As a longtime vegetarian, sandwiches have never been a staple food for me. Yes, there are countless variations of veggies and cheese between slices of bread, but they still make a veggie-and-cheese sandwich. When that’s your only option, it’s not that exciting. In the summer I’ll never turn down the caprese combo of ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and vivid green basil on some crisp-crusted bread, and I’ve been known to chow down my share of baguettes stuffed with cheese, but usually… meh.
So when I say that I ate this sandwich four times in two weeks, I want you to know this is serious business. The only reason I delayed so long in posting it is because I sort of hate the photos. I half-heartedly snapped a few pictures while I mixed the filling up, got one of the sandwich itself, and then completely forgot about anything except stuffing my face with my delicious lunch.
And I did make it again. I packed up the bread, the salad, and the toppings in plastic tubs and took them to the zoo for a picnic. Then I ran out of chickpeas and my sandwich binge ended (about the time I picked up my body weight in CSA greens, so it may be for the best). So please, don’t let the lame pictures deter you from trying this sandwich. I hadn’t really even been a “salad sandwich” kind of girl, but this one is a keeper.
Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) are a great source of fiber, protein, and iron. You can use canned beans to make it quick, but I like to keep the sodium and tin-can taste out of mine. Every so often I soak a cup or two of dried beans overnight, then cook them in fresh water for an hour or so the next day. I let them cool and keep them in the fridge or freezer covered with the cooking liquid, then just rinse and drain before using. Some I freeze flat in smaller amounts in plastic bags so I don’t have to defrost a large amount for something small — like this!
The amounts listed for this recipe are not specific measurements, they are more accurately the approximate amount I think I put in to taste. I like a lot of contrast in my food — creamy, crunchy, sweet, sour — with individual textures and flavors standing out. So play around! With a tasty base, it can only get more delicious. And it beats the old “veggie-and-cheese.”
Chickpea Salad Sandwich
Makes about 2 sandwiches
I found that the chickpeas are easier to mash when room temperature or warmer. If you want to take the sandwich to work or on a picnic, pack the bread and salad separately to prevent sogginess. If you really hate your coworkers, add an extra clove of garlic.
4 slices bread, lightly toasted
1/2-2/3 cup cooked chickpeas, warm or at room temperature
1/4 cup minced celery
2 tablespoons minced onion or shallot
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice (cut off 1/3 of the lemon and squeeze it over the salad, taste, and adjust)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
roasted red pepper
1.) Rinse and drain chickpeas, then place them in a bowl. Mash them lightly with a fork or potato masher, just until broken. Add the rest of the ingredients except the oil and stir well. Add oil last and mix until coated. Spoon onto toasted bread with other toppings as desired.