Healthy Loaded Kale Salad with Spicy Chickpeas

October 8, 2018
Recipes - Gluten-Free - Main Meal - Salads - Weeknight Meals
This Healthy Loaded Kale Salad with Spicy Chickpeas is the perfect lunch or dinner with buffalo chickpeas, brown rice, kale, and your favorite dressing and tossed in your favorite dressing.

Healthy Loaded Kale Salad with Spicy Chickpeas

Whether it's a busy Monday back to work or a lazy Sunday afternoon, this loaded kale salad is the go-to meal for me. And once you give it a try, I think you'll see what I mean 🙂

Healthy Loaded Kale Salad with Spicy Chickpeas on a black serving platter with fresh peppers on the side

I first made this loaded kale salad with crispy chickpeas 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.

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.

Healthy Loaded Kale Salad with Spicy Chickpeas on a black serving platter

How to Make Loaded Kale Salad with Buffalo Chickpeas

When I say that this salad is loaded, I mean LOADED! It's full of plant-based protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.


Check out this powerhouse of an ingredient list:

  • Chickpeas. Canned chickpeas are one of the very important protein sources in this kale salad. Drain your chickpeas and rinse them well before making the hearty buffalo chickpea salad.
  • Olive oil. Choose a light, flavorful extra-virgin olive oil to make your buffalo chickpea salad. This adds heart-healthy fats to the dish as well.
  • Buffalo sauce. You can use your favorite store-bought buffalo sauce or make your own!
  • Red pepper flakes and smoked paprika. These two dried spices add a bit more heat to the buffalo sauce.
  • Cumin and garlic powder. Together, these seasonings make a savory, earthy flavor pairing.
  • Dried parsley. Feel free to use another dried herb if there's one you prefer to parsley!
  • Kale. Destem your kale to make it a bit easier to eat and digest. If you're not a fan of kale, another leafy green will also work for this recipe.
  • Brown rice. Use cooked, cooled brown rice to round out this dish into a complete meal with whole-grain carbs, fats, protein, and flavor!

Healthy Loaded Kale Salad with Spicy Chickpeas on a black serving platter

Add-On Ingredients

You can have fun and make this loaded kale and chickpea salad as full of nutrients as you like! Here are some ways that I like to mix up the ingredients in this versatile recipe:

  • Cooked quinoa (in addition to or in place of the brown rice)
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell peppers (fresh or roasted)
  • Jalapeños (fresh or pickled)
  • Feta cheese (vegan if necessary!)
  • Cooked veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, or whatever is in season)
  • Toasted nuts
  • Croutons

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!

Healthy Loaded Kale Salad with Spicy Chickpeas on a black serving platter

Best Dressing for Loaded Kale Salad

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.

Healthy Loaded Kale Salad with Spicy Chickpeas on a black serving platter

Meal Prep Suggestions

This recipe has a few different components, but they can all be prepped ahead of time for meals during the week.

Store the buffalo chickpeas and grains in separate containers for up to three days. Then, just before serving, toss everything together with the dressing and kale leaves and dig in!

Healthy Loaded Kale Salad with Spicy Chickpeas on a black serving platter with a wooden bowl of fresh kale on the side

More Vegan Bowl Recipes to Try

This Vegan Chickpea + Quinoa ‘Meatballs’ + Polenta recipe is truly something special. This dish is so flavorful that you wouldn't even remember that you're not eating any meat.

This Roasted Plantain + BBQ Chickpea Vegan Bowl is definitely one of my favorites as well and I'm sure that you'll enjoy that it comes packed with a sweet + spicy side of chickpeas, fresh spinach, baked sweet potatoes, snow peas, and a twist of oven-roasted sweet plantains.

Vegan Curry Chickpea Mashed Potato Bowlcombines hearty chickpeas with comforting and fluffy mashed potatoes for a well-rounded dinner.


If you choose to make this Loaded Kale Salad with Spicy Chickpeas or any other recipe from us, be sure to tag us on Instagram at #Orchidsandsweettea so that we can share the love, rate, comment below, + share!

Healthy Loaded Kale Salad with Spicy Chickpeas

Healthy Loaded Kale Salad with Spicy Chickpeas

5 from 6 votes
This Healthy Loaded Kale Salad with Spicy Chickpeas recipe is truly a bowl full of goodness! It's the perfect meal for any occasion and is made with whole, real ingredients. It comes fully loaded with roasted veggies, brown rice, quinoa, kale, and spicy chickpeas and tossed in your favorite vegan dressing. Vegan and Gluten-Free.
Author: Shanika
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4 servings


  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained + rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups Buffalo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon finely-ground sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely-ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 6 cups chopped kale
  • 1-2 cups cooked brown rice (See Notes)

Optional Toppings:

  • Favorite salad dressing
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Dried parsley


  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, add the chickpeas, olive oil, the seasonings, and buffalo sauce, tossing everything together until chickpeas are well coated. Spoon everything unto the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until chickpeas are crispy and the sauce has become thick and baked onto the chickpeas.
  • In a large bowl, add the chopped kale and your favorite dressing, tossing them together until kale is well coated.
  • Once chickpeas are done, remove them from the oven.
  • Scoop the dressed kale into your favorite serving dish, top with cooked brown rice, followed by buffalo chickpeas. Top with a few sprinkles of red pepper flakes or dried parsley, if desired.
  • Serve and enjoy!
  • Bon Appetit!

Tips & Tricks

STORAGE: Place any leftover buffalo chickpeas or rice in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 
SALAD INGREDIENTS: To make this salad even more loaded and delicious, you can mix and match any of the following ingredients: cooked quinoa, tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeños, feta cheese, sautéed veggies (like broccolini, brussels sprouts, asparagus, etc.), your favorite nuts, croutons, etc.


Calories: 134kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 4349mg | Potassium: 465mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 10889IU | Vitamin C: 94mg | Calcium: 276mg | Iron: 3mg


Tag @orchidsnsweettea_ on Instagram and hashtag it #orchidsandsweettea

Healthy Loaded Kale Salad with Spicy Chickpeas.


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Love this Recipe?

  1. Well this was a fun take on salad! I like how easy it is to customize with whatever veggies you have on hand. I added cauliflower, bell pepper, celery and green onion. I found it very spicy- I used to be able to handle the heat, but I’ve gone soft, lol! The rice tempered the heat somewhat. But it was a great salad!

  2. When I was vegetarian, I always used chickpeas in my salads. I could eat them straight out of the can! I love that this salad also uses rice and quinoa - so good!

    • Yes, I love chickpeas also Lauren! They are so amazing! And I love using rice and quinoa in a lot of my dishes! They just work perfectly!

    • Thanks so much, Nicole! I love a good salad too, especially since there's such a misconception of salads being boring. I just love their versatility!

  3. Greta recipe! I love anything with chickpeas. And I can't believe the holidays are almost here either. It happens so fast!