This salad, my friends, is grubbin’. Do kids these days still use the word “grubbin’?” Ughhh. Somewhere along the way, I am realizing, I got old. I come from a long-ago, totally tubular time, when words like “radical” and “gnarly” were thrown about like, say, chickpeas on a totally grubbin’ Buffalo Chickpea Salad.
Anyway, when I use the word “grubbin’,” it’s usually when I’m snarfing down something that is so seriously nosh-worthy that all I can think about is “dang, this is GRUBBIN'”
Okay, I’ll stop saying it. Except, my point is, that word seriously ping-pongs around my head each and every time I eat this Buffalo Chickpea Salad.
I’ve been dreaming about this recipe concept for awhile. At first, I roasted the chickpeas and then stirred in the buffalo sauce, but it felt a little too overly laborious (and when you’re hangry, roasting takes way too long). Then I discovered these buffalo chickpea wraps and saw how a quick saute made for spicy-hot sauced chickpeas in a fraction of the time. Duh! That made this salad even easier to whip up, and the the chickpeas this way add more sauce and sass to the whole endeavor.
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This salad is SPICY. But then you also have the icy cucumbers and that cool tahini-based ranch. And one sort of tries to counteract the other, but ultimately, the heat wins out. No worries; just have a few more sips of beer, because it’s perfect with this thing. Then the burn will be gone before you know it and only the “WHEN will I get to have that again?!!” feelings will remain.
‘Cuz it’s, well, grubbin’.
Vegan Buffalo Chickpea Salad with Cool Tahini Ranch
Cool Tahini Ranch:
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 3-4 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper + more to taste
Spicy Buffalo Chickpeas:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
- 1/4 cup red hot buffalo sauce (divided)
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 small clove garlic (minced)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 5 cups shredded romaine (or a combo of romaine and red leaf lettuce, as pictured)
- 1 batch Spicy Buffalo Chickpeas
- 1 celery stalk (diced (about 1/2 cup))
- 1/2 medium cucumber (peeled and diced (about 1 cup))
- 1 medium ripe avocado (peeled and sliced)
- 1/2 small red onion (sliced into half-rounds (soak in a bowl of ice water for 10 minutes if you prefer to reduce the bite))
- 1 batch Cool Tahini Ranch
- Make the dressing. Add all dressing ingredients to the bowl of a small food processor or blender. Puree until blended, adding additional almond milk if needed to thin it. Set aside.
- Cook the chickpeas. Set a medium saute pan over medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil. Add the chickpeas, 2 tablespoons of the buffalo sauce, garlic or garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, until warmed through and golden brown in places, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in additional 2 tablespoons buffalo sauce. Set aside.
- Assemble the salad. In a large salad bowl or on individual plates (your choice), arrange a bed of lettuce. Scoop the warm chickpeas over the top. Arrange celery, cucumber, avocado, and onion over each. Drizzle generously with dressing. Serve immediately.