To be honest, I just wanted an excuse to make roasted spiced chickpeas. I’ve been seeing them everywhere in the supermarkets – all of a sudden, someone must have declared that crispy chickpeas are all the rage.
Let me tell you, I get it.
There’s something about a spicy, crunchy chickpea that’s inexplicably fascinating.
Before we get to this vegan caesar dressing, let’s talk about sweet potatoes. Sweet potato noodles aren’t just for pastas and noodle buns. These noodles can be used as a side dish, in a breakfast scramble or to simply fill out a salad, like with today’s recipe. Sweet potato noodles fill you up, they’re loaded with beneficial nutrients like Vitamin C. Plus, their inherent sweetness adds such depth of flavor.
The sweet potato noodles with the spicy chickpeas bring protein and texture to this salad and what better dressing than a vegan caesar to top off the fluffy, tough kale? I’ve been seeing vegan caesar dressing recipes all over the ‘net using avocado or cashews. I sprung for the cashews. The trick is to pre-soak the cashews so that they soften and are easier to blend (especially if you don’t have access to a quality, high-speed blender.)
I actually used my Nutri-Bullet to make this dressing and it worked like a charm! I soaked the cashews for 2 hours (you can soak them overnight for easier blending) – just placed them right in a bowl of water when I woke up and made my coffee.
This caesar dressing has the consistency of a traditional caesar dressing, without the thick mayonnaise aftertaste or the anchovies. If you’re not vegan and just dairy-free, you can add a little less than a teaspoon of minced anchovy filets for that classic caesar taste.
Also, if you’re not vegan, you can add some grilled chicken for extra protein and flavor. I love this salad as is – the warmth of the kale and sweet potato noodles is an idyllic combo for a crisp fall day.
I’ve just gotta get moving on that fall bucket list. I’m slacking! I feel like the weeks fly by (aren’t we all so busy?!) and then when the weekends come, I either have something to do or Lu has something to do or my friends have something to do, so I can’t ever tackle the bucket list.
Have you entered for your chance to win a copy of The Skinnytaste Cookbook? Thank you so much to Gina’s publisher (my same publisher – Clarkson Potter!!) for offering this giveaway to Inspiralized readers. To enter, use the widget below – giveaway ends Sunday, October 5. Good luck!
Nutritional Information & Recipe
- For the salad:
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled, Blade C
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 packed cups chopped kale
- For the dressing:
- 1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 large cloves garlic
- 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- salt and pepper, to taste
- For the chickpeas:
- 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed, patted dry
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- salt, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper and salt and whisk together. Add in the chickpeas, toss to coat, and then drizzle with the olive oil. Toss again to mix. Place the chickpeas out evenly over a parchment-paper lined baking sheet and bake 30-35 minutes or until crisp, shaking the pan half way through.
- Twenty minutes into baking the chickpeas, place a large skillet over medium heat and add in the olive oil. Once oil heats, add in the sweet potato noodles and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cover and cook, uncovering occasionally to toss, for 5-7 minutes or until sweet potato noodles are cooked through. Set aside in a large bowl when done.
- While the sweet potato noodles cook, place all of the ingredients for the dressing into a high speed blender and pulse until creamy. Taste and adjust (more tang? more lemon! more spice? more pepper! more flavor? more dijon!) Set aside.
- When sweet potato noodles are done, wipe the skillet clean. Coat with cooking spray and add in the kale. Sautee for 3 minutes or until the kale is warmed up and slightly wilted, seasoning lightly with pepper and add to the large bowl with the sweet potato noodles.
- When the chickpeas are done roasting, prepare the salad. Pour the Caesar dressing over the kale and sweet potato noodles and toss to combine thoroughly. Portion onto four plates and top with spiced chickpeas. Serve immediately.