Buffalo "Chicken" Salad with Homemade Ranch

Buffalo "Chicken" Salad with Homemade Ranch

I'm trying to eat vegetables during the holiday season. Even though I fully support holiday indulging, I can't keeping using the holidays to justify my poor diet choices. I know I'll be upset with myself once the season has ended and I have to start all over with my health goals.

One way I stay on top of my veggie intake is making homemade soups. When I feel bloated I make my Sweet Potato Ginger Soup for something extra quick and filling, but still good for my digestive system. If I have a little more time, I'll make my Cauliflower Turnip Cheddar Corn Soup for it's extra creamy, savory flavor but still low carb nutritional values.

If maintaining healthy goals and diet is a concern for you, too, then you'll love this recipe! It's indulgent but not overly. There's flavor, protein, and vegetables to fill you up and keep your taste buds satisfied. This recipe is dead simple and you can prep everything for a quick assembly while the chickpeas cook.

Sometimes salads can be boring and obnoxiously healthy - I'm talking about those ones with all the veggies and a vinegar based dressing... [eye roll]. Not this time! This is your classic buffalo chicken style salad using chickpeas instead of chicken, and it's just as good and healthier! You should never sacrifice health for flavor, or vice versa.

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The chickpea "chicken" is so simple you'll be surprised you never did this before. Toss one 15 oz. can of drained chickpeas with 1/3 cup of buffalo hot sauce, throw them in a 450 degree oven for 30 minutes and you've got a delicious protein in your meal! For additional protein, I like to add hemp hearts once I toss the salad. Did you know just one serving has 10 grams of protein

This recipe is perfect for lunch meal prepping. The whole recipe yields four meals that are nutritious and will keep for a full week after the original prep date. They're easy to portion and and bring to work.  

I love to make this salad for lunch because it's quick to assemble and a light option that still leaves me satiated without being stuffed. No one wants to feel stuffed and sit at a desk for four hours until the day ends - right? Sometimes I make extra of the buffalo chickpeas and eat them as a snack plain! They're so delicious, crunchy, and a good source of protein. 

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Ingredients

Makes 4 servings

  • 15 oz. can chickpea/garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup buffalo hot sauce (I used Frank's RedHot Buffalo Wing Sauce) 
  • 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • hot for food's Vegan Ranch or store bought (Daiya makes a pretty good one!)
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup shaved carrot
  • 1/4 diced celery
  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • optional: extra 1 tbsp buffalo hot sauce for serving
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Strain your canned chickpeas and rinse with water to help remove any excess water.
  2. Spread the chickpeas out on a layer of paper towels and pat dry with a separate layer of paper towels on top. With light pressure, roll your hands over the paper towel covered chickpeas like you're rolling out dough to help remove the skins. You'll have to pick out the chickpeas and place them in a separate bowl once most of the skins have been removed.
  3. Pour the hot sauce into the bowl with the chickpeas and toss until fully coated. Pour the buffalo sauce coated chickpeas onto a parchment or silicone sheet covered baking sheet and let cook in the oven for 30 minutes.
  4. While the chickpeas cook wash and chop your kale, removing as many stems as you can. Place the chopped and de-stemmed kale in a bowl, juicing the lemon into the bowl. Massage the kale for a full minute, allowing the fibers of the kale to break down and become softer. 
  5. Chop your lettuce, shave your carrot, dice your celery and onion, and prepare the vegan ranch while the chickpeas finish cooking. 
  6. Once the chickpea's timer is done, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool. 
  7. If you're meal prepping, using 2 cup minimum containers, portion 1 cup of romaine lettuce, 1/2 cup of kale, 2 tbsp of hemp hearts, a handful of shredded carrots and celery, about 1.5 tbsp diced onion and about 1/2 cup buffalo chickpeas into four separate containers. Using a separate and smallest container, portion about 2-3 tbsp of the hot for food's vegan ranch. You don't want to dress your salad and not eat it for a few days because then it will get soggy! 
  8. If you're not meal prepping, combine everything including the dressing into a large bowl and toss until well combined. Serve immediately.
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