This superfood-packed chickpea and cauliflower salad is full of juicy, honey mustard chicken, crunchy & spicy roasted chickpeas, sweet, crisp apples, and creamy avocado.
Greetings from Kyle, NC! Don’t know where that is? Neither did I. Let’s just say I’m 45 minutes away from the nearest sign of life or cell phone service, tucked away in some mountain cabin with a group of friends and our dogs. Last night was the latest I’ve stayed up this side of 25, and this morning feels like my organs are on strike from too much boxed wine and cheap beer. As the resident foodie, I know I can be out of place at these kinds of things, (burgers and hot dogs AGAIN?). It is likely that I will not encounter one vegetable this whole trip, but man my body is craving some goodness right now. I suppose writing and reminiscing about my healthy, energizing chickpea and cauliflower salad I meal prepped for lunches earlier in the week is the closest I’ll get to nutrition this weekend.
I saw the vegan version of this salad a week or two ago on Pinch of Yum and knew I had to try and make it for healthy lunches. When push came to shove, I ended up adding chicken so I could stay full and energized throughout my whole work day, and nixed the shallot/onion option because I would like people to actually talk to me at work.
This turned out to be majorly easy to make, and a delight to eat every day. The cauliflower “rice” is as low maintenance as cauliflower rice gets: you just whiz it in a food processor or blender and season it. No cooking required, (and honestly, it wouldn’t be office-friendly if we had). The chicken gets tossed in the salad dressing and roasted on a sheet pan next to the chickpeas. One pan, boom done. Just chop up some apples, avocados, and herbs, and you’ve got yourself a power-packed, low-carb lunch option.
This is a totally delicious salad on its own, but if you’re like me and want to use it for meal prepped lunches, here are some tips:
- Pack the salad dressing separately in a mason jar or sealed container.
- Each salad gets half an avocado. Since they brown quickly, just place the halved avocado cut-side down into the salad, blocking as much air as possible. Just dice up when it’s ready to eat.
- Eat the salad cold or at room temperature- don’t make your office mates miserable by microwaving cauliflower!
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. grainy mustard
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 2 lemons, tested and juiced
- salt & pepper
- For the salad:
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts divided into 4- 4oz. portions
- 1- 14 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tsp olive oil
- ½ Tbsp chili powder
- Salt & pepper
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 apple, sliced thin
- 1 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1 cup minced fresh mint
- 2 avocados, pitted and cut into chunks
- Preheat an oven to 400 degrees, and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl or mason jar.
- Pour ¼ of the dressing over the chicken breasts to coat, and place them on the baking sheet.
- Toss the chickpeas in the olive oil, chili powder, salt and pepper, and place them on the same baking sheet. Make sure everything is in a single, even layer.
- Bake for 25 minutes until chicken is cooked through and chickpeas are brown and crispy.
- Working in small batches, pulse the cauliflower florets in a food processor or blender until they look like rice. Season with salt and pepper.
- Toss the cauliflower rice, chickpeas, chicken, apples, avocado, and fresh herbs in a bowl and divide into four equal portions. At this point you may want to add a Tbsp. or two of water to the dressing. Shake or whisk again, and pour over the salad.
- If saving for later, don't add the dressing or cut the avocado until it's time to serve.