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I Tried The Viral TikTok ‘Baked Salad’ & It’s Peak Winter Comfort Food

January 14, 2024
Rebecca Strong / Clean Plates

As the temperatures drop, many of us naturally start seeking out heartier meals — trading summer’s light, refreshing salads for thick, hearty stews and pasta dishes. But what if I told you that your salads can be just as comforting? The trick, according to popular TikTok recipe developer and blogger Justine Doiron, is to throw all the ingredients in the oven. After she shared her viral “baked salad” recipe in October of 2023, the search skyrocketed to 29 million views and counting on TikTok.

Here are my honest thoughts on how my first baked salad turned out — plus some handy tips for how to make your own.

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baked salad base ingredients on a plate

Rebecca Strong / Clean Plates

How to make baked salad

Doiron has posted recipes for several iterations of baked salad, which have included kale, cabbage, carrot, and lots of other delicious seasonal veggies. But the one that caught my eye was her Brussels sprouts baked salad, which incorporated crispy chickpeas in crumb form, shaved roasted Brussels sprouts, and a garlicky herb-infused tahini sauce.

Here are Doiron’s instructions for this recipe:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice 5 cups of Brussels sprouts lengthwise into semi-thick shavings. Spread the Brussels sprouts out onto a separate baking sheet and toss with olive oil and salt.
  3. Drain and rinse one 15-ounce can of chickpeas, and then add them to a food processor and pulse until chopped. They should look like extra-large breadcrumbs — not so fine that they’re flour, but broken up enough to create some “textural interest,” as Doiron puts it.
  4. Now spread the chickpeas out onto a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle on your desired seasoning. Doiron used olive oil and za’atar salt, I used avocado oil, garlic salt, and black pepper. Toss the chickpeas until they’re evenly coated.
  5. Place the chickpeas and Brussels sprouts in the oven, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. If you can remember, shake them halfway through to make sure they’re extra crispy on all sides.
  6. To make the dressing, mince or grate two cloves of garlic. Open a tin of anchovies and add the oil from the tin to a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the oil is hot, add the anchovies to the pan. After the anchovies melt into the oil, add the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Add this paste to a bowl with ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, 1/2 cup tahini, and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Stir the ingredients to combine, and add water as needed to thin it out.
  7. When the Brussels sprouts are done roasting, toss them in the salad dressing. Add them to a bowl and top with the crispy chickpea crumbs and 1/2 ounce freshly grated parmesan (the cheese is optional).

Note: This is a perfect light lunch, but to up the protein and make my salad a bit more satiating for dinner, I served it over a bed of quinoa. You could also add tofu, hard-boiled egg, or roasted or grilled chicken.

I also opted to chop my Brussels sprouts into quarters rather than shaving them, because I just prefer the resulting texture that way.

Not a fan of anchovies? Or maybe you’re vegetarian or vegan? Capers or olives are both great substitutes.

My husband likes his meals spicy, so he sprinkled a dash of red pepper flakes onto his salad and said it really kicked things up a notch. You could also add red pepper to the chickpea crumbs before roasting them.

adding ingredients to viral baked salad

Rebecca Strong / Clean Plates

My honest review

Not to be dramatic, but this recipe is life-changing. Truly, I’d give it a 12/10. If you need me, I’ll be in my kitchen making baked salads all winter long.

Flavorful, filling, and packed with fiber, it’s one of those rare meals that are equally as tasty as they are nourishing. Another perk is that you can really add whatever random produce you need to use up in your fridge. For example, a few nights after I tried this recipe for the first time, I made it again but added some chopped romaine for a Caesar-like take, and drizzled extra dressing over the top (pictured above).

The best part of the baked salad recipe, IMHO, is the chickpea crumbs. Why, oh why, have I never thought to put them in a food processor before baking them? They add such a satisfying crunch that really ties the whole meal together.

After letting them cool, I stored some of the leftover chickpea crumbs in a Ziploc bag — and can’t wait to use them to top other salads, soups, and grain bowls this week.

Other baked salad recipes to try

The beauty of a baked salad is that there are endless possibilities for what veggies to include. In fact, I’d venture to say that you don’t have to have the same baked salad twice this season.

Need some inspiration? Doiron has quite a few other baked salad recipes on her blog and TikTok, including:

Other food bloggers and TikTok influencers have been following suit, too. Here are some of their baked salad recipes:

Read next: I Tried Making the Viral TikTok Carrot Bacon — Here Are My Honest Thoughts

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