Smoky Paprika Chicken and Crispy Chickpeas Over Escarole Salad


The contrast between cool, lemony greens, warm spice-rubbed chicken and crispy oven-baked chickpeas makes this main-course salad especially satisfying. Any sturdy salad green would be delicious here, from crunchy romaine to torn spinach leaves and thinly sliced cabbage.

Salad with Crispy Chickpeas Recipe
Photo: Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Sarah Elizabeth Cleveland
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 10 mins



  • 1 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 head escarole, roughly torn

  • 2 cups watercress, tough stems removed (from 1 bunch)

  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and shaved into thin strips using a vegetable peeler

  • 3 small radishes, trimmed and very thinly sliced


Prepare the Crispy Chickpeas and Chicken

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Stir together smoked paprika, cumin, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne in a small bowl.

  2. Place chickpeas on a small rimmed baking sheet lined with several layers of paper towels; pat dry. Transfer dry chickpeas to a medium bowl; add 3 tablespoons of the oil and 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture, and stir to coat. Spread chickpeas in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper; reserve the bowl. Bake, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 45 minutes.

  3. While chickpeas bake, add chicken and remaining 3 tablespoons oil to bowl with remaining 2 tablespoons spice mixture; toss to coat. Arrange chicken in a single layer on a small rimmed baking sheet, and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Add chicken to oven during last 15 minutes of the chickpea baking time, and bake until a thermometer inserted into the center of a chicken thigh registers 165°F, about 15 minutes. Remove chickpeas and chicken from oven, and let stand 10 minutes. Shred chicken with two forks.

Prepare the Salad

  1. Whisk together oil, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a very large bowl. Add escarole, watercress, carrots, and radishes; toss gently to coat. Divide salad among 4 large plates; top evenly with chicken and crispy chickpeas and serve immediately.

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