I recently started a new job that is quite a commute from where I live. An hour, to be exact…without traffic. My first week, I was spending at least 2 1/2 hours per day on the road, which just didn’t feel feasible and was incredibly draining.
My second week, I was lucky enough to have dear friends who opened their homes to me and cut my commute down biiiiiig time. I actually had time to make dinner in the evenings and wake up at a decent hour in order to get to work on time!!
Of course, I had to thank my friends the only way I really know how: by cooking for them. Each night, I tried to make nutritious meals that tasted great and filled us up. It was a weird form of self-care to come home from a day of recipe testing to spend even more time in the kitchen, but I loved it.
I think it was different than cooking at work because I knew that whatever I made would be good, loved by both of us, and appreciated (not that my food isn’t appreciated at work, but it’s certainly different). It’s also such a joy to cook for two versus always cooking for one. Knowing that someone is going to be eating with me and enjoying the food I make is very motivating for me.
Each morning, I would do a quick scan of the fridge and pantry, then slowly dream up our dinner throughout the day with my mental inventory. This meal came together the same way. All I picked up from the store was the kale and broccoli, and everything else was pulled from what was already available.
This salad was GOOOOOOOOD. We both loved the flavors and textures at play.
And if you haven’t even massaged your kale, START NOW. It changes everything. My friend said that she had never really cared for raw kale until that day, and her impression of kale completely changed when she saw how much the composition changed when it was massaged. I’ve changed the opinions of many people on kale simply by massaging it, which only takes an extra minute or two and is WORTH IT. It breaks down the tough green and makes it easier to chew (and digest), cuts the bitterness, and creates a bright green leaf that you will keep going back for because it’s that good. TRUST.
I have ingredient amounts included in the recipe but everything is pretty flexible and feel free to change things up as you wish! I included a few suggestions in the notes, but you can do whatever you’d like with the template I provided. Let me know if you make any changes–we could all use a little inspiration!
Roasted Veggie Salad with Chickpea Croutons & Jalapeño Pesto Vinaigrette
1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp black pepper
(or 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp seasoning of choice)
Broccoli – 1 small stalk
Sweet Potatoes – 1 small or 1/2 large
Carrots – 1 large or 2 small
Cherry/Grape Tomatoes – 1 cup
Jalapeño Pesto Vinaigrette:
1/2 jalapeño (de-seeded if you don’t want it spicy, leave the seeds in if you do)
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 clove garlic
2 TB olive oil
2 TB water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 large or 2 small bunches curly kale
1/2 tsp Olive oil
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Drain and rinse chickpeas, then dry well with a paper towel. Try to remove as much of the peels from the chickpeas as you can, but don’t sweat it if you can’t get all of them removed.
- Tip: lay a paper towel on a flat surface, pour the chickpeas over, then lay another paper towel over them and rub the chickpeas between the two paper towels. This will dry them well and get off many of the outer shells.
- Toss chickpeas with remaining crouton ingredients, then spread onto a cookie sheet and put into the oven for 35-40 minutes, tossing once at the 15 minute mark and once more at the 30 minute mark.
- When you remove them from the oven, they will need to cool for a minute or so before they become deliciously crunchy. To test when I think they’re done, I will take one out of the oven and let it cool for a minute, then taste it. If it’s perfectly crunchy, I’ll pull the rest out. If not, I’ll leave them in for 5 more minutes then check again.
- After you put the chickpeas into the oven, chop your veggies. Chop them into bite-sized pieces, and cut the cherry/grape tomatoes in half. Spread them out onto a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then toss and mix well. Add to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until veggies are soft and lightly browned.
- After you put the veggies into the oven, make the vinaigrette. Throw all ingredients into a blender and blend well. Alternatively, you could use an immersion blender or just verrrrrry finely chop the ingredients and mash well. Either way, the dressing will be thick but that is okay. It will still mix well with the salad!
- De-stem the kale then tear into smaller pieces. Wash and dry the kale, then add to a large bowl and add the olive oil, salt, and lemon juice. Massage the kale very well (about 2 minutes) until the kale is bright green and soft, and it has absorbed the oil well. Taste a piece and adjust salt if necessary.
- To assemble, place a large bed of kale onto your plate. Top with roasted veggies, spoon dressing on top, then add a generous amount of chickpea croutons on top of everything.
- Inhale and live your best life while feeling amazing and nourished.
-This may look overwhelming, but it actually comes together really easily. Get the chickpeas in the oven, chop the veggies and throw them into the oven, then make the dressing and massage the kale. Assemble and bam!
-Not feeling the veggies listed here? Use any veggies you like! We loved the roasted tomatoes because they felt like additional little pops of dressing in the salad, but you can use any veggies. It’s incredible versatile.
-No jalapeño? Use another pepper! Scrape the seeds out and throw a habanero pepper in there instead.
-If prepping ahead of time, I recommend massaging the kale and storing the components separately, then assembling whenever you plan to eat the salad. Keep dressing, greens, and roasted veggies refrigerated, and keep chickpea croutons in an airtight container out of the fridge.