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Air Fried Chickpea Salad

crispy chickpeas on a salad salad with tahini dressing

This crispy Air Fried Chickpea Salad is easy to make and full of flavor. It starts with shawarma spiced chickpeas, lemony kale, sweet and chewy apricots, punchy red onions, and crunchy sunflower seeds. The chickpeas are cooked in the air fryer until crispy and golden brown, and the salad is topped with a creamy Tahini Dressing that ties it all together.

Air Fryer Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing on an Our Place plate

Air Fried Chickpea Salad Recipe

I think the key to a great salad is contrast, so creating a variety of colors, textures, and flavors is key. In this case, each bite is:

  • Crispy
  • Crunchy
  • Chewy
  • Creamy
  • Sweet
  • Salty
  • Smokey
  • Earthy
  • Fresh and Zesty
crispy chickpeas on a salad salad with tahini dressing

Dried apricots provide sweetness and chewiness, which complements the savory, crispy chickpeas, and the nutty, crunchy sunflower seeds. We’ve also got bright and fresh elements like lemony kale and chopped red onion that benefits from a rich and smokey tahini dressing. 

These contrasting ingredients make each bite interesting and dynamic, so you’ll look forward to eating salad! Which is great, because in addition to being delicious, this Chickpea Salad is packed with plant-protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It’s well balanced and it’s even meal prep friendly to boot. 

Make it advance with some additional dressing for serving and you’ll have easy lunches ready and waiting for you for days to come!

For more great salad recipes, try my Roasted Broccolini Salad with Lemon, Apricots, and Kale, my Vegan Chopped Salad with White Bean and Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing, or this delicious 15 Minute Pizza Couscous Salad!

How to Make Air Fried Chickpeas 

Step 1: Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas in a colander and shake well to dry. Then transfer to a mixing bowl and blot dry with a clean towel. 

Step 2: Top with 1 tbsp of olive oil and 2 tbsp of homemade or store bought Shawarma seasoning – if you’ve never had shawarma before, it’s divine! It’s a blend of spices including smoked paprika, turmeric, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, and coriander and it’s great on legumes, veggies, and vegan proteins like tofu, tempeh, and plant-based chicken. My recipe for homemade Shawarma seasoning is on the recipe card below!

Step 3: Toss well to coat the chickpeas in the spice mixture and then transfer to an air fryer. Set to 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. 

Tip: I like to give the chickpeas a little shake halfway through to encourage even browning. 

The result is a chickpea that is crispy on the outside and tender in the center. Delicious! While the chickpeas cook, I make the salad and dressing so everything’s ready at once. 

How to Make Chickpea Kale Salad 

Step 1: First I wash, destem, and chop the kale into bite sized pieces. Then I place the kale in a large mixing bowl. Squeeze 2 tbsp of lemon juice on top and massage for about a minute. 

Step 2: Then I mix together the salad dressing in a smaller bowl – love a one bowl dressing! – and put a few tbsp of dressing on the kale and massage it one more time so the dressing reeeeally seasons the kale nicely. 

Step 3: Top with dried apricots, red onion, and crunchy sunflower seeds and mix well with about half of the dressing. 

I serve it up on a big plates, top with the crispy chickpeas, and drizzle more dressing on top. SO. Delicious!

More Air Fryer Recipes You Might Enjoy:

  • Air Fried Eggrolls
  • Tandori Tempeh
crispy chickpeas on a salad salad with tahini dressing

Air Fried Chickpea Salad

Nicole Vranjican
Shawarma seasoned chickpeas, air fried until crispy, and served on lemony kale salad with apricots, sunflower seeds, and creamy tahini dressing!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Main Course, Salad, Sauces
Cuisine American, Vegan
Servings 4 servings

Equipment

  • 2 large mixing bowls
  • 2 small mixing bowls
  • 1 air fryer

Ingredients
  

For the chickpeas

  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp shawarma seasoning recipe below or you can use a store-bought blend

For the salad

  • 14 cups de-stemmed and chopped kale about 1-2 large bunches
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice plus extra lemon wedges for serving
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • ½ cup chopped dried apricots
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds shelled and roasted

Smokey Tahini Dressing

  • 4 tbsp light and runny tahini such as Soom
  • 4 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp champagne vinegar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 5-6 tbsp water

Homemade Shawarma Seasoning Blend

  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp kosher salt I use Morton's
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 dashes ground allspice or nutmeg

Instructions
 

Prep

  • Drain and rinse the chickpeas and pat dry with a clean cloth. Dry chickpeas = crispier chickpeas! Place the chickpeas in a mixing bowl and set aside for now.
    Then chop the red onion and dried apricots and set aside. De-stem and chop the kale into small bite-sized pieces and place in a large mixing bowl.

Make the Chickpeas

  • If you're using store-bought shawarma seasoning, skip to the next step 😊 If you're making your own blend, combine the spices listed above in a small bowl and mix well.
    Note: You'll have leftover seasoning with the recipe! You can use it up when cooking vegan chicken, roasting veggies like broccoli and cauliflower, or you can mix it into plain vegan yogurt with lemon juice for a tasty dipping sauce.
  • Then add 2 tbsp of shawarma seasoning and 1 tbsp of olive oil to the chickpeas and toss well to coat. Transfer the seasoned chickpeas to the air fryer and set to 400 degrees.
    Cook for 10-12 minutes, shaking the chickpeas halfway through to encourage even browning.

Make the Tahini Dressing

  • Combine the tahini, Dijon mustard, champagne vinegar, maple syrup, and smoked paprika. Mix well and then add the water 1 tbsp at a time until fully incorporated. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Make the Salad

  • Add 2 tbsp of lemon juice to the bowl with the kale and massage for one minute. Then add 2 tbsp of the tahini dressing and massage again for 30 seconds.
  • Then add the red onions, apricots, and sunflower seeds. Top with the crispy chickpeas, and remaining salad dressing. Serve with lemon wedges on the side and enjoy!

Notes

If you’re making this for meal prep, go ahead and massage the kale with 2 tbsp of dressing like the recipe says, but then wait to add the rest of the dressing until you’re ready to serve. So you would massage the kale, add the onions, apricots, sunflower seeds, and crispy chickpeas…toss and then place in an airtight container until ready to serve 👩🏻‍🍳
Keyword chickpeas, kale, salad, salad dressing, tahini, tahini sauce
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Nicole Vranjican

Hey! I’m Nicole and I make practical vegan recipes for REAL life. I cook with simple, easy to find ingredients and I’m passionate about creating delicious plant-based meals that everyone will love!

I hope you enjoy my recipes and videos :) Happy Cooking!

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