Kale Caesar Salad with Parmesan Roasted Chickpeas- This healthy Caesar salad is made with both Romaine lettuce and kale for an extra flavor and nutritional boost. Topped with a lightened- up dressing and crunchy Roasted Parmesan Chickpeas this salad is perfect for a light meal, to take to a summer BBQ, or for your 4th of July celebration.
Every day is a good day for a salad in my book (I just might have a salad addiction!). When the weather starts turning warmer I’m REALLY craving light, crisp, super flavorful salads like this Kale Caesar Salad with Crispy Parmesan Roasted Chickpeas ( or this Strawberry Avocado and Feta salad or this Italian Salad). The combination of flavors just screams summer fun! ( think BBQ’s, Pool Parties, Picnics, Family get-togethers, etc.).
A Few Recipe Tips:
Massage the Kale!
Yes, you read that correctly. It’s all about the massaging! Raw kale needs to be massaged. I do realize that last sentence may sound a little strange but massaging the kale is a worthwhile extra step to making a super tasty salad.
Kale can be quite tough, which is great when you’re going to be adding it to things like soups (like this Curried Cauliflower “Rice” Soup) or stews since it will hold up nicely, however, to bring out the best in kale that is going to be staring in fresh salads the extra step of massaging the kale is SO worth it!
How to Massage Kale:
- Remove the ribs/stem in the middle of kale leaves by laying the leaf upside down on a cutting board and using a knife to cut along both sides of the rib
- Chop kale into bite size pieces
- In a large bowl add kale, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp lemon juice and a pinch of salt. “Massage” the kale with your fingertips similar to how you would knead bread. You’ll notice the leaves will start to darken and shrink in size and turn a bit silky (this is all good!) . Keep massaging for about 3-5 minutes. Taste the kale. It should start to have a slight nutty and lightly sweet flavor. If it still tastes bitter keep massaging a little bit longer.
I’m keeping this recipe vegetarian and opting not to add anchovies or anchovy paste to the dressing. Of course you can add either if you would like. Can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
The Crispy Parmesan Roasted Chickpeas:
To maintain their maximum crunchiness these are best made the day you plan to serve the salad.
I did a separate post on the chickpeas (they also make great snacks and soup toppers ) – you can read more here .
- 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp grated lemon zest
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 cups chopped fresh kale ( stems removed)
- 1 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- pinch of salt
- 4 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ¾ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice ( approx. the juice of one medium lemon)
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Drain and rinse chickpeas. Pat chickpeas with paper towels to dry and remove any loose skins (the drier the chickpeas are before cooking the crispy they will be after cooking).
- In a large bowl toss chickpeas with oil, garlic powder, lemon zest and salt & pepper.
- Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet and bake until crisp and light brown ( approx. 45-50 mins) tossing halfway through cooking. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
- While chickpeas are roasting prepare dressing by combining all dressing ingredients in a medium bowl and thoroughly mixing. You may need to add a small amount of water to thin dressing to desired consistency. Refrigerate dressing until ready to serve.
- De-stem the kale and tear or chop into bite size pieces. Place the kale, olive oil and lemon juice and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl. "Massage" the kale ( with your fingertips) for approx. 3-5 mins. This process helps to tenderize the kale, making it softer and sweeter. Set kale aside.
- When ready to serve salad, combine kale , Romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese and desired amount of dressing. Plate greens and top with crispy Parmesan chickpeas.
Serving size: ⅙ of recipe Calories: 98.9 Fat: 3.4 g Saturated fat: 0.7 g Carbohydrates: 13.6 g Sugar: 0.0 g Sodium: 210.4 mg Fiber: 2.6 g Protein: 3.7 g Cholesterol: 1.3 mg