Kale salad with crispy chickpeas and garlicky cashew dressing

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There are some kitchen combinations that will never grow old. Avocados and toast, cookies and milk, cumin and lamb, and of course: kale salad and crispy chickpeas. At least in my kitchen.

I make some variation of this kale salad when I feel like a detox, or know I’ll need a healthy veggie side at a potluck. I love dino kale because it’s versatile, filling, tasty, sturdy, and makes me feel like I’m scrubbing out my insides. By the time I’m done nibbling, I usually have at least half the batch of crispy chickpeas to throw in the salad. I typically make a sweet and creamy dressing with a nut or tahini base, or use my favorite miso dressing from the local grocery store.

It’s great as-is or you can make it a heftier meal with protein (chicken, egg, etc), carbs (roasted sweet potatoes, grains), and/or crunchy toppings (pepitas, crispy shallots). As long as you’ve built a firm foundation (by that I mean flavorful and slightly wilted, don’t forget to massage your kale people!), kale salads are a personal adventure.




1 bunch dino (lacinato) kale

1 can chickpeas

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

Cashew dressing
1/3 cup raw, unsalted cashews

boiling water

2-3 cloves garlic

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tsp honey

1 tbsp onion salt

1/4 cup hot water + more as needed to thin



  1. Cover cashews with boiling water in a heatproof bowl. Let soak at least 30 minutes (this will soften nuts & ensure everything is smooth when blended). Alternatively: soak in room temp water 8+ hours or overnight

  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  3. Drain and rinse chickpeas, then toss on a lined baking sheet with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt, and paprika. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until tender with crispy, golden brown edges.

  4. Wash the kale and strip leaves from stems. Discard stems, and tear leaves into bit sized pieces. In a large bowl, toss the kale with remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt. Massage in a scrunching motion with hands until tender and slightly wilted.

  5. Drain cashews and blend with garlic, mustard, honey, onion salt, and 1/4 cup hot water until smooth. Taste, adjust seasonings and add hot water to thin as needed.

  6. Toss kale with dressing in a large serving bowl, top with crispy chickpeas, serve and enjoy!


all photos taken by the lovely Ophelia Ding