Chickpea "Chicken" Salad

Chickpea "Chicken" Salad Recipe by The Nourished Mama.

I think I've made a batch of this chickpea salad almost every week for two months straight now. I can't quit it. It is so easy...and so delicious. To me, it tastes like a cross between chicken salad and egg salad: two ingredients I went four years without. I must be making up for lost salad sandwich time. (I do some eggs now, but not enough to feed my crazy salad sandwich obsession.)

I feed it to my omnivore friends. They've all asked for the recipe. I feed it to my husband (who formerly hated chicken or tuna salad, among a very long list of other foods he "used to hate.") I feed it to my three-year old...in fact, he asked for it for lunch today...again. But mostly, I feed it to me. And I will admit to you...and only you, that I like it best on a soft piece of Mrs. Baird's Honey Wheat bread, folded in half, just like I give my preschooler. I'm usually an Ezekiel Bread girl, but something about this sandwich calls for soft pliable near tasteless bread. Maybe it's because it reminds me of my childhood, where tuna fish salad sandwiches on Wonder Bread were a staple, or maybe it's simply because I want the flavor of the salad to really be the star. YOU can eat it on a salad, on hearty sprouted grains toast, in a pita pocket, on a buttery croissant...but for now I'll stick with my 21 ingredient preservative-filled bread. Don't judge me.

Picnic lunch with friends at the Arboretum. Make sure you pack an extra sandwich, because every time I've brought them to a playdate, a mom has selflessly packed her kid's lunch but not her own. I intentionally throw in an extra on playdates to share now.

Picnic lunch with friends at the Arboretum. Make sure you pack an extra sandwich, because every time I've brought them to a playdate, a mom has selflessly packed her kid's lunch but not her own. I intentionally throw in an extra on playdates to share now.

The Goya brand chickpeas are my favorite ones, especially for this dish. They are softer than some of the other brands and seasoned more (read: saltier). Goya foods (at least in Texas) are generally found all together near the Mexican foods section of your grocery store. If you prefer to cook your own, then cook them so they are nice and soft and will squish with just your fingers.

Just like when I used to make tuna salad, I almost never make this exactly the same. I just sprinkle a little of this, toss in a little of that. Because I like to sneak greens in when I can, I do almost always use chopped spinach. It makes me feel better about eating all that mayo and processed bread. Feel free to modify it and make it your own.

Chickpea "Chicken" Salad

  • 2 15-oz cans of chickpeas or garbanzo beans (Goya brand recommended)
  • 4-6 tablespoons mayonnaise (I use and prefer the taste and texture of Vegenaise)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Optional Mix-Ins
    • Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute
    • Grapes, halved or quartered
    • Green apples, diced small
    • Green onions, chopped
    • Spinach, chopped fine
    • Purple onion, diced small
    • Parsley, chopped
    • Kosher pickles, chopped (I like the small kosher pickles)

Rinse and drain the chickpeas and put in a flat bottomed bowl or container. Use a potato masher or fork to mash the chickpeas just a little. Don't mash them into mush, just mash them enough for it to kind of stick together, you can even leave some whole.

Stir in Vegenaise or mayonaisse a tablespoon at a time until it binds all the chickpeas together and is as moist as you like.

Stir in seasonings gradually, tasting as you go.

Stir in any optional mix-ins. You can eat it right away, but I like it best after it has been chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours. 

Enjoy between your carb of choice or over a bed of lettuce.

Makes enough for about 10 sandwich halves.

Keeps for three days refrigerated in airtight container.

Jackson's lunch on his first day in the three's class at his two-day preschool. We have a peanut-free class this year, so I think we'll be doing a lot of Chickpea Salad Sandwiches.

Jackson's lunch on his first day in the three's class at his two-day preschool. We have a peanut-free class this year, so I think we'll be doing a lot of Chickpea Salad Sandwiches.

If you try out the Chickpea Salad Sandwiches, let me know what you think and what mix-ins you can't do without! What's your favorite salad sandwich: tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad, or chickpea salad?

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