Chopped Kale and Chickpea Salad with Tamarind Vinaigrette is a sturdy, nutritious salad that packs well for lunch/picnic! It is naturally vegan, gluten-free, and allergy friendly as well.
Lately, I have been revisiting my archives frequently for meal planning - tweaking recipes here and there. It's been fun cooking things I once made and almost forgot about. It's a nostalgic feeling to scroll down the pictures, re-read my recipe writing process, and think about that point of time in my life. Today, I am revisiting the same chopped kale and chickpea salad I shared 2 years ago except that this time I made a tamarind vinaigrette to go with it.
A simple vinaigrette is just fine but I stepped up a notch with tangy tamarind vinaigrette for a change. It's a pretty sturdy salad that will hold up well for a couple of days, great for lunch/picnic, and you can easily customize it based on what you have in the fridge. Not a big fan of particular label, however Chopped Kale and Chickpea Salad with Tamarind Vinaigrette is naturally gluten-free/vegan/allergy-friendly but most importantly it is nutritious, delicious, and easy to assemble.
Kale - a nutrient dense, green leafy vegetable belongs to the same family as cabbage, cauliflower, and collards. It's received all sort of well-deserved attention as it is an excellent source of vitamins like A, C, K, folate and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and zinc. Not to mention fiber (5 grams per cup), small amount of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and plenty of antioxidants.
At the store you may have seen different varieties of kale - curly, lacinto (or dinosaur), red Russian, or baby kale. They all have different taste and purpose when it comes to cooking. For example - curly kale which I am using here tends to be bitter (so pick young curly kale leaves) while baby kale is better suited for smoothies (or salad if eaten shortly) because the leaves are tender. Lacinto kale can be used cooked or raw salads, soups, and as kale chips.
Are you guys sick of chickpeas yet? Well, I never get sick of it, but if chickpeas are not your thing, cannelini beans or butter beans will work here just fine.
Chopped Kale and Chickpea Salad with Tamarind Vinaigrette is a blank slate; you can pick and choose what you love. Take advantage of sweet tomatoes while they are in season while onion gives a nice crunch (I would use it sparingly if you are packing it for lunch for obvs reasons). Chopped cucumbers, bell peppers, and radishes work great here as they keep fresh and crunchy in the jar. Once you settle on your toppings, let's talk about the tamarind vinaigrette. T
Tamarind is not a common household ingredient unless you grew up in a South Asian household. Tamarind is a tree, often found in tropical climates that produces pod-like fruit - a legume. Inside the pods are a few large seeds and a sticky, tart pulp, which becomes even tarter after the pods are dried. It is used widely in Indian cuisine to make all things chutneys, daal, to desserts.
You can purchase tamarind in the form of paste, pulp, or a whole pod at the Indian or International grocery store. I usually get the seedless pulp but I have heard great things about the tamarind paste concentrate (tamicon brand).
Chopped Kale and Chickpea Salad with Tamarind Vinaigrette
Author:Dixya @Food, Pleasure, and Health
4 cups chopped kale, ribs removed (I used curly kind but lacinto will work too)
- 1.5 cups garbanzo beans, cooked (you can use the canned variety)
- 12-15 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- ¼ onion, thinly sliced
- For the tamarind vinaigrette:
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup tamarind water (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon sweetener (honey or maple syrup to keep it vegan)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- salt, pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, add chopped kale, chickpeas, tomatoes, and onion and give it a nice stir.
- In a small bowl, whisk olive oil, tamarind water, sweetener, garlic cloves, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Generously pour it over the kale mix and massage it well. Let it sit in the refrigerator for half an hour or so right before serving. This allows kale to soften a little bit.
- For tamarind water: I used generous 2 tablespoon of tamarind pulp + ¼ cup warm water and let it soak for 15 minutes. Then strained the tamarind pulp and only used the tangy tamarind water.
- Depending upon what type of tamarind you use, you may have to adjust accordingly.