With spring finally here, I've definitely been craving more salads. They can be both satisfying and refreshing as long as you include the right mix of ingredients. Lunch has always been my least favorite meal, but I've finally realized that it doesn't have to be as boring as I once thought, and can actually be the perfect opportunity to combine some of your favorite ingredients into one big, healthy bowl!
This salad is exactly that, taking some of my favorite ingredients and flavors and making them just that little bit healthier. One of my favorite things to do for lunches is make them meatless. That being said, there's also nothing worse than having a protein-less salad and being immediately hungry after. This salad fixes that right up by taking an all-time favorite (barbecue chicken) and giving it a different kind of protein twist in the form of barbecue chickpeas!
Another twist on a classic combination is to make your own cilantro lime ranch. The everyday ranch classic is one of my favorites that I'll always love, but this cilantro lime ranch is healthier, and in my opinion even better. All you'll have to do is quickly whisk up the greek yogurt, a couple spices, some fresh lime juice, and some chopped cilantro. The flavors from the lime juice and cilantro are so bright and make each bite of the salad cool and refreshing.
Next you'll want to make the barbecue chickpeas. Before recently, I had never been a huge fan of chickpeas. I loved the taste, but something about the texture has never been my favorite. That's why crisping them up in the oven is an absolute game-changer. I promise you once you try it once, you'll be so tempted to pop them in straight out of the oven.
Once they're tossed in a little olive oil and salt and pepper, and baked for just 15 minutes, you'll toss these with your favorite BBQ sauce and you've got the quickest and most delicious little protein-filled bites. They not only add some protein to the salad, but they also add a little necessary crunch.
After that, it's as easy as throwing the toppings together. In my opinion cherry tomatoes, red onion, and corn are all the perfect matches for anything BBQ. You can use fresh or frozen corn, and can totally adjust the amount of any of the toppings.
This is also the perfect opportunity to add in some sliced avocado. Between the barbecue sauce and homemade cilantro lime ranch, the avocado is truly a must. Sprinkle on some shredded cheddar and you've successfully completed the everything-that-should-be-included-in-a-salad challenge.
Add on your chickpeas, drizzle on the cilantro lime ranch, and top with lots of extra cilantro. Enjoy each flavor-filled healthy bite of this lunch or dinner-worthy loaded salad.
The most satisfying 25 minute barbecue chickpea salad packed with crispy barbecue chickpeas, veggie toppings, a sprinkle of cheddar, and a drizzle of homemade cilantro lime ranch.
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