Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Cooking for TwoSandwichQuick and EasyVegetarianChickpea

Lunch just got easier. Pop open a can of chickpeas and make this vegetarian take on a chicken salad sandwich. It uses pantry staples and its loaded with fiber and protein. The best part? It’s delicious and it’s ready in about 15 minutes.

Photography Credit: Sally Vargas | Art Banner Credit: Elena Resko

Our “Cooking for Two” series is all about those of us who love good food but need smaller batches. Maybe you’re single or coupled but with no kids (no kids, before kids, after kids). Whatever the reason, you don’t necessarily want a lot of leftovers hanging around. We had you in mind when we developed these recipes.

I love this vegetarian “non-chicken”chicken salad sandwich! It’s got everything I love about a chicken salad or tuna salad sandwich, but without the animal protein. On the face of it, it seems almost too simple to be that good, but to be honest I was pretty wowed by how tasty chickpeas are in a sandwich.

My skeptical better half, a die-hard meat and potatoes guy, was even more impressed when I sprung this on him. It’s a quick sandwich to make for an impromptu lunch for two — serve it with soup, salad, or my favorite indulgence, potato chips! It’s quick, easy, and satisfying.

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CHICKPEAS: THE PERFECT PANTRY STAPLE

Mashed chickpeas, which are also called garbanzo beans, are like a blank slate. They assume the flavors of creamy mayonnaise and piquant mustard and complement the textures of crunchy celery and almonds.

Finish this sandwich with layers of buttery avocado, tomato slices, and greens to make a main course meal. Plain old lettuce is just fine here, but I happened upon some baby watercress on my shopping day. Its spiciness added a little extra zing to the sandwich.

Side view of two easy chickpea sandwiches stacked on a plate with chips. The filling includes chickpea salad, sprouts and tomato.

WHAT’S THE BEST SANDWICH BREAD?

On the same shopping excursion, I found a fantastic loaf of seedy whole-grain bread from a local bakery. It was the icing on the cake for this quick-to-come-together sandwich.

The right bread makes a simple sandwich that is fit for a king. If you can find a good sourdough or hearty whole-grain bread in your market, go for it! It’s definitely worth the splurge.

POSSIBLE SWAPS AND SUBSTITUTIONS

Consider this recipe as a guideline—you could swap out different greens, like spinach or arugula, for the watercress or add chopped apples for a little sweetness and crunch instead of or along with the celery.

I would stick to chickpeas here, but other additions or substitutions could enhance your sandwich. Instead of capers, use some of your favorite chopped pickles, or add a few sliced radishes or grated carrots along with the greens when you assemble the sandwiches.

Ingredients for an easy sandwich recipe. Bowls include: almonds, canned chickpeas, capers, mustard, mayonnaise, sprouts, lemon, celery and tomatoes.

HOW SCALE IT UP OR MAKE IT AHEAD

The filling makes enough for about two sandwiches, but depending on the size of your bread slices, you may have some leftover. Have it in salad or spread it on crackers for a snack!

If you have a crowd to feed, by all means, double the recipe. The filling keeps well in the fridge for at least three days.

To prevent the bread from becoming soggy, don’t assemble the sandwiches more than four hours ahead of time.

MORE EASY SANDWICH RECIPES

Chickpea Salad Sandwich Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pinches of black pepper
  • 4 slices sandwich bread
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 tablespoons roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 2 to 4 tomato slices
  • Handful of watercress or other greens, such as lettuce, arugula, or spinach

Method

1 Mash the chickpeas: In a medium bowl with a potato masher, coarsely mash the chickpeas.

Canned chickpeas are mashed in a glass bowl with a potato masher next to it.

2 Make the filling: Add the celery, capers, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and mustard to the bowl. Taste and add a pinch each of salt and pepper.

A glass mixing bowl is filled with vegetarian chickpea salad to make an easy sandwich recipe.

3 Assemble the sandwiches: Set 2 pieces of sandwich bread on a cutting board. On one slice of bread, mash 1/4 avocado. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

Top with a spoonful of the chickpea salad and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the almonds. Add a tomato slice or two, greens of your choice, and top with the second slice of bread. Repeat to make the second sandwich.

A slice of bread is topped with mashed avocado on a cutting board. A second slice is to the left. Chickpea salad is on top of a slice of bread and topped wth chopped almonds. A slice of sandwich bread is to the left. Vegetarian "chicken" salad sandwich on a cutting board. Green sprouts are on top of the chickpeas and tomato on a slice of bread. The other slice of bread is to the left. One chickpea salad sandwich on whole grain bread on a cutting board.

5 Enjoy: Slice the sandwich in half or leave it whole and serve with chips or a salad.

Leftovers! You may have extra chickpea salad depending on the size of your bread. Enjoy it the next day in a salad, with crackers or on a single slice of bread for a snack.

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Sally Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas is a freelance writer and the author of three cookbooks (Food for Friends, The Tao of Cooking, Ten Speed Press, and The Cranberry Cookbook). She currently writes the column The Confident Cook for The Boston Globe along with seasonal recipes for the Wednesday Food Section.

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3 Comments / Reviews

No ImageChickpea Salad Sandwich

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Sandy S.

    This is such a delicious new combination of flavors and textures! Love the addition of capers! On day two I added 2 cups of chopped mixed greens and the other 1/2 of the avocado to what was left of the chickpea spread and had a perfectly scrumptious salad. Will be making again!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Christine

    Made this for myself and my daughter. We loved it! I used everything but capers since we didn’t have any. We used the avocado as a topping. This was delicious and is our new favorite lunch.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Mai Ung

    Thank you posted for the recipe, I love sandwiches , the difference kind off favor, and also i like serve with soups.

Side view of chickpea salad sandwich on a plate with chips.Chickpea Salad Sandwich