A hearty main course roasted chickpea banh mi salad that takes on the flavors of the classic Vietnamese sandwich with spiced roasted chickpeas, quick pickles, homemade croutons, avocado crema, and spicy jalapeno toppings.
Maybe sharing a salad recipe on the Monday before New Year’s makes me a basic B, but I DON’T CARE.
This salad recipe has been burning a hole in my hypothetical pocket since SEPTEMBER and I just can’t take it any longer.
Let’s just say it’s been a tough four months having to keep this from you, but I just wanted it to get the appropriate attention and not lost amid the PUMPKIN! APPLE! PIE! CAKE! COOKIE! hysteria that takes over every fall.
This salad is based on one in The Minimalist Kitchen cookbook written by my friend Melissa who blogs over at The Faux Martha. Back in the day, Melissa co-owned a website design company with Erin of Naturally Ella and together they designed this website for me. Clearly it had a good backbone because it has stood the test of time and lots of WordPress updates.
I’ve been following them via their blogs and Instagram Stories ever since and couldn’t wait to snatch up Melissa’s cookbook when it was released back in 2018. If you’ve read Melissa’s blog, then you know that she is a minimalist in all things – her wardrobe, the interior decorating of her home, her pantry. Everything that she does is simple and classic, and so the premise of the book is really to help you create quality meals for your family with the bare minimum of ingredients and steps as well as to create a minimalist pantry so that you can make quality meals yourself without too much stress, mess, or clutter. If you’ve been to my home, then you know that my pantry could certainly use some work (<–understatement of the year), but I’ve been much better recently about making simpler, no frills (but still delicious!!) meals.
The magic of this salad recipe is that is somehow captures the spirit and flavors of the Vietnamese banh mi sandwich with just a simple combination of roasted chickpeas, homemade croutons, quick pickles, and avocado crema. Okay, when you put it like that it sounds like a lot but I promise it’s not!!
The first step is to make the marinade for the chickpeas, which involves a quick blitz in a blender or food processor of things you probably already have on hand. This gets poured over the chickpeas and into the oven they go for a 30 minute roast. In the meantime, you can toast the croutons, make the quick pickles, and whiz up the avocado crema. Once the chickpeas are done, toss everything together in a big bowl and EAT. If you’re lucky enough to get a little bit of everything in each bite, then you’ll quickly realize what a flavor explosion you have on your hands. I originally made this for lunch one weekend when my MIL was over baby-sitting and she was amazed that a plant-based meal could taste so good. I suspect you may be too.
- 2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 clove garlic
- half thumbtip of peeled fresh ginger
- 4 cups (240 mL) ½-inch cubed crusty bread
- ¼ cup (60 mL) olive oil
- pinch of kosher salt
- ½ ripe avocado
- 2 tbsp whole milk yogurt
- 4-6 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¾ cup (180 mL) water
- ½ cup (120 mL) distilled white vinegar
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp peppercorns
- ¾ cup (180 mL) shredded carrots and radishes
- 5 oz (140 g) baby kale
- ½ cup (120 mL) thinly sliced cucumber
- ¼ cup (60 mL) minced cilantro
- 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced
- Heat oven to 425F (220C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drain the chickpeas, then rinse and dry them as well as possible. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Add the remaining chickpea ingredients to the bowl of a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Pour over the chickpeas and toss until well coated. Roast for 30 minutes, or until charred and crisp, stirring halfway through.
- Heat a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Add the cubed bread to the skillet and toss with the oil and salt. Cook until toasted on the outside with a bit of a chew in the middle, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Combine the avocado, yogurt, water, lime juice, and salt in the bowl of a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Add more water as needed until you achieve the consistency of a salad dressing.
- Bring the water to a boil in a small pan. Add the vinegar, sugar, salt, and peppercorns to a pint-sized glass mason jar. Add in the boiling water and stir until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved. Pour in the carrots and radishes. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes. Store the leftovers in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 3 weeks.
- Divide the greens, roasted chickpeas, croutons, cucumber, cilantro, and jalapeno among 4 plates. Top with a scoop of the quick pickled veggies and a drizzle of the crema. For extra flavor, add a spoonful of the pickle juice onto the salad.