Buffalo Chickpea Salad with Ranch (Vegan + Gluten Free)

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The more and more plant based meals I make the more I realize that sometimes It’s not going to be exactly the same as what your tastebuds are typically used to. For the most part there are going to be differences but that’s okay. Different ingredients become different results. So of course if you use cashews instead of buttermilk it’s going to be different. Different isn’t bad though and in this case different came out really good.IMG_9230

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I was over at my aunt’s house a couple months ago and my cousin was eating a huge salad with ranch and a side of wings and it sparked a serious craving in me. So as we were sitting there watching a movie later I sat on my ipad researching vegan ranch recipes. I wasn’t really sure if it would be good and I didn’t really know what the best method would be.

 

So I put it off for a while and decided maybe I’d try and come up with something later. But I still wanted those same flavors of ranch and buffalo sauce. Since I’m not a vegan I could have just made regular ranch dressing but I really wanted to come up with a vegan version. Eventually I figured it out and I was so glad I did.

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Again, it’s not the exact same but it’s a great plant based alternative and that’s what I’m all about. Having options and making swaps to incorporate more and more plant based meals into my diet.

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The chickpeas were the easiest option for what I wanted to use to get the buffalo part of the salad. They came out delicious and really you could literally just make those and have them for a snack.

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This salad is hearty and perfect for a weeknight meal or it’s also great to put together the night before and take to work for lunch. It’s loaded with protein from both the chickpeas and even the dressing thanks to the cashews so it should leave you feeling full and happy.

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If you want to get crazy you can add some shredded daiya cheese (or regular cheese if you’re not a vegan) and even toast up some tortilla strips to sprinkle on top. The possibilities are endless…and delicious.

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If you do try this or any other recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #modernlittlevictories on Instagram! I’d love to hear what you think and what you create in your kitchen.

Salad Makes 2 Servings

Ingredients

Dressing
½ cup cashews
¼ cup water
½ cup vegan mayo (I used just mayo)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp parsley
1 tbsp dill
2 cloves garlic
salt to taste

Salad
½ cup buffalo sauce (I used frank’s)
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
1 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
2 bunches of romaine lettuce (you can literally use whatever lettuce you want though)
1 medium tomato
¼ cup red onion
1 4 oz can sliced black olives
1 cup shredded carrots
1 medium avocado

Instructions

-Place your cashews in a container and cover them with water. Let them soak for 4-6 hours or overnight.
-Preheat your oven to 425 and drain and rinse your chickpeas really well. Place them on a towel and dry them off completely. Once they are dry and your oven is heated place your chickpeas in a small bowl with only ¼ cup of the buffalo sauce, the olive oil, and salt. Place them on a baking sheet and place them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until they are crispy and crunchy.
-While your chickpeas are baking add the soaked cashews, mayo, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic and water to a blender and blend until combined and smooth. Add in your herbs and pulse a few times until they are incorporated.
-Wash and chop your veggies and add as much or as little as every ingredient as you’d like to your salad.
-When your chickpeas are done take them out of the oven and place them back in the bowl you first put them in and add the other ¼ cup of buffalo sauce. Toss until they are all coated. Add them to the top of your salad. Top with dressing and serve!

Notes

-You can make your dressing the day before if you really want to give it a chance for the flavors to all combine.
-Be careful with the water. I used about a ¼ a cup but if you want to make sure that your dressing doesn’t come out too watery then just add in a little bit of water at a time until you get the right consistency.
-You can also used an unflavored nut milk if you want a creamier dressing instead of water.

 

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