kale Salad recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you.