Salads

April 28, 2022

Pizza Salad with Pepperoni Chickpeas

This Pizza Salad with Pepperoni Chickpeas will make your house smell like a pizzeria. The spicy roasting Pepperoni Chickpeas meet the freshness of the bell peppers and red onion, and you will think there is a giant supreme pizza baking in your oven. This recipe takes a store-bought Caesar salad kit and embellishes it to levels never before seen by Caesar salads.

I had no idea that I missed pepperoni after becoming a vegetarian until one day when I came across a recipe for pepperoni soy curls. Those pepperoni soy curls changed meatless pizzas in my house forever - the spice blend was spot-on pepperoni. Recently, I was inspired to use the pepperoni spice blend on a batch of crispy roasted chickpeas, which I love. I knew right away I wanted to put them on a Caesar salad as croutons, but I didn’t stop there. I added all of my favorite supreme pizza toppings, too. Hello, Pizza Salad - aka, a salad that doesn’t suck (according to my brother).

Seriously, this Pizza Salad will fulfill your pizza cravings. You won’t even miss the crust! (And I LOVE a good pizza crust.) It’s an easy weeknight meal that makes any night pizza night. And probably will make it tomorrow’s lunch, too! It’s a big salad - it easily fed four hungry adults for dinner in my house, and that’s even going in for seconds (which you will want to do - trust me!).

Ingredients assembled for Pizza Salad with Pepperoni Chickpeas
Assemble your ingredients.

Stages of making the pepperoni spice blend and roasting the chickpeas until crispy
Start by making the pperoni spice blend and roasting the chickpeas until crispy. Allow the chickpeas to cool slightly on the baking sheet to crisp up.

Stages of adding the other ingredients to build the salad
While the chickpeas are roasting, prep the other salad ingredients and begin assembling the salad.

Pizza Salad with Pepperoni Chickpeas served on a large metal pizza pan
Top the assembled salad with the crispy pepperoni chickpeas. It's extra fun to assemble and serve this salad from a large pizza pan!

Pizza Salad with Pepperoni Chickpeas ready to serve alongside a cold beer in a glass mug
Serve up and enjoy!

Original publication date: January 18, 2021 // Post and photos updated: April 28, 2022

Pizza Salad with Pepperoni Chickpeas

This Pizza Salad with Pepperoni Chickpeas will make your house smell like a pizzeria. The spicy roasting Pepperoni Chickpeas meet the freshness of the bell peppers and red onion, and you will think there is a giant supreme pizza baking in your oven.

Author:

Kira Freed - The Joyful Plateful

Prep:

10

min

cook:

25

min

total:

35

min

Ingredients

15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 Tbsp. avocado oil

1 Tbsp. fennel seeds

1 Tbsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp. kosher salt


For the salad:

1 store-bought Caesar salad kit

3-4 large handfuls of baby spinach

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes

1 can large black olives

2 green bell peppers

1/4-1/2 red onion (depending on size)

Extra grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Prepare the pepperoni spice blend for the chickpeas: place fennel seeds, garlic powder, smoked paprika, crushed red pepper flakes, and kosher salt in a spice (or coffee) grinder, and pulse until fennel seeds are finely ground. (See notes.)
  3. Dry the rinsed chickpeas very well, and then place in a bowl. Toss with avocado oil, then half of the spice blend. (See notes.) Spread seasoned evenly chickpeas on a baking sheet, and roast in the oven for 25-27 minutes, tossing once halfway through.
  4. While the chickpeas are roasting, prepare your salad:
  5. Start with the lettuce from the Caesar salad kit as the base in a large bowl.
  6. Roughly chop the baby spinach leaves, and add to the bowl.
  7. Remove the seeds from the green bell peppers, and cut into strips or large dice, and add to the bowl.
  8. Thinly slice the red onion, and add to the bowl.
  9. Drain the black olives, slice in half, and add to the bowl.
  10. Slice cherry or grape tomatoes in half, then add to the bowl.
  11. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs/croutons from the salad kit.
  12. Let the roasted chickpeas cool for a few minutes before adding them to the top of the salad.
  13. Serve the salad with extra parmesan and dressing on the side. This allows people to add as much or as little dressing as the like. And, the undressed salad will keep in the fridge for an extra day or two (yay lunch!).

Notes:

  • If you do not have a spice or coffee grinder, you can crush the fennel seeds using a mortar and pestle. Or, if you don’t have either of these tools, place them in a plastic sandwich bag and smash them with something heavy on a hard surface. It’s okay if they’re still in fairly large pieces, we just need to break them down enough to release their oils and flavor.
  • This spice mixture makes enough for two batches of chickpeas. You can either use ALL of the spice blend on two cans of chickpeas right away, or reserve the other half of the spice blend for another batch later. If you only use half of the spice blend, place the remaining spices in an airtight container for later - it will keep for a few weeks. (If you can wait that long!)
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May 24, 2022
Elizabeth
I don't normally comment on recipes but this has got to be the best thing I've ever made. It came together pretty easy and made five meals - perfect for meal prep for the week. I already can't wait to make it again.
January 22, 2022
Sherry Ruiter
I love this section!!!!!