Some salads are light and leave you still hungry, and some salads, like this BBQ Chickpea Ranch Salad, are the complete opposite. Hearty, filling, delicious, and not even close to being just another boring salad, this one is a meal all on its own. Move over side salad; there’s no room for you at this table!
When I eat a salad, I want a salad! None of this side order stuff. There’s a time and place for a simple bowl of greens with balsamic vinaigrette. But, whenever I crave a salad, I want it to be substantial, just like my BBQ Chickpea Ranch Salad!
I’m a full grown man, damn it! If I’m going to eat a bowl full of raw, chopped vegetables, it had better sustain me for the next five to six hours. Otherwise, I’ll be raiding the fridge in no time at all.
THE DEVIL SCALE IS TO BLAME!
Salads are great; I’m not arguing differently. But, it seems to me that when one thinks about a salad, they think of mixed greens topped with a few tomatoes, onions, maybe cucumbers, etc. When I think of salad, I think of a complete and wholesome meal which tastes so fantastic that I don’t miss the absence of meat or bread. That, to me, constitutes a real salad!
This salad came about after I stepped on the scale on Monday morning. As a result of the number staring back up at me from that devilish bathroom scale, I promised myself that I would eat salad for dinner every night this week. But, the salad had to be good and filling. And that is just what the BBQ chickpeas in this salad did!
I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with getting weighed. Actually, the hate far outweighs the love! I’ve always been a big guy, even when I was little. Sometimes, you just need to accept the life you have! This salad allows me to live a little while eating food that is healthy. It’s a give and take that goes like this: I’ll eat salad, but give me some ranch dressing. Fair enough, right?
PREPPING SALAD IS PURE TORTURE
You all know how much I love to cook and bake. And, I do feel calm and serene when I’m chopping vegetables. I’m that one person who will shred cabbage with a knife rather than use a food processor. But, when the need arises to wash and prep more than five or six vegetables, it tends to lose it’s appeal. Of course, this is significantly more true on a weeknight!
If you want to take some shortcuts and purchase pre-washed and pre-cut vegetables, nobody will blame you. Of the ingredients listed in the card below, there are a few that you can buy ready to eat. I’m no stranger to buying pre-chopped romaine lettuce on my way home from work. And, I have most certainly picked up a bag or two of shredded cheese in my time.
PREPPING ROMAINE LETTUCE
One of the things that I like to do is to prep things on the weekends that we can use throughout the week. We don’t do it as much now that we’re working from home. But, previously, we would prep things like rice, quinoa, beans, etc. If I were making salad on Monday night, I would wash and cut extra lettuce for another meal later in the week.
Here’s a tip that will keep harder lettuces, like romaine, crisp and fresh. Chop the lettuce and wash it well. Use a salad spinner to spin the leaves dry. Transfer to a freezer bag. Run your fingers along the seal, leaving just about an inch or so unsealed. Push as much air out of the bag as possible, and then close the seal. Store the bag of lettuce in your crisper.
Romaine lettuce, especially, will stay fresh and crisp for 5-7 days. I do it all the time! We purchase romaine hearts 99% of the time. I prep all three and store them this way until I feel like a BBQ Chickpea Ranch Salad. Chopped romaine is oftentimes added to mixed greens in our salads. The crunch and texture of romaine is one of my favourite things about eating a salad.
BBQ THE CHICKPEAS IN ADVANCE
Since you need to add the BBQ chickpeas to the salad cold, you might want to prep them in advance to save time later. Here’s how I do it. To make the BBQ chickpeas, begin by sautéing the finely chopped onion in a sauté pan with a little olive oil. Once the onions are cooked, add the canned chickpeas which have been drained and rinsed.
Toss with the onions and sauté for another two to three minutes. Next, add in the BBQ spice seasoning and stir into the chickpeas until they are well coated. Turn off the heat and allow the chickpeas to cool down in the pan. If you want to speed up the cooling process, transfer the chickpeas to a dinner plate. Spread them out and they will cool quickly.
Once cooled, you can go ahead and add them to your salad. If you’re prepping the chickpeas ahead of time, place them in a food-safe container. Put a lid on it and store them in the fridge for up to five days. Speaking of chickpeas, my friend, Gloria, has a Chickpea Apple Salad on her blog, Yummy & Homemade. It’s absolutely delicious!
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Once your lettuce and chickpeas are ready, next comes the task of washing and chopping all of the veggies. Those veggies include endive, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, avocados, and green onions. Depending on how many people you need to feed, you can adjust the amounts accordingly. You can also leave out the veggies you don’t like and substitute for those that you do. As listed below, the salad will feed 4 people as a main.
I like to layer the bowl so that the salad is presented in a pretty way. First, dump in a nice layer of lettuce. Then, working in rows, add the prepped veggies one at a time. Be careful not to mix them up at this point. Once all of the veggies are in the bowl, drizzle over a little bit of the dressing and top with some fresh parsley. Even a salad needs some type of garnish!
Be sure to bring more dressing to the table so that everyone can add more. Once you bring the BBQ Chickpea Ranch Salad to the table, toss all of the ingredients together so that everyone gets a little bit of everything. I like to prepare extra chickpeas sometimes too. A spoonful or two on the side is a great way to get more protein into your salad.
TIPS AND TRICKS
If you’re looking to add meat to your salad instead of chickpeas, BBQ chicken would be a great option. Also, I do like to buy a rotisserie chicken and just cube up the breast meat and add it to the salad.
I have a great recipe for a Buttermilk Dill Ranch Dressing that we love, so I whip that up as often as possible. Previously, I did say that shortcuts were good, so store-bought is just fine.
If you’re looking to add in more veggies, try adding corn or black beans to give this salad a more summery/Mexican vibe. You can add cheese too! Sometimes, I like to add lots of fresh, chopped dill, and even chopped hard boiled eggs.
Lastly, I like to serve this salad with some lime wedges. A spritz of fresh lime is wonderful on this salad, but it’s completely optional. So many options, Dear Reader. Enjoy!
BBQ Chickpea Ranch Salad
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 28 ounces canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed (two cans)
- 2 tablespoons barbecue seasoning
- 3 heads romaine hearts, chopped
- 1 large red endive or radicchio, chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 1 large cucumber, chopped
- 2 large avocados, diced
- 1/2 cup sliced green onions
- 1/2 cup ranch dressing
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- parsley, chopped, for garnish
- To make the BBQ chickpeas, begin by sautéing the onion in a pan with the olive oil. Once the onions are cooked, add the canned chickpeas which have been drained and rinsed.
- Toss with the onions and sauté for another two to three minutes. Next, add the BBQ seasoning and toss to mix through. Turn off the heat and allow the chickpeas to cool completely.
- Prepare all of the veggies as indicated in the ingredient list. When you finish dicing the avocados, toss gently in the lemon juice to prevent any discolouring.
- To assemble the salad, first, dump in a nice layer of romaine lettuce into a large, shallow bowl. Then, working in rows, add the prepped veggies one at a time. Be careful not to mix them up at this point. Once all of the veggies are in the bowl, drizzle over a little bit of the dressing and top with some fresh parsley. Even a salad needs some type of garnish!
- Bring to the table along with more ranch dressing and any extra chickpeas. Toss and serve.