Spinach Salad with Bacon Asiago Dressing

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This Lemon, Spinach, Avocado Salad with Salty Roasted Chickpeas with a Lemony Bacon Asiago Dressing is a nutrient-dense powerhouse of a salad that is bursting with flavor and satisfying enough to be an enjoyable entree or main dish.

Recipe modifications for Plant-based Vegan, Paleo, and Keto diets included.

Lemony Kale, Spinach, and Avocado Salad with Salty Roasted Chickpeas Recipe

There are a few extra steps that keep this from being a true ‘quick and easy salad’, but I promise you it will be worth your time for not only this recipe, but for your meal prep game overall.

Once you have all of the main ingredients prepared, like the Salty Roasted Chickpeas and the truly drool-worthy Lemony Bacon Asiago Dressing, you can put this salad together in 5-minutes.

While I favor the recipe below ‘as-is’ because I do not currently adhere to any one particular diet, I have included recipe modifications for a plant-based vegan diet option, a paleo diet option, and the Keto diets for you below to ensure this delicious dish can be enjoyed by all.

A Guest Recipe Post from The Silent Food Critic

I am so lucky to have one of the best guest recipe contributors around, my Dad!

He helped me tremendously with recipe development for my cookbook, and he continues to help support my business by sharing his delicious recipes over here on the blog. Take it Away, Dad:

“If there were two ingredients that I never would have thought I would use it would have to be Kale and Chickpeas. I just happened to have these on hand and thought it would give this a try. I ended up with a surprisingly good salad that was a nice change from the traditional Romaine variety.” – The Silent Food Critic

Salty Roasted Chickpeas aka Garbanzo Beans

I’m just going to say this ahead of time, you really should make double the batch of these salty roasted chickpeas because you’re going to eat half of them off the sheet pan before they make it onto your salad.

And if you like to snack, you’re going to want to have some extra salty roasted chickpeas leftover because they are honestly just as satisfying and delicious as potato chips, with more nutritional health benefits.

The Health Benefits of Chickpeas

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a member of the legume family, and are a plant-based food that serves as a good source of protein, carbohydrates, dietary fiber and other nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Chickpeas help to make this salad a satisfying plant-based entree because of their high protein and dietary fiber content. They contain soluble fiber which helps to promote healthy gut flora, and are considered to be a low glycemic indeed food thanks to the resistant starch called amylose that digests slowly in the body.

Chickpeas have also been shown to help reduce inflammation in the body, making them an excellent addition to an anti-inflammatory diet.

Lemony Kale, Spinach, and Avocado Salad with Salty Roasted Chickpeas by Emily Kyle Nutrition

Lemony Bacon Asiago Dressing

This dressing truly makes the salad, it is that good. And have no worries, you can easily customize this dressing to be plant-based if you need, see the recommendations in the customized recipe section below.

I used to be intimidated by the idea of making my own homemade salad dressings, until I wrote my cookbook, which forced me to make endless amounts of homemade dressing during testing and production.

It turns out, making homemade salad dressing is much easier than expected, and in most cases, tastes 100% better than store-bought dressings. It only takes about an extra 10-minutes to make and can stay in the refrigerator for a surprisingly long time.

Lemony Kale, Spinach, and Avocado Salad with Salty Roasted Chickpeas by Emily Kyle Nutrition

You May Want to Invest in an Immersion Blender

While you can easily make this recipe by shaking all of the ingredients together vigorously in a mason jar, I highly suggest investing in an immersion blender if you anticipate making homemade salad dressing more than once in your life.

An immersion blender, also known as a stick blender, really is a handy tool to have on hand in the kitchen and is good for more than just making salad dressing.

Lemony Kale, Spinach, and Avocado Salad with Salty Roasted Chickpeas by Emily Kyle Nutrition

Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

One more small suggestion for making this recipe as amazing as possible, take the 5 extra seconds to freshly squeeze your lemon juice. Of course, if you are strapped for time, you can easily use bottled lemon juice, but if you have a moment, squeeze that lemon!

My tip for squeezing a lemon quickly and easily? Put the lemon in the microwave for 20 seconds, carefully remove it and place it on the counter. Roll the lemon between your palm and the countertop a few times, with some force, and then squeeze it using as glass citrus juicer.

I got my glass citrus juicer from Goodwill for 99 cents, but you could also grab one from Amazon here.

Lemony Kale, Spinach, and Avocado Salad with Salty Roasted Chickpeas by Emily Kyle Nutrition

Recipe Modifications by Diet

I am very thankful to currently be in good health, which means that I do not need to adhere to a specific dietary relation at this time, but I do want to make this recipe accessible for people who may not be as fortunate for me. Below you will find diet modifications for a plant-based, paleo, and Keto version of this recipe.

Of course, if you currently need help with one of these specific diets or are wondering which one is right for you, work with a professional who can help you reach your goals safely.

Plant-Based Lemony Kale, Spinach, and Avocado Salad Diet Modifications

Plants are amazing and I agree that we should all be eating more of them. For some people, a plant-based means a diet that is defined by consuming few or little animal products, while other people view a plant-based diet as being a completely vegan diet, meaning free of any and all animal products.

There is no right or wrong take on plant-based and what it means to you, it is all subjective. If you want a plant-based dish that contains few animal products, go ahead and enjoy this dish as-is.

For a complete vegan diet modification of this recipe: eliminate the bacon, the parmesan and asiago cheese completley. To retain the ‘cheese’ flavor of the dressing, substitute a quarter cup of nutritional yeast for the parmesan and asiago cheese called for in the dressing and omit adding the cheese from the salad all together.

Paleo Lemony Kale, Spinach, and Avocado Salad Diet Modifications

After working as a Paleo diet menu consultant for the past three years, I have gotten pretty good at making delicious Paleo diet swaps and substitutions. I also included a Paleo-friendly option on almost all of the recipes in my cookbook, The 30-Minute Thyroid Cookbook.

The Paleo diet excludes dairy and legumes, which means the Parmesan and Asiago cheese and the chickpeas have to go in this recipe. For the chickpeas, I would simply substitute them for one-pound of cooked and diced, organic, free-range chicken.

To retain the ‘cheese’ flavor of the dressing, substitute a quarter cup of nutritional yeast for the parmesan and asiago cheese called for in the dressing and omit to add the cheese from the salad all together.

Keto Lemony Kale, Spinach, and Avocado Salad Diet Modifications

While I am not an advocate for the Keto diet unless, under the supervision of a healthcare provider, I do know that there are many people who appreciate a low-carb, high-fat recipe for a variety of personal reasons.

As long as you are safe and happy, you do you, boo. I’m not here to judge.

This Lemony Bacon Asiago Dressing is nothing but fat and flavor blended together. Good for more than just salad, you could easily enjoy this on a variety of your favorite dishes.

To make this recipe Keto friendly, or just simply lower carbohydrate and higher in protein and fat, substitute the chickpeas for one-pound of cooked and diced, organic, free-range chicken. Depending on your specific nutrient needs, you may want to add more chicken, bacon, cheese, or dressing.

Kale Chickpea Salad

Spinach Avocado Salad with Roasted Chickpeas

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

A nutrient dense powerhouse of a salad that is bursting with flavor and satisfying enough to be an enjoyable entree or main dish. Recipe modifications for Plant-based Vegan, Paleo and Keto diets included.

Ingredients

Salty Roasted Chickpeas

  • 15 ounces chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon of sea salt

For the Lemony Bacon Asiago Dressing

  • 1 whole lemon, juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1-2 teaspoons hot sauce, or more, depending on your taste
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 slices uncured, crispy cooked bacon, chopped *Optional
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Asiago cheese, divided

Lemony Kale, Spinach and Avocado Salad

  • 4 cups kale and spinach blend
  • 1 whole avocado, diced
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

For the Salt Roasted Chickpeas

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Thoroughly rinse the chickpeas and allow the water to drain. Then place the chickpeas on a layer of paper towel and cover with a second layer. Dry the chickpeas as much as possible.
  3. Transfer them to a sheet pan and liberally sprinkle with olive oil and sea salt.
  4. Place the sheet pan in the hot oven and roast for 12 minutes. 
  5. Turn the chickpeas over with a spatula and roast for another 10-12 minutes. When crisp, remove from the oven, set aside and allow to cool.

For the Lemony Salad Dressing

  1. Using a mason jar or container that can be covered add the lemon juice, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, hot sauce, salt, olive oil, bacon (if using) and one half of the grated Parmesan and Asiago cheese. Shake vigiriously to mix. 

Assembling Salad

  1. Chop the Kale and Spinach mix into smaller pieces if desired. Place in a bowl.
  2. Pour the Lemony salad dressing mixture over the kale and spinach blend and mix well with tongs until all leaves are well coated. Allow the salad to sit with the dressing on for 15 minutes. 
  3. Immediately before serving, mix the salad again. Top with the salt roasted chickpeas, diced avocado and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and asiago cheese. 
  4. Give the salad a grind of black pepper and serve immediately. 

I Want To See Your Creations!

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