This spinach and chickpea salad is not just tasty and healthy, it's also very satisfying. Fresh baby spinach, tangy red onions, and refreshing cucumber are mixed with crispy roast chickpeas, crunchy pita croutons, and tossed in a creamy tahini dressing. This is a salad that can stand its own as a main dish as well as a side and is sure to keep hunger at bay.
You'll be happy to know that the spinach and chickpea salad comes together fairly quickly. It's true that roasting the chickpeas can take up to 30 minutes, but all the other preparation can be done in the meantime and your wholesome and flavourful salad will be ready before you know it.
🛒 What do I need to make this recipe?
- Chickpeas - this recipe has been tested with canned chickpeas. You can also use dried chickpeas, but first, you will need to soak them overnight and then boil them for at least 40 minutes.
- Pecans - you can swap these for walnuts or hazelnuts.
- Red onion - this has a more gentle flavour than white onion, but you can swap it for white onion if you need to.
- Pita bread - can be made into crispy croutons quickly when tossed in a frying pan on a high heat. Any type of flatbread will work well for this.
Tools & equipment:
- Roasting dish - choose one that is large enough to hold the chickpeas in a single layer.
- Medium frying pan- for toasting the pecan nuts and pita croutons
- Small jug or bowl - for mixing the dressing ingredients
- Salad bowl - for tossing all of the ingredients together
🧑🍳 How to make the Spinach and Chickpea Salad
1. Roast the chickpeas
Heat your oven to 200C or 400F. Wash the chickpeas, dry them thoroughly with a clean tea towel and season them with olive oil, salt, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. Then place them into a roasting dish in a single layer, put them on a high shelf in the oven and bake for 20-30 mins until the shells start to crisp up.
2. Make the dressing
Mix the tahini, olive oil, mustard, water, lemon juice, maple syrup/honey, garlic powder, and salt in a small jug or bowl and set aside.
3. Toast the pecans
Place a small frying pan on a medium to high heat and toast the pecans for a few minutes. When they begin to brown, remove them from the heat and set them aside.
4. Make the pita croutons
Place the pita breads in your toaster until they are lightly toasted and the cut them into 2cm or ¾ inch pieces. Place a frying pan on a high heat, add a touch of olive oil and then add the croutons and cook them in pan, for a few minutes turning regularly until they are brown and crispy.
5. Assemble the salad
Place the red onion, baby spinach, cucumber, roasted chickpeas, pita croutons into a salad bowl, pour on the dressing and toss everything together. Serve on plates or in bowls and top with the toasted pecans.
👍 Top tips for perfect Spinach and Chickpea Salad
- Dry the chickpeas - if you want crispy roast chickpeas you need to make sure you remove as much moisture from them as possible before you add the seasoning and bake. Make sure you dry them thoroughly with a clean tea towel after you wash them.
- Don't turn your back on the pecans - it only takes a few minutes to toast the pecans and they can go from done to burnt very quickly, so make sure you keep an eye on them.
- Toast the pita bread first - making the pita croutons is much quicker if you toast the pita bread in the toaster before tossing them in a hot frying pan.
This salad is best eaten fresh. The salad will keep for 2-3 days if you store the key ingredients separately. For maximum freshness store the cucumber, onion and spinach in the fridge separately from the dressing. The chickpeas and toasted pecans are best stored in the pantry in airtight containers. I recommend making the pita croutons fresh because they are so quick and easy to make. If you have some leftovers that you need to save they should be stored in the pantry in an airtight container.
There are two possible reasons. Firstly, the chickpeas may have been moist when you roasted them. You should make sure you dry them thoroughly before baking them in the oven. It could also be because you haven't baked them for long enough. It takes 20-30 minutes to roast the chickpeas. Make sure their shells have hardened before you remove them from the oven.
It's recommended because it removes the sodium. Rinsing chickpeas can wash away up to 50% of the sodium.
Other easy salad recipes
- Giant Couscous & Halloumi Salad
- Carrot, Cucumber & Mooli Salad
- Blue cheese, apple, grape and walnut salad
- Canned corn, black bean and avocado salad (with quinoa)