January 28, 2013

Chickpea "Chicken" Salad, Sweet Potato Oven Fries

Chickpea "chicken" salad, sweet potato oven fries, apple wedges
If you Google mock chicken salad or mock tuna salad, you'll get about a billion recipes for chickpea-based salads. Let me nip in the bud any impulse you might have to shop around: this recipe is the best one.

Almost all other mock-chicken salad recipes include mayonnaise (or Veganaise), to try and reproduce the creaminess of the original dish. I'm not a fan of commercial mayonnaise for a bunch of reasons (refined soybean oil, gluey splattering out of those upside down squeeze bottles, etc.), but what really makes me scratch my head is that mashed chickpeas are already creamy, so why mess with that? Adding gloppy mayonnaise to the mix just makes it, well, gloppy.

This version uses Dijon mustard, fresh-squeezed lemon juice and a swirl of extra-virgin olive oil to make a zesty, fresh dressing in a salad that gets its creaminess from the all-important legumes.

We all love this stuff. Darwin sometimes pauses mid-crunch to declare, "celery!" because that's just the kind of enthusiastic kid he is. I hope your family enjoys it just as much!

Chickpea "Chicken" Salad
(Serves 4)

3 cups cooked chickpeas, cooled, rinsed, and drained (canned is OK)
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
3 Tbls. fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbls. Dijon mustard
swirl of extra virgin olive oil (1 Tbls or less)
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl, mash chickpeas with a fork or potato masher until creamy. Stir in celery and onion.

In a small dish, whisk together lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper. Drizzle over chickpea mixture and stir until well-combined.

Serve a scoop on top of a green salad, inside a sandwich with lettuce and tomato, or plain. Enjoy!

Delicious variations: We've added shredded carrots, diced apples, curry powder (like curried chicken salad!) and other minced veggies with great success.


In other chickpea news, here's a dinner from earlier in the week that feature Smitten Kitchen's recipe for Chana Masala. This is in our regular rotation--we love a good spiced curry!

Chana masala, Mozzarella cheese, fresh berries, garlic curly kale

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