I’m one of those people who loves to plan; vacation planning, meal planning, you name it! There’s something comforting about planning for the future. I’m not saying I always stick to my plans, but it sure helps to know what’s ahead of me and sketch out possible options.

Luckily, I’m married to a fellow planner, so it was no surprise that we started talking about meal planning while driving back to our hotel from the southernmost point in the United States, South Point, or Ka Lae, in Hawaii. In between the ocean views, rugged lava rock, cattle ranches, horses and baby goats, there’s a little bit of highway that isn’t as remarkable as the other sections. What better time to talk about meal planning, right?

We had just spent the day eating lilikoi (passion fruit), Hawaiian limes and an array of avocados from a roadside stand, and we had spent the last week and a half enjoying all kinds of fresh fish straight from the ocean. Unfortunately, we were returning home soon, so a little bit of reality was starting to peek in.

Top priority for meal planning? Salads, lots of greens and healthy meals.

Since we had eaten pretty healthy throughout vacation, we wanted to continue the pattern once we got home. For some reason we were both craving a kale Caesar salad with spicy chickpeas.

So, it was added to the list along with a few other great salads we’ve made in the past like the Escarole & Beet Salad or the Roasted Root Vegetable Salad.

The salad is pretty easy to put together, if you use a few pre-made ingredients like canned chickpeas and store-bought Caesar dressing. I’ve found a brand I love to use in a pinch from Litehouse and it’s made with Greek yogurt so the overall taste is lighter.

Full disclosure, our first meal home was a Heggie’s pizza. Man, I love pizza. But, after we recovered from our jet lag, we were back on the salad train and dug into some spicy chickpeas and kale.

If only it could cancel out that pizza we ate.

What’s your go-to meal after vacation?


Spicy Chickpeas and Kale Caesar Salad
Serves 4

1-2 bunches of lacinto kale (aka dino kale), washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and dried of excess water
2 tbsp. olive oil
2-3 tbsp. dry curry seasoning (I used a spicy masala mix)
Salt and pepper to taste
Lighthouse OPA Greek yogurt Caesar dressing
Lemon wedges, for serving
Parmesan cheese, for serving

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium sized bowl, toss chickpeas with oil and add curry seasoning, salt and pepper. Transfer seasoned chickpeas to a large, rimmed sheet pan.

Bake for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through, until crispy yet still tender inside. Remove from oven.

Meanwhile, toss kale with desired amount of Caesar dressing and top with cooked chickpeas.
Serve with lemon wedges and parmesan cheese.