A few weeks ago, my husband Rob and I were flying from Dallas to Seattle some time in the morning. Earlier in the am while still at home, I packed a couple of chickpea salad sandwiches and a little container of baby carrots so that we had something to eat on that 4-hour flight. The idea was to avoid the stress of searching for vegan-friendly food at the airport while running from one plane to another. As soon as the first midmorning hunger pangs struck, we unwrapped our sandwiches and dug in. After a few bites, Rob’s face lit up and he told me: ‘These are SOOO GOOD!’ For the rest of the meal, he kept complimenting his sandwich after virtually every bite! He even said that he felt bad for the rest of the people on the plane because they had no idea what they were missing out on! I made these sandwiches before, but for some reason Rob appreciated them so much more on that flight.
Since that day, I’ve been making the chickpea salad sandwiches at least once a week. Carrots turned out to be the perfect accompaniment!
The beauty of this chickpea salad is that it resembles the flavors and texture of tuna, chicken and egg salads (separate salads, of course!). Tuna salad sandwich used to be Rob’s go-to lunch option to bring to work before we went vegan. He was skeptical when I first introduced this chickpea salad into our lunch rotation, but it took just a few bites for him to find out that it’s good and filling. And a flight to Seattle to love it even more!
There’s been lots of versions of this salad posted all over the internet, but my version is as simple and delicious as it gets. No need to mess with perfection, right? (Ok, I’m kind of bragging again! 🙂 ) I’ve been using soy-free Vegenaise to bind all of the ingredients together, but if you prefer not to use packaged stuff from the store, you can try your hand at making homemade vegan mayo (Google is the best cookbook!).
By the way, if you’d like to change up this lunch recipe, you can use the chickpea salad in wraps, top salads with it, or eat as is! The latter option is very familiar to me since in Russia, where I grew up, mayo-based salads of this kind are hugely popular around the holidays. My version, however, is way healthier than what you’d normally see on a Russian holiday table!
Beans are loaded with nutrition, easy on the wallet, and very versatile for all kinds of cooking! In fact, regular bean consumption may be the one single predictor of a longer lifespan, as explained in this informative short video by Michael Greger, MD.
You can find lots of recipes featuring beans on My Recipes page.
All right, time to feast!
A simple and filling plant-based sandwich that's loaded with nutrition and fiber! Serve with carrot slices or a small salad for a complete lunch.
- 1 1/2 cups home-cooked chickpeas (here are some tips on cooking chickpeas at home), or 1 can drained and rinsed chickpeas
- 1/3 cup finely chopped pickles
- 1/3 cup finely chopped celery stalk
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onions
- 1/2 tsp kelp powder (optional, adds nutrition)
- 2-3 Tbsp vegan mayo (I use soy-free Vegenaise)
- 4-6 slices whole-grain bread, toasted
- 1/2 ripe avocado, sliced
- Spinach or lettuce leaves
- Mung bean/broccoli/alfalfa sprouts (optional)
- In a medium bowl, mash all of the chickpeas with a potato masher until almost all of the beans are broken down. A few whole chickpeas left is ok.
- Add the rest of the ingredients except mayo, mix well with a spoon.
- Add mayo (more or less to taste), mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning: adding more kelp will make chickpea salad taste more like tuna; more pickles will make it saltier.
- At this point, you can either let the chickpea salad rest in the fridge for at least an hour to let the flavors blend together, or serve it right away if you're pressed for time. I sometimes make the salad the night before I intend to serve it for lunch. The salad will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
- Toast bread slices (2 per sandwich). Spread sliced avocado on the top slices, cover with sprouts (if using) and lettuce/spinach leaves. Spread as much chickpea salad as you like on the bottom bread slices. Put both slices together to close the sandwich; enjoy!