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Massaged Kale Chickpea Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

  • Author: Rachel Conners
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 2-4 servings 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: Healthy
  • Diet: Vegan


This Massaged Kale Chickpea Salad is my new favorite kale salad! Coated in a lemon vinaigrette with spiced roasted chickpeas and chopped pistachios, it’s perfect as a side salad or loaded up with your favorite protein and other add-ins for a main dish salad. Naturally vegan & gluten-free.



For the salad

  • 2 medium bunches lacinato kale, sometimes called dino kale; washed, destemmed, and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup roasted salted pistachios, finely chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced

For the chickpeas

  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, can be canned or cooked fresh, if using canned I’d just make the whole can and have extra to snack on
  • 2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper

For the lemon vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup lemon juice, plus the zest of one lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard or 1 tablespoon tahini
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast or parmesan
  • Salt & pepper, to taste


For the salad

  1. Add your rinsed and finely chopped kale to a salad bowl. Drizzle with about half of the dressing, and use your hands to massage the kale well for a few minutes. It should soften a lot, and when tasted, it shouldn’t be too fibrous or firm. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the salad – it will continue to soften from the salt and lemon juice in the dressing.
  2. Add the pistachios, diced avocado, and roasted chickpeas to the salad. Toss to combine and serve immediately. Garnish with parmesan (vegan or not depending on your dietary habits), if desired.
  3. Serve as is as a side salad or a main salad. You can also add your favorite protein to bulk it up further, or add roasted vegetables – I love adding roasted potatoes or roasted broccoli to this salad!

For the chickpeas

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Drain, rinse and dry off the chickpeas on a paper towel. Transfer to a baking sheet.
  2. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with the spices. Mix until coated, and then bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden and crispy.

For the lemon vinaigrette

  1. In a small bowl or jar, combine the lemon juice and zest, grated garlic, and tahini or dijon. Blend or whisk to emulsify.
  2. Slowly stream in the olive oil, whisking the whole time, to emulsify it into the lemon juice mixture. If using a jar, you can also just close the lid and shake well to emulsify. It should thicken slightly. Add the nutritional yeast or parmesan, salt & pepper, and any additional seasonings. Taste and adjust as needed before using.