Jazz up your make-ahead on-the-go lunch game with this Cranberry Pecan Chickpea Salad Sandwich with Healthy Kale Salad: 2 ways!
My salad game is pretty simple.
1. Grab some leafy greens (kale yeah!!!) and chop up all the colorful fruit and veggies from your crisper drawer…
2. Add a few tasty toppings like chopped nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and cheese…
3. Then toss it all together in a tangy homemade dressing!
The homemade dressing is KEY! This way you know every ingredient you’re putting into your salad and have zero worry of sketchy preservatives, additives, or sub-qualify oils (I’m looking at you soybean oil!) I’m a big fan of using avocado oil and extra virgin olive oil in my dressing recipes. Today I’ll be sharing the recipe for my go-to homemade balsamic dressing, which uses buttery avocado oil as it’s base. It’s a super healthy and very mild tasting oil that lets the balsamic flavor shine!
Ready for some tasty new recipes?
I’ll also be sharing the recipe for the most AMAZING Cranberry Pecan Chickpea Salad Sandwich (in both sandwich and salad form) and a duo of delicious massaged kale salads that are going to rock your make-ahead on-the-go lunch game. I’ll even throw in a few snack ideas too so be sure to check those out at the bottom of the post!
I’ve been following them on Instagram for a while now and love how in sync they are with my own passion for farm-fresh herbs and vegetables. It’s been a blast learning tips and tricks for prepping greens, drooling over their tasty recipes, and getting behind the scenes peeks of the farm.
Since my love for kale runneth over, I jumped at the opportunity to feature these sassy salad greens!
The Nature’s Greens® bagged greens are pre-washed, pre-chopped, and ready be transformed into something delicious. From salads and stir-frys to snacks and smoothies, the possibilities are literally endless. My local Publix carries their kale, cilantro, and parsley and I’ve been a long-time fan of their freshness.
Cranberry Pecan Chickpea Salad Sandwich and Healthy Kale Salad
This Cranberry Pecan Chickpea Salad Sandwich features a medley of plant-based goodies and can be made vegetarian or vegan depending on your choice of mayo. Serve it up with kale and red onion on fluffy bakery bread or atop a tender massaged kale salad for an on-the-go lunch that is sure to rock your socks!
Cranberry Pecan Chickpea Salad Sandwich
Yield 4 servings
FOR THE SALAD:
- 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained + rinsed
- 2 stalks green onion
- 2 stalks celery
- 3/4 cup chopped red grapes
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans (see notes)
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3-1/2 cup store bought or homemade mayonnaise (vegan or regular)
- 1-2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp yellow mustard
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp dried dill (or fresh, to taste)
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 2 TBSP unsalted roasted sunflower seeds
- optional extra: Feel free to add some minced red onion in the salad if you're a fan! You can replace some of the green onion with it or use it in place if preferred. If you'd rather serve it sliced on top of your sandwich, simply skip adding it to the chickpea mixture.
FOR THE SANDWICH:
- multi-grain sandwich bread
- Nature's Greens® Kale Greens
- thinly sliced red onion
- sandwich spread of your choice: mustard, mayo, hummus, etc...
OR SERVE IT ON A SALAD!
Grab a few handfuls of Nature's Greens Kale Greens and let's get our salad on! Add the kale to a large bowl and drizzle kale with a tsp or two of your favorite healthy oil and a pinch of salt. You can also add a squeeze of lemon juice if you'd like! Massage the kalewith your fingers until kale darkens in color and takes on a velvety texture. This little rub-down turns the curly kale leaves into a tender and silky salad green! Serve a jumbo scoop of cranberry pecan chickpea salad on top and drizzle with balsamic dressing before diving in!
- Drain and rinse your chickpeas and add them to a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher until texture appears flaked, almost like tuna salad. I use both a potato masher and follow up with a fork to make sure every chickpea is deliciously smashed. You could also use a food processor and skip the arm workout entirely - it's crazy easy!
- If you decide to toast your pecans (SWOON!) here's how to do it: Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spritz a baking sheet with cooking spray. Add pecans in a single layer and toast until they're aromatic, approx. 4-5 minutes.
- Chop your green onion, celery, grapes, and pecans.
- Add to the bowl with your chickpeas, then add mayo, dijon, yellow mustard, dill, salt, and pepper. Stir well to coat.
- Fold in sunflower seeds (as much or as little as you'd like) and adjust any ingredients to taste.
- Pile high on fluffy bread with kale, red onion, and sandwich spread of your choice, or serve a scoop or two atop a bed of tasty massaged kale with a side of balsamic dressing. You can even add a drizzle of balsamic glaze on top - it's AMAZING!
This makes a FABULOUS make-ahead dish for lunches during the week and is great on the go too. Pack a sandwich or salad for lunch/school or make it ahead to serve at a party or picnic.
The salad will be great for approx. 4 days in the refrigerator so make it for now, or for later!
See post below for bonus kale salad recipes and two tasty homemade salad dressings to serve with them!
where can I find those lunchboxes?!
The glass ones are made by IdealPrep and available in single packs and multi-packs on Amazon. I have one and already use it so much I want a 3-pk next!
are you team pee-KAHN or PEE-can?
No matter how you pronounce it, they rock in this recipe!
I mentioned above that you can roast/toast the pecans in the oven for extra nutty flavor and… OMG ROAST SOME NOW!
They take about 5 minutes and the flavor and fragrance boost alone is worth every second of their speedy toast time. I usually throw raw nuts into my salads (or trash them up in a skillet with some butter and sugar) and since trying roasted nuts in my chickpea salad, there is no going back! The salad is fantabulous both ways but if you can squirrel away 5 minutes while you chop all your veggies for the salad, doooooo it!
I absolutely adored the toasted nuts in this healthy Cranberry Pecan Chickpea Salad Sandwich. It’s so fun and flavorful, you’ll be like “Chicken salad who? Toss me some chickpeas!”
For our kale greens, you can go two delicious routes: GARDEN VEGGIE or GREEK.
Ok technically there are no less than five billion ways to make a kale salad but let’s start with two, shall we?
Kale is basically the ideal salad green for make ahead lunches. It stays fresh in the fridge for WAY longer than traditional leaf lettuce and is less prone to wilting. Whenever I want to portion out salads to take to work or school, kale is my go-to!
Grab a big bag of Nature’s Greens® kale greens and get ready to massage some kale!
Though the kale is already pre-chopped (SCORE!) I like to chop it even more for my salads. Teeny bites of kale mean you’ll get lots of kale, veggies, and dressing to fit on each forkful and I just love it so! Add the kale to a large bowl and drizzle kale with a tsp or two of your favorite healthy oil and a pinch of salt. You can also add a squeeze of lemon juice if you’d like! Massage the kalewith your fingers until kale darkens in color and takes on a velvety texture. This little rubdown turns the curly kale leaves into a tender and silky salad green!
For the garden veggie salad route, you don’t actually have to have a garden. Whatever vegetables you have handy from the farmer’s market or grocery store work great! You can add peppers carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, corn, radish, asparagus… basically all your favorite seasonal veggies!
HOMEMADE BALSAMIC DRESSING
- 1/4 cup avocado oil
- 3 TBSP balsamic vinegar, extra to taste
- 1 TBSP red wine vinegar
- 1 TBSP dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
- 1/2 tsp tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
Combine dressing ingredients in a mason jar and shake well. Feel free to adjust levels of balsamic and honey to taste. The above measurements are my dream combo! Enjoy right away or store in the fridge for later. For on-the-go salads, portion dressing in small containers with a lid and pop in your lunch box to dress the salad when you’re ready to eat! Recipe yields approx. 4 servings. No avocado oil? No problem! Grab your favorite type of olive oil or even grape seed oil to whip up this crazy easy dressing!
Related: Blueberry Balsamic Dressing
To make a gorgeous Greek salad, you’ll want to top your kale with your choice of the following: cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes, olives, and crumbled feta cheese. Banana peppers and pepperoncini peppers are also crazy tasty on a big Greek salad.
EASY GREEK DRESSING
- 3 TBSP quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 TBSP white wine or champagne vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, smashed + minced
- 1/2 tsp fresh or dried parsley
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp dijon mustard
- a pinch of salt and pepper
Add ingredients to a mason jar, seal, and shake until emulsified. Enjoy right away or store in the fridge for later. For on-the-go salads, portion dressing in small containers with a lid and pop in your lunch box to dress the salad when you’re ready to eat! Yields approx. 2-3 servings.
Related: Greek Yogurt Feta Dressing
DON’T FORGET TO PACK A SNACK!
Here are some of our favorite grab-and-go snacks to include with packed lunches:
- Fresh fruit
- Sliced carrots and celery with veggie dip
- Apples with peanut butter
- Pita chips with sliced veggies and hummus
- Cucumber slices with cilantro yogurt dip
- Pretzels with almond butter
- Cheese and crackers
If you get a chance to try this Cranberry Pecan Chickpea Salad Sandwich with Kale Salad, let me know! Leave some love in the comment form below or snap a pic and tag your photos with @peasandcrayons on Instagram so I can happy dance over your creation!
This is a sponsored post featuring WP Rawl’s Nature’s Greens® Salad Greens. I absolutely adore this veggie-loving company and can’t wait for you to fall in love with them too! Check them out on Instagram and Facebook and click here to find more tasty recipes on their website!