Vegan Bacony Chickpea Salad with Ranch Dressing

Recently, I ordered a salad at a plant based burger place here in Portland, Oregon.  The salad was good, but I thought I could do it better.  And thus, we have this salad.  I did not want to do the expected “tempeh bacon”, and instead, I wanted to figure out how to make chickpeas bring the bacon flavor.  I came up with a quick, easy “Bacony Chickpea” recipe.  I also wanted to come up with a ranch dressing that used fresh herbs (perfect for summer!), and would compliment the bacony chickpeas well.  The rest of the salad I thought about texture–crunch, chewiness, and crispness.  In the end, it turned out to be an amazing salad for this sweltering summer afternoon in the U.S.’s Pacific Northwest.  

This vegan chickpea salad works well for lunch, dinner, or any time you’re craving a hearty, healthy salad. If you’re going to pack it for lunch, keep the dressing and the chickpeas separate from the rest of the salad. When you are ready to eat it, toss everything together.

As a variation, change up the vegetables in the salad.  It’s a salad, so the line up for the vegetables does not need to be static–maybe some avocado? Spinach? You decide.  Or for another variation, make the bacony chickpeas, make the vegan ranch dressing, and throw them both on a wrap with some tomato, lettuce, avocado and raw sunflower seeds.  

Bacony Chickpea Salad with Ranch Dressing

Bacony Chickpeas:

15 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp smoked paprika

½ Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce (OR gluten free tamari)

1 tsp hot sauce

½ tsp garlic powder

Squeeze of lemon juice

Ranch Dressing:

1 cup vegan mayonnaise (I used Follow Your Heart Vegenaise)

¼ cup fresh dill, packed

¼ cup flat leaf parsley, packed

1 ½ tsp lemon juice

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder

1 scallion, white part only

Salt and black pepper

Salad:

2 cups red leaf lettuce

1/2 cup massaged kale

1/4 cup Shredded red cabbage

1/2 cup julienned carrots

2 celery stalks, sliced

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half

1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds

1 cup English cucumber, chopped

1. In a large skillet over low heat, add olive oil and finely chopped garlic.  Let the garlic simmer in the oil, but not brown or burn for 3 minutes.  This will help infuse the olive oil with a garlic flavor.  

2. Add the chickpeas and smoked paprika, and stir it around the skillet for another 2 minutes over medium heat.  Add the soy sauce, hot sauce, and garlic powder, and stir around for another minute until well incorporated.  

3.  Add the lemon juice, and remove from heat.  Taste, and add more salt, if needed.  Spoon the chickpeas into a mixing bowl, and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes or during the time it takes to prepare the rest of the salad.

4. Put everything listed under “Ranch Dressing” in a food processor or blender.  Blend until mostly smooth.  Taste, and adjust seasonings, if needed (more salt? lemon juice?). Set aside.

5. In a large bowl, add the vegetables listed under “Salad”. Then, add the bacony chickpeas and the ranch dressing to the salad in the large bowl. Toss to combine and serve immediately.

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