All of my favorite tapas flavors in one salad: chickpeas, Manchego, almonds, olives and asparagus…. Oh, there’s kale, too. Cause kale.
This takes a little TLC to prepare but is well worth it. It’s what Friday night magic is all about!
Make a big bunch for a get-together and you’ll have those non-salad eaters converting to kale in no time.
I chose these ingredients because well, I adore them, but make this your own. Add baked croquetas, roasted garlic shrimp, or whichever tapas bites you’re keen on.
What’s great about tapas is that each small plate is full of flavor. I just went through all of my usual orders and thought of them as amazing salad mix-ins. And while I updated some of them to make more sense in a salad setting, I only had to lighten them slightly.
I love me some tapas but it’s a lot of frying. I’m not a fried-food hater but it’s rarely necessary to duplicate the same flavor and texture…so why?
Here are some of my favs:
CHICKPEAS – I’m addicted to the fried paprika chickpeas available in most tapas restaurants, so I baked mine to allow myself to eat more of this salad. Tee hee!
These were ridiculous.
ALMONDS – I made my own blanched almonds and toasted them in coconut oil, fresh rosemary sprigs and sea salt until they tasted like you’re smack-dab in the middle of a Mediterranean country. This is delicious with smoked sea salt as well.
You can just as easily buy raw blanched almonds but I suggest that you flavor them yourself. There’s nothing like freshly toasted and salted nuts.
In fact, these almonds were so spot-on they deserve their own post. Call your friends over and have some red wine for my kind of night!
ASPARAGUS – Because I abhor the white type of asparagus, sorry Spain, I saved us all from that lack-of-flavor experience and crisped up some beautiful thin green asparagus stalks in the oven.
I confess that a fair number did not make it into the salad because that is a chef’s perk!
PEPPERS – I love fried shishito peppers, but I drool over charred ones even more. I held these little guys right up to my burner’s flame with tongs; in about 5 minutes, I had beautiful blackened peppers. Part of the skin falls off but I ate them skin and all.
I would have applied this technique to piquillo peppers as well but they are hard to find. I had a red pepper on hand which I just left on the burner while I was fiddling with the shishitos and rotated it every so often.
I did peel the bell pepper though because the skin is hard to digest once roasted. But it slipped right off so it was easy enough.
The cheese and olives of course required no tinkering because as long as you get good-quality items, they’re pretty perfect as is.
So shave over some aged Manchego and dot the salad with briny olives and you’ve got yourself a date-night salad that’s filling and muy tasty. It doesn’t even need dressing.
- 3 cups fresh kale, ribs removed & chopped
- 1 small can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
- 1 cup blanched almonds
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup Manchego, shaved with a vegetable peeler
- ¼ cup green olives (or your favorite)
- 1 bunch thin asparagus, ends trimmed
- Fresh rosemary (about 3 sprigs), stems removed
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ lb. Shishito peppers
- 1 small red bell pepper
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Spread the asparagus on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and roast for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
- On another sheet pan, drizzle your chickpeas with olive oil, salt, paprika, granulated garlic, and cumin. Add about half of the rosemary and toss to combine. Roast for 30 minutes or until crispy.
- In a large frying pan, toast the almonds in coconut oil and the other half of rosemary. Add salt along the way to taste.
- Turn on your burner’s flame and carefully char the skins of your peppers while holding them with tongs. Set aside. If you prefer to remove the skins after toasting, place them directly into a plastic bag and let them steam for 5 minutes. This makes it easier to remove the skin and seeds.
- Pile everything onto your washed kale and finish with Manchego and olives.