Fajita Salad with Crispy Roasted Chickpeas is the perfect balance of flavors and textures that will dazzle your family! Easy to adapt to your family’s own personal preferences, it is loaded with amazing veggies and a kid-approved dressing that is easy to whip up. This salad is sure to be a veggie-loaded game changer in your house!
Young or old. Child or adult. Summer is special. We all kick off our shoes. Jump in the pool and take a moment to rediscover who we are and what really matters in life. The hustle slows down a bit and we soak in the season of summer.
As I take a little time off from recipe creation and testing so that I can soak in a little extra summer goodness with my family, I have invited my friend, Gillian from LaLa Lunchbox, to come and share one of her family’s favorite recipes with the TNN Community.
Dinner can be tricky
I love salad. I make it for my own lunch. I order it in restaurants. I even save salad ideas on social media. But when it came to actually making one for family dinner, I just didn’t do it.
Hi, I’m Gillian, the mama behind LaLa Lunchbox. I’m so thrilled to be here on TNN today! I’ve got 3 kids (12, 8 and 5) and while they’re all pretty good about eating fruits and veggies, that rainbow never included any type of salad. I’m an app developer; I make meal planning apps, like the LaLa Lunchbox app, which gets the kids involved and engaged in choosing their foods and expanding their palates. While I’m happy to give them a voice in what’s for lunch and breakfast (you can see what we eat on my Instagram), dinner is typically my choice.
Dinner can be tricky because my 3 kiddos don’t all love the same things, and I can’t please everyone every night. I never served salad – especially as a main dish – because the thought of it being universally rejected was too much stress. My kids go to a nature camp, and one of the activities is wild food foraging. They came home last summer raving about a salad they picked, prepped and ate, and I saw my opportunity.
My older daughter liked it so much that she began choosing salads to have with her packed lunches. I tried a few times to causally present a side salad at dinner. My younger daughter was occasionally interested. My son was not on board.
The first night I made Fajita Salad was a game changer. The kids complained at first when I told them what we were having for dinner (“Only a salad, Mama?! Really?!”), but I persisted. They piled into the kitchen, tempted by the smell and I knew I had a winner on my hands.
This dish hits all of the high notes: it’s unapologetically loaded with veggies, with juicy meat and crunchy roasted chick peas. It’s inviting, not austere, filling and satisfying, and it’s a dish that’s now on steady repeat at my house. I’ve adapted the original recipe (from Cooking Light) to suit our needs with great success, and there have never been any leftovers. Score!
My non-salad eating son loves this salad. Does he eat other salads? No. Not yet. But my daughters do. And thanks to this dish, I’m less timid about serving salad with dinner. I’ll take a victory anywhere I can get it. I’m loving all of the salads that Taesha has been posting lately, aren’t you? I’d love to hear about your salad victories or challenges.
If you make this recipe, please let me know how it goes! I hope to see you on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest and you can also follow along on my blog for occasional lunchbox roundups, easy nut free family-friendly recipes and platter inspiration! Thanks for joining me today!
1) Make it your own! This dinner is dairy free, gluten free and nut free. If you eliminate the chickpeas, it is paleo. If you skip the meat, it vegetarian & vegan!
2) Switch up the protein! I’ve made this with both boneless chicken thighs and steak. The steak version cooks faster. My kids also liked it better, but that may be that’s because we rarely have beef (and we often have chicken), so that probably changes their perception of the dish as a whole.
3) Substitute green beans for snap peas.
4) If you are not gluten free, you can use sourdough croutons in place of the chickpeas. Use sourdough (2 cups, cut into 2 inch cubes), drizzle with olive oil and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, turning once halfway through.
5) Get the kids involved! I like to get my kids involved with the chickpea skin removal. It helps me, and it’s fun for them!
6) No chili powder? No problem! If you don’t have chili powder, here’s a great substitute for the dressing:
- 3/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Other delicious chickpea recipes you are going to love…
- Mashed Chickpea Salad
- Chickpea Vegetable Nuggets
- Teriyaki Broccoli Chickpea Stir Fry
- Sweet Cinnamon Chickpea Poppers
Loving this fajita salad with roasted chickpeas and hungry for more?
Fajita Salad with Crispy Roasted Chickpeas
Crispy roasted chickpeas
- 2 cans chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1.5 pounds flank steak (or 5-6 boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2-3 inch pieces)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste
- 9-10 ounces salad greens
- 1 cup sugar snap peas, ends trimmed
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced bell peppers
- 1/2 red onion, sliced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 heaping tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- Healthy pinch of salt
- Pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400.
- Remove the skins from the chickpeas. This part is tedious, but removing those skins helps the chickpeas to get nice and crispy.
- Dry the chickpeas as much as possible.
- When they’re good and dry, toss them with the olive oil and salt.
- Spread them out in parchment paper and roast for approximately 30-35 minutes until crispy, giving the pan a little shake every 10 or so minutes.
- While the chickpeas roast, heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Cook the meat for approximately 4-5 minutes per side, or until desired doneness. When done, let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing. If you’re using chicken, add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan before adding the chicken. Cook, turning frequently until the chicken is cooked through.
- In the same skillet that you’ve cooked the meat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and set the heat to medium. Add the bell peppers, red onion and cumin and cook until the edges are nicely browned, approximately 5-6 minutes. Add the snap peas, mix everything together and cook for another 3 minutes. Set aside in a bowl.
- Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. If you don’t have a whisk, use a fork, no problem!
- You can serve this family style, with chickpeas, meat, veggies and dressing separately and let everyone dig in as they please, or you can combine everything together in one giant bowl. Either way is delicious!
- This dinner is dairy free, gluten free and nut free. If you eliminate the chickpeas, it is paleo.
- This quantity serves my family of 5. You might want to adjust if your family is larger or smaller.
- I’ve made this with both boneless chicken thighs and steak. The steak version cooks faster. My kids also liked it better, but that may be that’s because we rarely have beef (and we often have chicken), so that probably changes their perception of the dish as a whole.
- You can substitute green beans for snap peas.
- If you are not gluten free, you can use sourdough croutons in place of the chickpeas. Use sourdough (2 cups, cut into 2 inch cubes), drizzle with olive oil and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, turning once halfway through.
- I like to get my kids involved with the chickpea skin removal. It helps me, and it’s fun for them!
- If you don’t have chili powder, here’s a great substitute for the dressing:
- /4 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
The nutritional information is provided as an estimate only and may vary based on the product type, servings and other factors. If you are following a diet, please consult with a professional nutritionist or your doctor. Stay healthy!