Honey Roasted Chickpea and Avocado Salad with tomatoes, corn, feta, and creamy herb dressing. This vegetarian salad is nutritious, flavorful, and filling--the perfect make-ahead lunch or weeknight dinner.
Crispy Chickpea Salad with Herb Dressing
This salad will 100% be on REPEAT this spring and summer (and likely every season to come). It's everything that actually makes a salad CRAVEABLE: fresh, cooling, crunchy, creamy, salty, sweet (did I miss anything?).
Plus, it can totally be made ahead with a few tweaks. It can also be made 100% plant-based with a one simple substitution. So basically, there's no reason to not to go forth and make this salad, which will undoubtedly become a family favorite.
And by family, that includes kids, too! Not that I can speak personally, but it seems like most kids will at least try a veggie dish that includes corn and chunks of cheese. Because really, what's not to love?
Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions
This salad is more of a template than a recipe, so feel free to use whatever you have on hand. Here's what you need:
- Lettuce: If making fresh, I love using crisp romaine. However if you're making it in advance, use a sturdier green like lacinato kale, which won't turn soggy.
- Tomatoes: I love the burst of freshness from cherry tomatoes, however you can use any variety you like.
- Corn: Fresh, frozen, or canned corn works!
- Avocado: Use one large or two small ripe avocados, cut into chunks.
- Feta: Go for a BLOCK of feta over the pre-crumbled. This gives you the freedom to cut it into as big or small of chunks as you like.
- Fresh basil: You truly can't beat the bright, herbaceous flavor of basil leaves. I treat them like lettuce and just toss them right in the mix!
- Honey-Roasted Chickpeas: Read on for the full scoop on these.
Now, onto the dressing. I love using tahini for its nutty, savory depth of flavor and unctuous creaminess. (Plus, it's naturally dairy-free!). However, if you don't have any on hand, you can also use full-fat Greek yogurt. Here's the ingredient lineup:
- Tahini: In terms of brands, Soom is my go-to for its smooth texture and rich flavor. To try any Soom products for 10% off, simply enter code ‘dishingouthealth’ at checkout!
- Lemon Juice: Because every dressing needs a bright pop of acidity.
- Garlic: For the freshest flavor, I suggest grating a whole clove of garlic on a microplane. However, you can use garlic powder (or granulated garlic) in a pinch.
- Honey: A hint of sweetness really helps round out the savory notes of the tahini. Alternatively, you can use maple syrup here.
- Chives: Fresh chopped chives are what add the herbaceous edge to this dressing. I also love using fresh tarragon!
How Do You Make Crispy Chickpeas?
The star of this salad is crispy honey-roasted chickpeas, which essentially serve as the croutons. They also add a good punch of protein, which I always appreciate in a vegetarian salad.
These chickpeas did require multiple rounds of testing because they can be quite finicky. Especially when you involve honey, which can burn easy. So, make sure you follow these steps to maximize the crunch of your chickpeas.
Step 1: Rinse and Dry the Chickpeas
Pour the can of chickpeas into a colander and give them a good rinse. Next, place them in a dry kitchen towel, and gently rub until some of the "skin" loosens and falls off. You can choose to rub all the skins off, if desired, however it's not necessary.
Once they're dry and the loose skins are removed, transfer the chickpeas to a baking sheet.
Step 2: Toss with Oil and Salt
Toss the chickpeas with 2 teaspoons of either extra-virgin olive or avocado oil, and salt. Also, make sure the chickpeas have ample room to roast on the baking sheet.
Step 3: Roast the Chickpeas
Bake the chickpeas at 375°F for about 40 minutes, shaking the tray every 15 minutes. Watch closely at the end to make sure the chickpeas aren't burning (every oven is different!).
Step 4: Glaze the Chickpeas
Combine remaining 1 teaspoon oil, honey, Dijon mustard, and cinnamon in a small bowl; stir well. Pour the glaze onto the roasted chickpeas and toss to coat.
Step 5: Let Cool in the Oven until Crispy
Turn the oven OFF and place the chickpeas back in the oven. Let them cool with the door slightly ajar for about 20 minutes. Next, remove them from the oven and let cool completely to room temperature. This salad is perfect for spring and summer picnics, easy entertaining, or healthy weeknight dinners. It's brimming with nutrients, and oh-so satisfying.
More Recipes using Canned Chickpeas:
Chickpea Meatballs *reader favorite!
Honey Roasted Chickpea and Avocado Salad
- Sheet pan
- Mixing bowls
- 1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas
- 3 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided sub avocado oil
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tsp. honey
- ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon
- 4 to 5 cups chopped romaine lettuce sub lacinato kale if making ahead
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup fresh, canned, or frozen/thawed corn
- 1 large (or 2 small) ripe avocados, cubed
- 1 cup feta cheese, cut into cubes (purchase a block of feta, as opposed to crumbled)
- ½ cup fresh torn basil leaves
Creamy Herb Dressing
- 2 Tbsp. tahini (such as Soom brand) sub 3 Tbsp. plain full-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped chives
- 1 clove finely grated garlic sub ½ tsp. granulated garlic
- 2 tsp. honey
- ½ tsp. each kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place chickpeas in a colander and rinse well. Transfer to a clean, dry kitchen towel, and fold half the towel over the chickpeas. Gently rub the chickpeas to release any loose skins. (You don't have to remove all the skins; just any loose ones.) Once dry, transfer the chickpeas to a baking sheet and toss with 2 tsp. of the olive oil, and salt.
- Bake the chickpeas for 40 minutes, shaking the pan every 15 minutes and watching closely towards the end to prevent burning. Meanwhile, prepare honey glaze by combining remaining 1 tsp. olive oil, honey, Dijon mustard, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Remove the chickpeas from the oven and toss in honey glaze. Once well-coated, turn the oven OFF, return chickpeas to the oven with door slightly ajar, and let sit 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let chickpeas cool completely at room temperature. (This is when they turn crispy!)
- Meanwhile, prepare Creamy Herb Dressing by combining tahini (or yogurt), olive oil, lemon juice, chives, garlic, honey, salt, and pepper in a small bowl; stir to combine. Gradually whisk in 2 Tbsp. warm water (or more) to reach desired consistency.
- Prepare salad by combining lettuce, tomatoes, corn, avocado, feta, and basil in a large bowl. Add half the chickpeas and half the dressing; toss to combine. Garnish with remaining chickpeas and drizzle remaining dressing over top. Serve immediately.