Do you think that salad is boring? Well, how about adding some crunch and extra flavor? Today I’m bringing you a very special and delicious pear salad recipe that has two creative tweaks – crispy chickpea croutons and lemon-mustard vinaigrette dressing. It’s fresh, healthy and filling at the same time!
With spring just around the corner, our bodies usually start to crave more fresh greens that are filled with vitamins, minerals and everything else good for your body. During the cold months, my main craving was warming and spicy vegan curries. But just recently I noticed that fresh, dark green is the color that my eyes are constantly searching for in the grocery store.
Apart from introducing a couple of green superfoods like wheatgrass and spirulina in my diet, I go heavy on leafy green vegetables like arugula, spinach, and kale. But plain greens don’t sound that fun. That’s why I wanted to create an awesome and versatile salad that could be super healthy and satisfying – all in one!
The base for this pear salad is spinach. Pear adds a touch of sweetness and together with the cranberries and lemon-mustard vinaigrette dressing, it creates a wonderful flavor contrast. The creamy avocado balances things out and adds richness, but walnuts and chickpea croutons add a delicious and crisp ending.
And a quick idea – these chickpea croutons are so incredibly crisp that you could make a double batch to have some left for snacking! The secret behind getting perfectly crisp oven-baked chickpeas is to rub them dry before putting into the oven. That’s a big game changer so don’t skip that step!
I guess it’s pretty useless to go into the health benefits of this recipe as all the ingredients are wholesome and good for you. Every single bite is nourishing for your body. 🙂 So, let’s head to the recipe!
Pear Salad With Crispy Chickpea Croutons And Lemon-Mustard Vinaigrette
Makes 4 servings
For the salad:
- 70g fresh spinach
- 1 small pear (or a half of a big pear)
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts
- 2 tbsp. dried cranberries
- 1/4 of a small red onion, thinly sliced
For the chickpea croutons:
- 1 cup of cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- a big pinch of sea salt & black pepper
For the lemon-mustard vinaigrette dressing:
- 2 tbsp. cold-pressed olive oil (extra virgin)
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- a pinch of sea salt & black pepper (to taste)
- Let’s start with making the chickpea croutons. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F). Spread the chickpeas on a kitchen towel (or a paper towel) and gently rub them, until they’re dry (don’t skip this step as it’s very important to get the chickpeas super crisp!). Discard any loose skins.
- Put the chickpeas in a bowl, add olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Toss the chickpeas in the spices until they’re well coated. Then spread the chickpeas on a baking sheet lined with a baking paper. Roast the chickpeas in the oven until crisp and golden for about 30 minutes. When they’re done, let the chickpeas cool in the room temperature (they’ll crisp up even more).
- While the chickpeas are baking, prepare the lemon-mustard vinaigrette dressing. Mix all dressing’s ingredients in a small bowl until well combined.
- Now it’s time to set up the salad. Put the spinach in a large bowl. Quarter the pear and remove the core. Thinly slice the pear and put in on the spinach. Half the avocado, remove the seed and peel each half. Put in on a cutting board and make thin cuts. Fan out each half of avocado and put in on the salad (or just spread the slices on the salad). Thinly slice the red onion and add the salad. Sprinkle the salad with walnuts and cranberries.
- Finally, add the cooled chickpea croutons and drizzle the salad with the lemon-mustard vinaigrette.