Happy new year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday filled with lots of fun and (of course) good food. I had a busy holiday but it was a wonderful one indeed. Scott is originally from Florida so we usually go down for a week or so and spend Christmas with his family. Since I recently took quite a bit of time off for our Europe trip, I couldn't swing taking much more time off work for the holiday. Scott flew down a few days before me and I ended up flying down to Florida on Christmas day. By the way....if you have never flown on Christmas day and are wondering if the airports are busy or not, I can tell you that they ARE. The airports are BUSY. The Columbus airport was not obnoxiously busy but my flight to Atlanta (for a layover) was packed. The Atlanta airport was just as busy as it is any other day. And here I thought I would be the only crazy person flying on Christmas day. Nope.
The nice thing about flying down to Florida on Christmas day was that I got to spend time with my family which I have not done in the past few years. My parents live in Columbus but my 2 brothers live in different cities, so it was so nice to be able to hang out with them during the holidays. All in all, we had a fantastic holiday. We stayed busy in Florida but were able to relax a bit and soak up some warm sun. I felt like I got the best of both worlds - spending time with my family AND Scott's family for the holidays!
Now that the holidays are over it is back to the real life grind. My work is getting busy right now with no real sight of slowing down in the foreseeable future. It's a good thing I like what I do! I work in a brand new state of the art Wellness facility which just officially opened in December. We are still taking care of little details - including the fact that we don't have a microwave for employees yet. LOL. I am told we will get one soon but until then I have had to get a little creative when it comes to packing my lunch. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I'm all about making homemade soups for lunches - especially during winter. When I am home, I prefer to reheat soup in a pot on the stove but when I am working I usually rely on a microwave. No microwave means that soup is off limits for work lunches right now. Most days I have been bringing big salads or the old faithful peanut butter sandwich.
This week I wanted something different. While I was thinking about some different lunch ideas this weekend, I started thinking about chicken salad. Let me remind you...I don't even eat chicken. It's not the chicken I wanted, but the delightfully fresh and crunchy celery and sweet juicy diced grapes mixed in a creamy sauce. I have seen recipes for mock tuna and chicken salad using chickpeas in the past but had never tried it myself.
Yesterday I tried my hand at it for the first time and wow it turned out amazing. Mashed chickpeas yield the perfect texture and provide a good source of protein, which is so important for keeping me full and productive for the rest of the work day. I wanted to include traditional ingredients like green onion, celery, and grapes but add my own twist with the addition of dill pickles and orange bell pepper. I used vegan mayo (Earth Balance) and Dijon mustard for the sauce with some garlic, dried dill, and lemon juice for some added flavor.
It somehow reminded me of the chicken salad my grandma used to make for me when I was young. That in itself made me fall in love with this dish.
Isn't it amazing how food can trigger memories?
Scott and I scarfed these sandwiches up! The salad was fabulous on this whole grain multigrain bread however were also delicious served in iceberg lettuce cups. I only made one batch just in case it didn't turn out well but it ended up being so good that we made a second trip to the store last night to get another couple cans of chickpeas. Looks like our lunches just got majorly upgraded!
Basically....no soup, no microwave, no problem.
Healthy Chickpea "Chicken" Salad
Inspired by and adapted from the "Perfected Chickpea Salad" in the Oh She Glows cookbook
|Makes 3 servings|
- 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup orange bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup dill pickle, finely chopped
- 2-3 green onions, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped grapes
- 2 1/2 Tbsp vegan mayonnaise (or regular mayo)
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp dried dill
- 1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
- black pepper, to taste
- In a large bowl, mash the chickpeas with a potato masher until flaky in texture.
- Stir in the celery, bell pepper, pickle, onion, grapes, mayonnaise, garlic, and dill and stir until combined.
- Next, stir in the mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and stir again until combined.
- Serve on toasted whole grain bread, on crackers, in a lettuce wrap, or tortilla.
*Use a serrated knife to cut the grapes. It will make your life so much easier...trust me!