Happy July, Allergic to Salad readers! We hope you’re staying cool in this sweltering heat, whether through going to your local pool, heading out to the beach, or enjoying a refreshing fruit popsicle. Relish these summer days; before you know it, the September school bell will be ringing once more.
This month, we’re celebrating substantial salads that go beyond plain old lettuce with dressing. When the weather heats up, the last thing we want to eat is a rich, hearty stew or soup; even turning on the oven seems daunting at times. Especially with all of the fresh produce available at the farmer’s market, salads are a great solution, offering a cool reprieve for our weekly dinner rotation.
As much as we love them, a bowl of veggies alone often isn’t satisfying enough for a full meal, leaving us feeling hungry into the afternoon or evening. While we can pair our salads with something else — perhaps a crusty loaf of whole grain bread and cheddar, or an assortment of dry-roasted nuts — why not make our lives easier by boosting our bowl of veggies with protein and healthy fats? Adding avocado, cheese, nuts, whole grains, and/or legumes not only gives salad a more robust nutritional profile, but also adds interesting flavors, textures, and colors to the mix. If you have picky eaters, these creamy and crunchy additions may provide some incentive to give veggies a try!
Today, we’ll be sharing one of ATS program officer Abby’s favorite recipes: Crispy Chickpea Salad with Avocado-Dill Dressing. A blend of crunchy roasted chickpeas, juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers and romaine, and a creamy, herby, garlicky dressing, this salad checks all the flavor and textural boxes, making it perfect for a summer dinner. If it’s too hot to turn on the oven, feel free to toast the chickpeas in a skillet until fragrant and golden brown.
Crispy Chickpea Salad with Avocado-Dill Dressing
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and dried
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Pinch of cayenne, optional
- Black pepper, to taste
- 1 ripe avocado
- 3/4 cup fresh dill fronds, plus more for garnish
- 1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-4 tablespoons of water or vegetable broth
- Juice from 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)
- 2 heads of romaine lettuce, cleaned and roughly chopped
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 Persian cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into half moons
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the chickpeas on a large baking sheet and toss with olive oil and spices, making sure there's plenty of space between beans. Roast until golden brown and crispy, but not burnt, about 12-15 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a high-power blender, food processor, or in a bowl with an immersion blender, blend together the dressing ingredients until smooth and creamy. Start with 2 tablespoons of water/vegetable broth, adding more as necessary to keep things moving and/or thin out the dressing. Taste, adjust seasoning if necessary, and set aside.
In a large bowl, toss the romaine, cucumber, tomatoes, and chickpeas with dressing. Garnish with fresh dill and serve immediately.
What are your favorite substantial salads, or summer meals? Let us know in the comments below!
Enjoy your vacation, everyone. We’re so excited to have you back in the classroom soon.
See you next time,
The Allergic to Salad Team