Hooray! The weekend is here. I’m happy to say that I’m going to spend the evening making, and then likely photographing (depending on the success of my recipe) some birthday cupcakes. Not just any birthday cupcakes. Birthday cupcakes for a group of 3 and almost 3 year olds! When your group of friends all have kids with birthdays within months of each other in the summer, it makes perfect sense to just have one giant birthday for all of them.
We did the same thing last year and it was a great time, and the kids are young enough that they likely don’t feel like they’re missing out on their very own birthday party – and it is SOOO much less work for all of us parents!! I’m not sure how long we’ll be able to get away with it, but I’m loving it.
In preparation for all the cupcake and icing “testing” I will be subjected to, I made a giant kale salad. This salad. It contains many of my favourite salad fillings, like quinoa, crunchy chickpeas, and olives. OH the olives. I must confess my love of olives. I have always enjoyed those salty little fruits (yes, they’re fruits) but my obsession and downright craving for them really started during my second pregnancy. I would walk to a grocery store on my lunch break just to buy a container of olives and sit there and eat them all. It’s a wonder my blood pressure wasn’t through the roof from all the sodium!! Well, I delivered a bouncing baby boy, and I am still on the olive train – I just restrain myself a little more than I did back when I, you know, DESERVED it.
Have you roasted chickpeas before? You might have seen them in the snack aisle in cute little packages, but did you know you can make your own with very little effort? I probably do it once a week, to have as a healthy snack and to throw into salads and other dishes. From rinse, to roast, to season, it’s about 30-35 minutes, with 90% of that time involving the oven. For this recipe you’re going to roast some corn kernels along with the chickpeas.
Along with the salty chickpeas, corn, and olives, I’ve thrown in some salty feta. To counteract all this salt we’ve got sweet carrots, cherry tomatoes, and a zippy little maple-lemon vinaigrette.
I’ve been wanting to publish this salad dressing forever! It’s been a great discovery slash invention this year – the pure maple syrup provides just the right amount of sweetness along with the lemon tang, and a touch of Dijon mustard and chili powder give it some kick. So good.
My all-time favourite thing to throw into a salad is quinoa. It turns a simple salad into a meal, packing a big protein punch and providing you with a bit more substance in your salad. Add the chickpeas – you’ve got yourself a perfect meatless Monday meal for the summer.
I ate this salad for a week straight, and I never got sick of it. Make a big batch and take it along to work for a filling and healthy lunch, or serve it on the side with your next dinner from the grill.
Roasted corn and chickpeas tossed into fresh kale and lightly coated in a maple-lemon vinaigrette.
- 1 cup chickpeas
- 1/2 cup corn kernels (either from a can or frozen and thawed)
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 bunch kale, ribs removed
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
- 1 carrot, shredded
- 3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- cherry tomatoes (as many as you’d like)
- green olives (as many as you’d like)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/8 tsp chili powder
- salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Rinse and drain 1 can of chickpeas, then measure out 1 cup and pat dry. Spread them onto the baking sheet, drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil over the chickpeas and rub them with your hands to coat. Sprinkle with salt, then place into the oven for 15 minutes.
- While the chickpeas are cooking, place the corn in a small bowl. Regardless of whether you use corn that was previously frozen or canned corn, be sure to drain all of the liquid out. Add the remaining olive oil and stir to coat the corn. After 15 minutes, remove the chickpeas, add the corn to the pan and return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes, or until the corn and chickpeas are crunchy. Remove from the oven, and add the paprika and cumin, shaking the pan to coat evenly.
- Chop the kale into small pieces, and place into a large salad bowl. Using your hands, “massage” the kale for a few minutes, or until it has softened and turned into a brighter shade of green.
- Add to the bowl the chickpeas and corn, the cooled quinoa, shredded carrot, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes and olives.
- Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking together the lemon juice, maple syrup, olive oil, Dijon mustard, and chili powder. Taste the dressing, and add a pinch of salt if desired. Coat the salad with the dressing, tossing thoroughly. Allow the salad to sit for about 10 minutes (or longer) for the flavours to marinate before serving.
Salad will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge, and tastes even better the next day!!
Pin this summer salad for your next gathering!
Want more kale salad in your life?
Tools used in today’s recipe