I’ve been on a bit of a salad kick recently. With the warmer weather moving in, I find that most nights I’m content with a yummy, fresh salad for my dinner, possibly with some hummus or a piece of toast on the side. To be perfectly honest, often the salads I throw together are pretty simple – usually a mixture of kale and romaine, tossed with olive oil and lemon juice, and topped with shredded carrots, roasted broccoli, diced avocado or whatever other veggies I have around. It might sound a bit boring, but it’s filling and yummy, so it does the trick!
When I’m feeling like something a little more interesting, however, I love putting in the time to craft a really delicious and well-rounded salad. The key to a great salad is choosing the perfect combination of mix-ins to complement each other without over-stimulating the palate too much. I like to think about different flavor profiles and textures, and make sure to choose a good harmony of sweet, tart, creamy, and crunchy. The idea for this fresh spring salad came to me a few weeks ago, and I was excited to create it last weekend.
I used a base of crisp, organic romaine, but feel free to substitute your favorite greens – arugula or butter lettuce would work well, too! To me, a salad isn’t complete without a little something sweet. For early spring, sliced strawberries were the obvious choice! I love tart and creamy goat cheese combined with fresh fruit, and it also adds a rich component to this otherwise light dish. The final topping was a fun, new experiment for me: roasted chickpeas. These little guys are easy to make – as simple as rinsing the beans, stirring them up with a flavorful combination of spices, and pouring them onto a baking sheet to roast for a while. In the oven, the beans crisp up into the perfect crunchy pops of flavor. In this salad they take the place of croutons and offer a nice hit of protein and a bit of spice to this otherwise sweet and tart dish.
Makes 4 servings
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
- 1 cup strawberries, sliced
- 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- To roast chickpeas, preheat oven to 400°. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Drain chickpeas, rinse well, and pat them with paper towels until very dry. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Add olive oil and spices and toss to coat.
- Spread chickpeas onto prepared baking sheet and roast until crispy and golden brown, about 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Let cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make dressing by whisking all ingredients together in a small bowl.
- To assemble salad, toss lettuce with most of dressing. Divide between four bowls.
- Divide chickpeas, strawberries, and goat cheese among the four bowls. Drizzle with remaining dressing.