A healthy vegetarian taco salad filled with spiced roasted chickpeas, sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, pickled jalapenos, chewy whole grains, and crispy tortilla strips topped with a spicy chipotle ranch dressing.
Raise your hands if you went a little overboard on the kale salads this resolution season and if you don’t see one again until next January, IT WILL BE TOO SOON.
After a tough month and a half (probably my toughest of intern year), I am raising both hands. And feet. And multiple other body parts.
Working overnight for what feels like a gazillion nights in a row and only getting to see your kid for 40 minutes every morning is really not an appropriate time for salad consumption. Kale or otherwise.
(Brownies on the other hand…..)
And so I present to you……
But not a kale salad.
HEAR. ME. OUT.
Basically what I’m trying to say is that if I spent my whole ICU rotation craving a big bowl of this, there is no way that it qualifies as a kale salad.
There’s just too much other tastebud-approved stuff going on in here and the kale is kind of just an afterthought, not a main squeeze.
It’s there, but really just to add secret vitamin A and fiber into your life.
You won’t even notice it lurking in-between spicy roasted chickpea, crispy tortilla strips, and pickled jalapeno bites.
And I didn’t even mention the chipotle ranch dressing, juicy tomato bites, and sweet corn kernel pops yet.
There’s just a lot to love here, so make some room in your heart (and belly) and dig on in.
- 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp dried chives
- 4 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
- olive oil
- salt, to taste
- 5 oz baby kale
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 10 oz fresh or frozen corn kernels (thawed, if frozen)
- 8 oz pickled jalapenos, drained
- 2 cups cooked spelt berries (can substitute quinoa, barley, farro, wheat berries)
- Heat oven to 400F.
- Spread the chickpeas out on a clean dish towel or paper towel in an even layer. Remove the chickpea skins and discard them. Pat the now skinless chickpeas dry with a paper towel.
- Place the chickpeas in a medium bowl and mix well with the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, lime juice, and olive oil. Pour the spiced chickpeas onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 30-35 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Meanwhile, prepare the chipotle ranch dressing. Combine the mayo, sour cream, lime juice, chipotle peppers, salt, garlic powder, and dried chives in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Chill until ready to use.
- Once the chickpeas are done cooking, lower the oven temperature to 375F. Brush both sides of the tortilla strips with olive oil and spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until crispy.
- While the tortilla strips are roasting, place the baby kale in a large salad bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt. Massage the oil into the kale until tender, about 2-3 minutes.
- To assemble the salad, toss the kale with the chickpeas, grape tomatoes, corn, pickled jalapenos, and spelt berries.
- Divide among serving plates and drizzle with the chipotle ranch dressing. Top each salad with a quarter of the tortilla strips.
More of my favorite hearty salads: