A Spring Salad Recipe You’ll Crave

Maple-caramelized pears, sunflower seeds, and chickpeas are a winning (and filling) combination.

spring salad

Photo by Emily McLaughlin

You may still be rocking your heavy coat, but that doesn’t mean your diet has to stay in winter mode. This unique, vegan salad is the perfect way to liven up a boring lunch or dinner—and encourage spring to arrive, already.

Get your dose of protein from savory roasted chickpeas and sunflower seeds, then sweeten things up with maple-caramelized pears. To use your time efficiently, cook the pears while your chickpeas roast.

Roasted Chickpeas and Sunflower Seeds


1 can chickpeas
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper


Drain, rinse, and dry the chickpeas. If you have a lot of time—or are looking for a meditative task—remove the skin by rubbing each chickpea between your fingers, one at a time. This step is not necessary, but will allow the chickpeas to crisp better.

In a mixing bowl, combine the chickpeas, sunflower seeds, oil, and seasonings. Toss well, then spread everything on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Roast the chickpeas and sunflower seeds at 375 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes, tossing halfway through to allow for even cooking.

Remove from the oven and let cool.

Maple-Caramelized Pears


2 pears
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp maple syrup


Wash each pear and slice into thin pieces. Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pears and cook for about five minutes, or until they start to soften.

Add the maple syrup and turn the heat to high. Watch the pears carefully, and turn them as they start to brown. Cook for five to eight minutes, or until all of the pear slices start to brown and crisp. 

Pear Chickpea Salad


Roasted chickpeas and sunflower seeds
Maple-caramelized pears
6-8 cups mixed greens or baby spinach
1 cup carrots, chopped
Optional: ¼ cup dried cranberries, 1 cup chopped cucumber, or other favorite veggies


Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and toss. The juices and oil from the pears and chickpeas should be enough to dress the salad, but if you want extra dressing, mix 2 tsp maple syrup with 2 tsp melted coconut oil and toss.

If you’re looking to make this recipe more filling, cook one pound of skinless chicken thighs in a skillet with 2 tsp coconut oil and 1 Tbsp maple syrup. Duplicate the cooking process you used for the pears, adding the maple syrup after the coconut oil.