Avocado-Chickpea Dinner Salad with Toasted Pecans and Dried Cranberries
Around my house, this salad is simply called “dinner salad”. It gained the name after it became my go-to salad to make at dinner time when I really wanted something fresh and filling that doesn’t require a whole lot of effort.
The idea for this salad evolved out of my trying to recreate a spinach and strawberry salad with candied pecans and a balsamic reduction I had back in 2004. One night a couple of years later, I really wanted the salad but had few of the necessary ingredients on hand. So, this salad was created by way of me tossing into it whatever I happened to have on hand, and it eventually ended up with the combination of ingredients in the recipe below. The original version includes plenty of crunchy croutons, which I have left out in this recipe to make it more friendly for me and the gluten-free folks.
The serving sizes here are meant to be big because a large part of the salad is made up of greens. (It’s actually a great way to get a huge helping of your daily veggies.) Feel free to use as much or as little salad greens as you wish in your salad.
6-8 cups mixed baby salad greens
1/2 ripe avocado, cubed
1/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1/3 cup toasted pecan pieces
3/4 cup canned chickpeas
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1. Evenly divide the baby salad greens between two large bowls (you’ll be eating your salad out of these bowls, so if you’re particular about your dinnerware – I just use mixing bowls ’cause that’s how I roll – pick bowls that are generously sized).
2. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the avocado, half the cranberries, half the pecans toasted pecans, and half the chickpeas on one salad, sprinkling the remaining ingredients evenly over top of the second salad.
3. Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar over each salad, garnishing with freshly cracked black pepper, to taste.
4. Dig in and enjoy!
Makes 2 large salads or 4 small side salads.