This delicious Roasted Date and Crispy Chickpea Salad is the perfect lunch for healthy foodies who are blatantly uninterested in salads (like me!). It’s made with perfectly caramelized dates, chopped pistachios, and the best orange tahini salad dressing that is so flavorful, you’ll be licking your plate clean! I’ll be making this chickpea salad all summer long because it’s loaded with plant based protein, fiber, and healthy fats for an easy, healthy weekday lunch. I think this elevated salad would also be a crowd-pleaser at your next summer get-together!
Oh, and did I mention that this high protein salad is the perfect recipe for weight loss, hormone balance, and constipation? Salad dreams do come true, and as always, I give you more details on the science-backed health benefits below.
This salad is for the salad haters, including myself. First off, I find most salads really uninspiring. What’s the point of eating a salad if I need to cover it in cheese and dressing to make it enjoyable? Unless the salad is to die for (which this one is), I just eat my vegetables in different forms, like a green smoothie or a vegan Cookie Dough Milkshake with hidden veggies! What can I say, it takes a lot to woo me in salad land. But, I’m happy to announce, THIS salad does it for me. It’s very loosely inspired by the Date and Tahini Salad I had at a fancy plant-based restaurant in Brooklyn, Sofreh, on my recent trip to NYC. I went out to eat with one of my fellow food blogger friends, Justine from Justine Snacks, who you might remember from the Ben & Jerry’s copycat recipe challenge we did during quarantine! We were literally mid-bite when I turned to Justine and said, “I MUST make a recipe like this.”
The crunch of the pistachios. The perfectly crispy chickpeas. The caramel-y sweetness of the Medjool dates. The fresh burst of citrus. Everything you could want in a salad is right here. At the restaurant, the salad serves only as a delicious appetizer. But this vegetarian salad with protein you’re about to make is made absolutely meal-worthy with the addition of protein-and-fiber-rich chickpeas and a tangle of fresh herbs, like mint and cilantro.
What makes this date, tahini, and chickpea salad healthy?
In this delicious, high protein salad, I incoroprated ingredients to make this your new go-to recipe for weight loss, hormone balance, and constipation and bloating. Four problems I’d definitely want to solve in one swoop, or dare I say, one salad. If you’re dealing with constipation, you MUST listen to my recent podcast episode where Dr. Bulsiewicz, an award-winning and internationally recognized gastroenterologist, reveals the surprising hidden causes of constipation and bloating that NO ONE is talking about. I was so surprised.
Plus, on this episode about blood sugar on the Healthier Together Podcast, resesarcher Jesse Inchauspe tells us how eating balanced meals with protein, fiber, and fat will help all four of these health factors. Adding roasted chickpeas to your meals is one of the easiest ways to sneak in all those health benefits because it’s high in protein and fiber. And if you’re looking to play around with adding them to other plant based recipes, I have an easy guide for roasting chickpeas three ways here.
Here’s exactly how this salad will boost your health:
- Weight loss: tahini and pistachios are both proven to help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight! Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds, which like pistachios, are filled with fiber and plant based protein that will help keep you fuller longer. Chickpeas are also shown to be one of the top fat-burning foods that help you lose weight.
- Hormone balance: the sesame seeds and tahini also are shown in research to regulate sex hormones. They also are super rich in vitamins and antioxidants which balance out hormone levels and give a bountiful supply of nutrients, making them a wonderful meal for the pregnancy diet.
- Constipation and bloating: dates and oranges are both well-researched for their constipation-relief attributes because they’re one of the foods with highest soluble fiber. Meanwhile, chickpeas are studied for their ability to boost digestion and relieve IBS symptoms and constipation.
Everything you’ll need to make this date tahini salad
This Roasted Date and Crispy Chickpea Salad ~requires~ the zesty orange tahini dressing. So, don’t skip it or swap it. It’s packed with the health benefits above, AND it’s unbelievably delicious.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this healthy summer lunch idea:
- For the zest orange tahini dressing: you’ll need tahini, an orange, garlic cloves, apple cider vinegar, honey, fine grain sea salt, and smoked paprika
- For the sticky sweet chickpeas: grab a can of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), pistachios, Medjool dates, sesame seeds, olive oil, fine grain sea salt, and the zest from the orange you’ll use in the dressing
- For the salad base: assemble this salad with lettuce or little gem halves and fresh-torn herbs like mint and cilantro
Hot tips for making chickpea salad
This salad recipe actually uses my favorite healthy salad tricks that makes me fall in love with every bite AND impress dinner guests.
- You can use this tip for every salad recipe: swap about half the lettuce or greens for fresh herbs, like mint, cilantro, basil, whatever you think compliments the flavor of the salad you’re working with. It makes any salad feel SO elevated, brings in a TON of health benefits, and tastes way better than bland, leafy greens.
- Save the aquafaba (the liquid inside the can of chickpeas) and make my delicious Creamy Strawberry Aphrodesiac Mocktail with it! The aquafaba makes the perfectly foamy top that you’d typically get from egg whites at a fancy cocktail bar. Oh, and feel free to add a shot of vodka or gin if that’s your vibe!
Make it ahead of time
Much like me getting ready for a night out, this salad loves being unassembled until the very last minute. Basically, feel free to make this chickpea salad ahead of time for a healthy work lunch idea for meal prep, but keep the chickpea-date mix and the tahini dressing stored separately from the lettuce and herbs until you’re ready to eat. I recommending storing the chickpea-date mix in a tightly sealed container at room temperature, the dressing in a mason jar with a lid in the refrigerator, and the lettuce and herbs in a sealed container in the fridge. It’ll stay fresh for up to 3 days!
And if you’re planning on making this protein salad for meal prep, the recipe below will yield four side salads or two meal-sized salads!
Watch the recipe video!
More vegetarian salads with protein to try
I hope you love this Roasted Date and Crispy Chickpea Salad with Zesty Tahini Dressing! Enjoy, and tag me if you make it on Instagram (@lizmoody)—I can’t wait to see!Print
Makes 4 side salads or 2 meal-sized salads
For the crispy chickpea topping:
- 1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
- 3 pitted and chopped Medjool dates
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
For the orange tahini dressing:
- 1/2 cup tahini
- Juice of 1 orange
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2–3 cups of lettuce or little gem halves
- 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, torn
- 1/4 cup of fresh mint, torn
- Pre-heat the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the chickpeas on the baking sheet with nothing on them and bake for 25 minutes or until browning at the edges. Then, remove them from the oven.
- Add the pistachios, dates, sesame seeds, olive oil, orange zest, and salt to the chickpeas. Toss to combine until evenly coated. Bake for 2-3 more minutes in the oven or until the sesame seeds are golden.
- Make the orange tahini dressing by combining all of the dressing ingredients in a blender until homogeneous. If you don’t have a blender, just mince the garlic and then whisk it together in a bowl with all other dressing ingredients.
- Assemble your salads by first placing the lettuce or little gem halves, then the fresh herbs, then the dressing, and lastly the date and chickpea mixture. Serve and enjoy!