One of the things I missed after going vegetarian was chicken salad.
But one of the things I didn’t ever really like about chicken salad was the chicken…
So how does that even work?
The Perfect Substitute
I think what it comes down to is I really enjoyed the overall flavors, textures, and the general idea of chicken salad, even though I wasn’t crazy about the main ingredient.
Before going vegetarian, I never would have thought that chickpeas could be the answer to my chicken salad dilemma. But chickpeas are the perfect substitute for chicken (or tuna) in chicken (or tuna!) salad. And this vegan chickpea salad is case in point.
The mild flavor of chickpeas goes beautifully with the herbs, veggies, and apple—yes, I do believe that apples hold a necessary place in these types of salads!—that I used to love in chicken salad. Just mash the chickpeas up so they’re not whole, but still have some texture, mix in the Vegenaise (or mayonnaise), add the celery, dill, scallions, red onion, and a few seasonings, and you’ve got my vegan chickpea salad all ready for some quick and versatile meals or snacks.
My Favorite Ways to Serve
I love this vegan chickpea salad simply served over a bed of greens for a light lunch, or a just a spoonful served on top of Ritz crackers as a snack.
Open faced chickpeas salad melts are also fantastic with this recipe. But my favorite way to serve this salad is as a chickpea salad sandwich! A sandwich on some good sourdough bread with this vegan chickpea salad, thinly sliced tomatoes, and vegan cheddar (or regular cheddar) grilled in the frying pan is a quick, easy, and absolutely delicious meal I always look forward to.
These chickpea salad sandwiches are the perfect meal as we transition from summer into fall, so enjoy them this week! I know I certainly will. 😋
A Few Things!
My Favorite Spatula
The smaller size of this spatula makes it perfect for just about everything—from flipping these sandwiches to sautéing veggies, to taking cookies off the cookie sheet (its intended purpose). It’s no exaggeration to say that I use this spatula in the kitchen every day.
My Favorite Onion Salt
My favorite onion salt to use in general, and especially in this vegan chickpea salad, is the Trader Joe’s brand. It’s studded with dried herbs that really enhance this recipe. I was really surprised to discover that you can find Trader Joe’s onion salt on Amazon, so if If you don’t have a local Trader Joe’s, you can find their onion salt here [aff. link]!
Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
For the chickpea salad:
- 2 15 oz cans chickpeas, drained
- ⅓ cup celery, minced (about 2 celery stocks)
- 2 Tbsp red onion, minced
- 2 Tbsp fresh dill, minced
- 2 Tbsp scallions, thinly sliced
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion salt
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ apple, chopped (I recommend cutting the apple to very thin slices, then chopping those thin slices into ½ inch pieces)
- 3 Tbsp cashew pieces, toasted (optional)
- ⅓ cup Vegenaise or mayonnaise
- Sandwich bread, (I prefer sourdough here, and usually use 8 slices of bread, making a total of 4 sandwiches from this recipe.)
- Vegan Cheddar or Cheddar, (these sandwiches are also excellent without cheese)
- Olive oil, for frying
Mash the chickpeas
- To a large mixing bowl, add the chickpeas. With a potato masher, fork, or your hands, mash the chickpeas!
- Keep mashing until the chickpeas somewhat resemble tuna. Do not mash them to a smooth consistency like hummus, you still want some texture, but no whole chickpeas. (A few halves is great though!)
Add the Vegenaise and seasonings
- Now add the Vegenaise/mayonnaise, and stir it into the chickpeas.
- Now add ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp onion salt, and ½ tsp garlic powder. Mix until incorporated.
Add the apple, cashews, veggies and herbs
- Now add the apple, cashews (if using), celery, red onion, dill, and scallions, and stir until everything is incorporated into the chickpea mixture.
- Taste, and add more salt, if desired.
Make the sandwiches
- Spread a generous amount of the chickpea salad onto a slice of bread. Put a few tomato slices on top. Then layer the cheese on top of the tomatoes.
- Close the sandwich with another slice of bread.
Grill the sandwich
- Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until hot, about 1 minute.
- Add a sandwich to the skillet, and fry until the bread slice that is face down in the skillet turns golden brown, about 3 minutes.
- Flip the sandwich, and fry until the bread slice that is now face down in the skillet turns golden brown, about 3 minutes.
- Remove the sandwich from the skillet, and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to remove excess oil.
- Repeat with the other compiled sandwiches. (I usually get 4 sandwiches with the amount of chickpea salad this recipe makes.)
Serve and enjoy!
- Serve these sandwiches alone, with some greens, or potato chips, and enjoy!