Thai-Inspired Kale and Chickpea Salad

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eating veganThai Kale-Chickpea Salad

As we simmer through summer’s dog days, the idea of turning on an oven or stovetop burner loses its appeal. Try this tasty salad starring massaged kale, red cabage, chickpeas and cilantro for a delicious no-cook lunch — or to wow the masses at your next potluck or picnic event!


  • 3 cups raw kale (rinsed, destemmed, and torn into bite-size pieces)
  • juice from 1/2 lemon or lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1-1/3 cup cooked chickpeas (or one 14.5 oz. can, rinsed and drained)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos)
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/2- 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce or red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)


Place kale in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt, and drizzle with olive oil and lemon or lime juice. ‘Massage’ the kale by rubbing it between your palms for about a minute — this improves the texture and flavor, making raw kale the world’s most perfect salad green.

Add cabbage, chickpeas, and cilantro. Toss well to combine with the kale.

In a separate small bowl, combine soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and Sriracha sauce or red pepper flakes. Pour dressing over salad, and toss well. Top with sesame seeds, if desired.

Makes about six servings.


Production Notes

This salad can be served at once, or refrigerated for up to two days. If used as a make-ahead dish, drain off extra dressing just before serving — the salad itself holds up well, making it a great potluck dish that you can make the night before. But you’ll have more liquid than you started with, making the dressing a bit too soupy to serve without draining.

When choosing soy sauce, remember that US non-organic soy products are almost always GMO derived. There are many reasons to avoid GMOs, in terms of health, environmental impact, and social justice issues — and so far GMO ingredients don’t have to be labeled in the US. So shop for organic ingredients as much as possible, if you prefer to avoid GMO foods — especially when buying corn or soy products, since these foods are generally genetically modified unless otherwise specified.

Also, please read about BPA in canned foods; chickpeas are easy to make in a slow cooker, and freeze for later use. This takes a little bit of advance planning, but results in BPA-free chickpeas that are just as quick and easy as the canned version — and still won’t heat up your summer kitchen!

Image credit: photo by author.

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