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. 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.
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.
What’s the Best Sandwich Bread?
On the same shopping excursion, I found a fantastic loaf of seedy wholegrain 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 wholegrain 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.
How to 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. Use leftovers in a salad or spread on crackers for an easy 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
- Cauliflower Steak Sandwiches with Red Pepper Aioli
- Grilled Cheese with Mozzarella, Red Peppers, and Arugula
- Curried Chicken Salad with Mango
- Tarragon Egg Salad
- White Bean and Tuna Salad
Chickpea Salad Sandwich
- 1 (15 ounces) can 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
Mash the chickpeas:
In a medium bowl with a potato masher, coarsely mash the chickpeas.
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.
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.
Slice the sandwich in half or leave it whole and serve with chips or a side 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 hearty snack.