Sweet Potato Kale Chickpea Bowl (GF + Vegan)
Roasted sweet potatoes, spicy chickpeas, and fresh kale covered with a lemony maple tahini dressing — this Sweet Potato Kale Chickpea Bowl is the ultimate gluten-free and vegan comfort food!
Today, we’re taking a little break from my normal baking and dessert-heavy content for the ultimate fall good-for-you comfort food.
I always get requests for more dinner recipes, and especially for more weeknight dinners that can be prepped ahead of time. I get it! We are all busy, but we all still need to eat dinner. And of course, we all want food that is both delicious but also nutritious.
Friends, this Sweet Potato Kale Chickpea Bowl is all this, covered in the most amazing maple tahini dressing.
I make it for our own family for a weeknight dinner. I make it when we have friends over. I’ve meal prepped versions to drop off with friends who just had babies or are recovering from surgery.
And, spoiler alert: everyone loves it. It’s feel-good food that is actually good for you. Talk about the ultimate win!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Olive Oil: You can use another neutral oil, like avocado oil, if preferred.
- Red Onion
- Sweet Potatoes: Cubed butternut squash is a fantastic substitution for the sweet potatoes.
- Kale: I like the heartier texture of kale the best, but swiss chard or spinach can also be used.
- Chickpeas: The recipe is written for canned chickpeas to keep this weeknight-friendly, but you can start with dried chickpeas and cook them yourself, or substitute in any other hearty white bean.
- Spices: I use a combination of cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, turmeric, and cayenne pepper, but mix and match as preferred, or use your favorite slightly spicy premade spice mix.
- Tahini: You want to use a high-quality, smooth tahini for this – not dry, crumbly tahini.
- Maple Syrup
- Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice has far superior flavor, but bottled lemon juice will work in a pinch.
- Garlic: I like to use minced fresh garlic, but a little garlic powder can be used instead.
Easy Vegan Dinner Bowl
So let’s talk about how to make this delicious, nutritious, healthy sweet potato kale chickpea bowl, shall we? It’s super easy.
- Roast the Sweet Potatoes: Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Toss the cut sweet potato and red onion with olive oil. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes, then flip everything over and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender and slightly crispy.
- Prepare the Spicy Chickpeas and Kale: Saute the kale in a skillet until bright green and wilted. Dry the skillet, then add the chickpeas, along with all the spices and stir well to combine. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the chickpeas are golden brown and crispy.
- Make the Maple-Tahini Dressing: Combine tahini, maple syrup, lemon juice, and minced garlic in a bowl. Gradually add hot water to achieve your desired dressing consistency.
- Assemble the Bowl: In a serving bowl, layer the roasted sweet potatoes, red onions, spicy chickpeas, and sauteed kale. Drizzle the maple tahini dressing over the top.
Creamy Tahini Dressing
I love roasted sweet potatoes and spicy chickpeas and wilted kale. But my favorite part about this sweet potato chickpea bowl is, hands down, the maple tahini dressing.
It’s so delicious (and I usually double the recipe and pour it on everything else I make for dinner later in the week!)
Tahini has a creamy, rich texture that brings a ton of flavor – but the chemical properties of tahini are also essential in creating the dressing! What’s going on here? It’s time for my favorite subject… kitchen chemistry!
Tahini is composed of tiny oil droplets dispersed in water-rich environment. It contains naturally occurring emulsifiers, including phospholipids and lecithin, which have a hydrophilic (water-attracting) and a hydrophobic (water-repelling) end. This dual nature allows them to bridge the gap between oil and water, creating a stable mixture.
When we mix together the tahini with lemon juice and a little water, the emulsifiers form a protective barrier around the water droplets. This prevents them from clumping together and separating from the water. The result? A smooth, well-combined mixture – our maple tahini dressing!
Recommended Tools to Make Sweet Potato Chickpea Bowls
- Chef Knife: This is one of my favorite kinves, which makes cutting through the sweet potatoes a breeze.
- Sheet Pan: Use a light-colored sheet pan to prevent the bottoms of the sweet potatoes from burning.
- Saucepan: A large skillet or saucepan ensures the chickpeas will get crispy and not soggy.
- Mixing Bowls: This set of glass mixing bowls is perfect for tossing ingredients and mixing together the maple tahini dressing.
- Good Quality Tahini: High quality tahini makes the best dressing – Soom is my favorite brand for tahini that is always creamy and smooth and never crumbly or bitter.
Tips and Tricks for the Best Sweet Potato Kale Chickpea Bowl
- Dry Chickpeas for Crispiness: Make sure to drain and rinse the canned chickpeas and then pat them dry with a paper towel before adding them to the pan. This helps them get a little crispier.
- Emulsify the Dressing Gradually: When making the maple tahini dressing, add the hot water gradually to achieve the desired consistency.
- Experiment with Greens: While kale is fantastic, feel free to experiment with other greens, like spinach or Swiss chard for different textures and flavors in your bowl.
- Add Creative Toppings: This bowl is delicious on its own, but adding toppings is a great way to add new flavors and textures! Consider ingredients like toasted nuts (I especially love pistachios!), seeds, crumbled feta, or avocado slices.
- Make Ahead for Meal Prep: All components of this bowl can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 4 days. Before serving, heat the sweet potatoes, kale, and chickpeas in the oven at 350 °F for 10 minutes until warmed through. Microwave the dressing for 20-30 seconds to just take off the chill, stirring until smooth. Pour the dressing over the bowl and add any desired toppings just before serving.
More Vegan Dinner Recipes:
- Vegan Sweet Potato Peanut Soup
- Coconut Braised Chickpeas and Spinach
- Gnocchi Skillet with Tomatoes and Sausage
- Eggplant Curry
- Thai Peanut Noodle Stir Fry
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 red onion, sliced into wedges
- 2 large sweet potatoes, halved
- 3 bunches fresh kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- Preheat the oven to 425 °F.
- Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over sweet potatoes and onion. Spread on a baking sheet, with the sweet potatoes skin side down.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then flip sweet potatoes and bake an additional 10 minutes, until sweet potatoes are cooked yet firm.
- While sweet potatoes are baking, prepare the kale and chickpeas. Place the kale in a large skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle with half a teaspoon of salt, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. When the kale is bright green and wilted, remove it from the skillet and set aside.
- Pour out any accumulated liquid from the kale and add the chickpeas to the skillet. Sprinkle with the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper (if using), and remaining half teaspoon of salt. Stir the chickpeas well to combine with the spices. Add the additional tablespoon of olive oil and sauté, stirring frequently. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until chickpeas are golden brown.
- To make the tahini sauce, combine the tahini, maple syrup, and lemon juice in a small mixing bowl. Whisk with a fork to combine, slowly pouring in the hot water while whisking until the desired consistency is reached.
- To serve, cut the sweet potatoes into bite sized cubes. Mix with the onions, kale, and chickpeas, and drizzle with the tahini sauce.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then pat them dry with a paper towel before adding them to the skillet. Dry chickpeas will get crispier.
- Add further toppings as desired: suggestions include toasted nuts, seeds, crumbled feta, or avocado slices.
- All components of this bowl can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 4 days. Before serving, heat the sweet potatoes, kale, and chickpeas in the oven at 350 °F for 10 minutes until warmed through. Microwave the dressing for 20-30 seconds to just take off the chill, stirring until smooth. Pour the dressing over the bowl and add any desired toppings just before serving.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 600Total Fat: 31gCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 18gSugar: 17gProtein: 20g
This recipe was originally shared in January 2013 and updated with new photos and more helpful tips in October 2023.