In the summer, I’m always a big fan of having a big salad for dinner. But sometimes salad can be a bit of a letdown and I find myself heading back to the pantry for a snack an hour or two after dinner. But, this crispy chickpea avocado salad is hearty enough and big enough to really fill you up!
And let’s face it… there are some people out there that are ranch haters. But you know what. I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say that I love the stuff. Do I eat it every day? No. Is it my go-to salad dressing? Probably not. But for some reason, on a salad like this it tastes great with crispy bacon, cheddar cheese, and loads of other veggies. This salad just screams for ranch.
Hate if you want (or just use a different dressing I reckon), but ranch is what I use on this sucker!
How to make crispy chickpeas
There are many ways to make crispy chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) in this world. You could roast them in an oven for 20 minutes, you could stick them in the air-fryer for 8 minutes. But, for this recipe, I like to cook them in a skillet because it’s the same skillet I used to cook the bacon.
You cook the bacon pieces until they are crispy and then remove them and add your drained chickpeas to the skillet. The bacon grease will not only crisp up the chickpeas, but will also infuse them with a ton of delicious savory flavors. PRO TIP.
How to make this crispy chickpea avocado salad
Bacon first right? I just chop mine and cook it in a skillet until the bacon is nice and crispy. Pull out the bacon and leave the bacon grease because that’s what we’ll crisp up the chickpeas in!
Most importantly: Drain the chickpeas and rinse them well with water and then season them with some chili powder and paprika. Toss them in the same skillet you used for the bacon and the bacon grease will crisp up the chickpeas a bit. It gives the salad some really nice texture and is a great fill-you-up ingredient also.
While the bacon and chickpeas crisp up you can spend some time with your favorite cutting board and knife chopping up the rest of the veggies. It should go without saying that you could use other veggies for this salad. These are just the ones I particularly liked.
When you’re ready to eat, divide the baby spinach between plates and then add the veggies, cheese, bacon and chickpeas.
Drizzle with ranch!
- Need a homemade ranch? Try this Jalapeno Ranch Dressing!
If you’re serving this as an appetizer, you can get probably 6 plates out of the ingredient list. Or you can really eat it as a meal and it’ll serve 3-4 pretty easily.
Also, the nice thing about this salad is that all the ingredients store really well. For my leftovers, I tossed together the veggies, cheese, bacon, and chickpeas and it made a delicious weekday lunch salad!
In these hot summer days, hearty salads are always welcome in my opinion and this bacon ranch salad is a welcome one!
Tips for this Chickpea Avocado Salad
- Use thick-cut bacon for crispier pieces and more fat in the skillet. It might take a few extra minutes to render out the fat, but the resulting chickpeas will be even better.
- Add in some fresh herbs like fresh dill, fresh parsley, cilantro, or fresh chives to brighten up the flavors.
- Use slightly firm avocados for this recipe so they hold up better. Save the super-ripe avocados for perfect guacamole.
- Amp up the summer flavors with fresh vegetables like tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, or really crispy lettuce.
How to make this recipe even faster
It’s possible to cut down on the time for this recipe substantially.
You can use pre-cooked bacon if you would like and crisp it up in an air-fryer alongside the chickpeas. Or you can make the crispy chickpeas in advance and toss everything together when you are ready to serve. They store great in the fridge.
If you are leaving the bacon out to make this a vegetarian recipe, no worries. Just drizzle in some olive oil or coconut oil to your skillet or roast the chickpeas like I do for this crunchy chickpea salad.
This recipe is pretty great as a lunch option. It packs well on-the-go or it’s also great as a dinner side salad option with a pasta dish or some grilled items. I could see serving it with this spring primavera pasta recipe or a grilled fish.
Definitely keep leftover chickpea avocado salad for lunch the next day. It stores great although it is best to scoop in the avocado right before serving so it doesn’t brown.
Crispy Chickpea Bacon Ranch Salad
- 8 ounces bacon
- 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 6 ounces cheddar cheese, cubed
- 2-3 stalks celery, chopped
- 4-5 radishes, chopped
- ½ red pepper, sliced
- 1 ripe avocado, sliced
- 5 ounces Fresh baby spinach
- Ranch dressing
- Chop bacon and add it to a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Cook until bacon is crispy, stirring regularly. When bacon is browned and crispy, remove it from the skillet.
- While bacon is cooking, drain chickpeas well and rinse them. Then toss them with chili powder and paprika.
- When bacon is crispy, remove with a slotted spoon and let drain on a few paper towels. Then add seasoned chickpeas to the skillet with the bacon grease. Cook for about 5 minutes until chickpeas turn slightly browned and crispy. Remove them and drain on a few paper towels.
- While the bacon and chickpeas cook, you can prep your other ingredients. Chop veggies and cheddar and divide spinach and veggies on plates.
- Divide bacon and crispy chickpeas between salads and drizzle each salad with ranch dressing. Serve as an appetizer or pile it high and make a dinner out of it!