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Baby Kale Salad with Lemon, Parmesan & Crispy Roasted Chickpeas

5 stars based on 26 votes

Kale, a.k.a. the “queen of greens,” is one of the healthiest things you can eat, but it doesn’t always taste great raw. In fact, I once read an article that likened the experience of eating raw kale as feeling like your mouth was being battered by a giant tree. But a good kale salad, prepared properly with the right mix of ingredients, can be a revelation. This version — made with tender baby kale, crispy roasted chickpeas (love!), nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano and a zingy lemon vinaigrette — is just that. It makes a satisfying and healthy lunch all on its own, or a perfect side to jazz up a simple rotisserie chicken for dinner.


Before we get to the recipe, let’s talk about the two main types of kale. The first is Curly Kale, the kind you see in most supermarkets, which is dark green with tight ruffled leaves. It has a pungent, peppery flavor and is quite chewy, making it better for cooking (especially kale chips). The second is Lacinato Kale (also called Dinosaur kale or Tuscan kale), which is typically a dark blueish-green color with long, narrow leaves. It’s slightly sweeter and more delicate than curly kale, which makes it better suited for salads.

To serve kale raw in a salad, you have to remove all the thick ribs running through the leaves, chop the leaves finely and then let them marinate in the dressing so they soften up.


For this recipe, I decided to forgo all that and use tender baby kale instead. It has a milder flavor than mature kale, similar to arugula, yet its leaves are still peppery and sturdy enough to stand up to bolder flavors. It comes pre-washed and ready to serve, so even though you might have to make a trip to Whole Foods to find it, it will save you time and effort in the end.


Begin by rinsing and draining the chickpeas.


Toss the chickpeas with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for about 10 minutes, until the chickpeas are slightly browned and crisp.


Meanwhile, make the dressing by combining the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl.


Toss the kale with the dressing.


Use a vegetable peeler to shave the Parmigiano-Reggiano.


Transfer the kale to plates and top with roasted chickpeas and shaved Parmesan.


Note: If you can’t find baby kale, feel free to substitute any other deep green blend, arugula or Lacinato kale (you’ll just have to chop the leaves and let it marinate a bit).

Baby Kale Salad with Lemon, Parmesan & Crispy Roasted Chickpeas

Servings: 2-4
Total Time: 20 Minutes


For the Roasted Chickpeas

  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 5oz Bag or Container Baby Kale or Kale/Dark Greens Mix
  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmigiano-Regianno


  1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Place the chickpeas on the prepared baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 10-12 minutes, stirring once, until the chickpeas are slightly shrunken and crispy. Let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Add the greens and toss until evenly coated. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary (I usually add a bit more salt). Arrange on plates and top with Parmigiano-Regianno shavings and crispy roasted chickpeas.
  4. Note: If you can't find baby kale, feel free to substitute any other deep green blend, arugula or Lacinato kale (you'll just have to chop the leaves and let it marinate a bit).

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 342
  • Fat: 20g
  • Saturated fat: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 29g
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Fiber: 8g
  • Protein: 14g
  • Sodium: 940mg
  • Cholesterol: 10mg

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    This was delicious. I shouldn’t be surprised because all your recipes are but I was. I told my husband it was kale halfway through, he had no idea. Thank you Jen!

    - Stacy on July 4, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I went to a farmer’s market and bought a bag of baby kale — at least that was what I thought. Coming home, I figured they were bigger than baby kale and bitter! I pan fried the kale with a bit of minced garlic and made a warm salad — so yummy!

    - wisco gal on June 17, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Simple and very good. Our family enjoyed it and I have already served it when friends came to visit. My only change was to add a little extra lemon juice. A great new recipe to add more kale into our diet.

    - Nancy on May 22, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    A very yummy recipe. I used curly kale – left to marinade for about 20min in the sauce of oil and lemon juice. Tasted even better the next day! Used feta instead of parmesan-worked well.

    - Sanjo Rose on April 27, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is by far my most favorite and the simplest salad ever!! This salad made me start eating kale more frequently and the roasted chickpeas or “channa” as I know it, are heavenly! I normally make a batch of salad dressing with lemon, olive oil, garlic, rice wine vinegar, salt, pepper and Parmesan and keep in the fridge. My family eats this almost every night!!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!

    - Jacks on March 11, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I had a play date today with a few friends and I made this salad for lunch. The ladies raved about it. They loved how simple and delicious it was.

    - Janelle Diaz on March 2, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This recipe is simple and delicious! It’s a simple salad with a few ingredients that is satisfying and delicious. This a go to recipe for me. Thank you!

    - Alex on March 2, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Love this salad. Who knew chick peas were so tasty. I love your website, tips, instructions and pictures. I look forward to your recipes everyday on Instagram. Keep’m coming!

    - Jacky D on March 2, 2017 Reply
  • This is so quick to put together and the Flavor combination is awesome, love this salad !

    - Maria morelli on February 14, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Absolutely love this salad! I love it so much, I actually crave it if I haven’t made it for awhile. I’ve made it many times. Husband loves too! Great as a main dish or a side salad. Always a huge hit! The roasted chickpeas complete the salad!

    - Katie on January 23, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I tried this kale salad out with my kids who HATE kale, but love caesar salad. This was a huge hit and I have made it four times over the summer. Thanks for helping the kids to eat raw kale!!

    - MAM on October 17, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this salad to go with steak and baked potatoes and we loved it. Very different from a regular lettuce salad, simple to make dressing and the roasted chick peas were excellent together. I will definitely make this again.

    - Paula on February 22, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This salad was outstanding! I used a combination pkg of baby kale and baby spinach (that’s what was available). Followed recipe to a tee and wouldn’t change a thing. Your recipes never disappoint!

    - Beth on January 25, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is one of our favorites and is simple as can be. I make it with toasted pine nuts instead of the roasted chick peas since that’s a bit quicker on a weeknight.

    - Ann on December 15, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    this salad is absolutely delicious. the chick peas are now a requested after school snack. the dressing is clean and flavorful. i made ellie kreiger’s cumin chicken and thinly sliced it as a topper for this as an entree.

    - MLM on October 29, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I simply love this recipe. Sometimes I just roast the chickpeas and toss with the dressing as a snack. We are now planting cool weather greens in my NC mountain garden. I am going to try growing Dinosaur Kale because it looks pretty but I want to grow greens that are easy to cook with (I don’t have alot of time with work and a teenager). I am not a fan of the tough curly leaf kale. Can you recommend kale or other greens seeds? I am also plantig heirloom creasy greens and Florida broad leaf mustard greens.

    - Cathy on August 31, 2015 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I do love Kale; I already loved Kale – but these Chickpeas are so incredible that they are great in other non-slad contexts; like with a Martini.

    - Margot C on May 13, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Loved this salad! I made extra chickpeas because they made a great snack on their own. Yum! Simple, easy and delish!

    - Linda Mildwurf on March 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is by far our absolute favorite salad recipe of all time! It is simple and the tastes combine amazingly well. How can something so nutritious taste so fabulous? My husband asks me to make this at least a few times a week. Thank you for a wonderful recipe.

    - Sheila Smith on March 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I was searching for a Kale Salad recipe and came upon your website/blog. I have never made a kale salad before but I bought a bunch because it looked so fresh! I had to try make something with it. I’ve had kale salad before and I quite enjoyed it but my family did not. So I knew I needed to try something different from their version of kale. I didn’t buy the tender baby kale you suggested but, as I had read, I could chop this typically tough variety. So I did. I left the chickpeas out this time to hook my family into trying kale again; I will definitely try it next time. And i added one more ingredient to the dressing to let it really grab onto the kale…I added a heaping teaspoon of Mayo. It turned out amazing!! The kids and my husband even had 2nd helpings!! Will definitely do this again!! Thank you!!
    Sasha C.

    - Sasha on February 4, 2015 Reply
    • Oh, and I let this sit on counter for an hour to let it all soak in. Yummy!!

      - Sasha on February 4, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this tonight and my husband and I think if there’s such a thing as a perfect salad, this is it. It’s simple, clean, interesting, surprising, and so tasty! The crispy chickpeas and shaved Parmesan Reggiano add great texture and taste. I usually don’t care for dressing mixed into the salad since I like a very lightly dressed salad. But this one is so delicious I’m glad to make an exception. I liked this salad so well I ate it for a first course AND dessert!

    - Jane W on January 7, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this amazing salad for a family get together celebrating my daughters 2nd birthday. I couldn’t find baby kale where I was shopping, but I got a superfood greens mix, so it was similar. I love the roasted chickpeas and the simple dressing.

    - Yana Mazur on December 17, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn,
    I loved this recipe!! Served it at Thanksgiving …for a family of 20 and it was gone! I quadrupled the recipe except for the garbanzo beans and cheese which were just doubled. Added about a pound of thin sliced Brussel sprouts and for display, added a cup of pomegranate seeds!
    Very light and was a great choice for such a heavy dinner. Healthy too! Will make again for Christmas Eve dinner!

    - Marty on December 3, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Marty, These are great ideas; bet it was beautiful with the pomegranate seeds. Thank you!

      - Jenn on December 3, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I LOVE this salad! I have made it at least 6 times. I never get tired of it.

    - Margaret Hannigan on August 8, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Is there some way of keeping the roasted chickpeas for a day? I re-roasted them but they were not great.

    - Margaret on July 27, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Margaret, Unfortunately, roasted chickpeas are really best served immediately. Sorry!

      - Jenn on July 28, 2014 Reply
    • I froze the leftover chickpeas after roasting and although quite as good, still not bad.

      - JoAnn Snader on October 23, 2014 Reply
    • I have refrigerated left over chickpeas and then when I am ready to use them, I toss them in a small pan over med-hi heat for a few minutes.

      - MLM on March 19, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I’ve personally never been a huge fan of kale because it can get bitter fast, but decided to plant some in my garden and pledged to harvest it early since it’s so good for you. I also have never been able to eat kale raw except when blended into a fruity smoothie, but was determined to find a way to eat it in salad form. This recipe was the first recipe that popped up in my google search and boy am I glad I tried it. My husband and I both love love LOVE this recipe. We honestly eat it a couple times a week, and it has become the go-to salad of choice to serve to guests. We’ve had some people turn their nose up at kale, but every single one has been converted once they tried it. It’s THAT delicious.

    I generally make it exactly as written, but tend to eye the S&P. Definitely do not skimp on these, I made it last night and was a little light, and it definitely made a difference.

    - Casey on July 17, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was the 2nd recipe I tried on your site. I was intrigued by the roasted chickpeas. The simplicity of the recipe and the nutritional value of the ingredients used makes this another winner. I’ve done this recipe 3x already and have shared this recipe with a co-coworker. When I roasted the chickpeas the 2nd time, I tried it with grated lemon rind and it even made it better. This is a keeper.

    - Eileen on July 9, 2014 Reply
  • Made this yesterday for a Memorial Day cookout – it was delicious and easy to make! Overall, this is a great salad and everyone liked it.

    - Jill on May 27, 2014 Reply
  • Healthy and really yummy. My teenage daughters and friends love it too.

    - Annie on May 10, 2014 Reply
  • This salad is delicious! I will definitely make it again. Thank you for all the tips through out your recipes.This is a great website. Thanks for sharing!

    - Debbie Page on March 18, 2014 Reply
    • Thanks, Debbie. So glad you enjoyed!

      - Jenn on March 20, 2014 Reply
  • Simple salad that tasted great! As with everyone else, I had to hold back on eating all the roasted chick peas before assembling the salad. Everyone loved it.. Even my 3 and 5 year olds ate theirs 🙂

    - Carleen on February 6, 2014 Reply
  • What a great salad! Our 7 year old even asked for seconds. Thanks so much!

    - Sarah on January 22, 2014 Reply
  • YUM! Who knew roasted chickpeas were so delicious? I’m eating them straight as I wait for the hubs to get home for dinner. They may all be gone before it’s time to eat the salad. Thanks!

    - Sarah on January 15, 2014 Reply
  • Made this for dinner tonight with the organic power greens salad mix. I loved it. Light and healthy. My husband isn’t a big kale or chard fan so I’ll have to try it again with arugula an spinach for his taste.

    - Danita on January 10, 2014 Reply
  • Made this tonight along with the English muffin pizzas. Wanted to make something quick after dealing with the Xmas shopping rush. The salad was good. Even ate the roasted chickpeas alone while I waited for the pizzas. Thanks for the recipe.

    - Melinda on December 5, 2013 Reply
  • Know this will be very good thx

    - Suzan on December 5, 2013 Reply
  • I recently had a very similar kale salad, which I LOVED!! It, additionally, had red pepper flakes in the dressing. Gave it a little kick. YUM.

    - Debbie Hudson on December 5, 2013 Reply
  • Thanks for the recipe! This is very similar to a recipe on Food52 the only difference being the call for roasted butternut squash and diced cheddar cheese. I will definitely be making this!! Love your site and recipes!

    - Erin McNamara on December 5, 2013 Reply

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