Mash Up Chickpeas For A Delicious Meat-Free Alternative To Tuna Salad

Mashed chickpeas sandwich
Mashed chickpeas sandwich - Ildi Papp/Shutterstock

If you're tired of the same old tuna salad or never really liked it in the first place but want something similar, chickpeas are going to be a tremendous alternative for you. Besides being packed with vitamins, fiber, and lots of other healthy goodies, chickpeas also just taste great. They're essential ingredients in things like hummus and falafel and are fantastic protein-loaded meat replacements for vegetarians and vegans. And all you really need to do to make chickpeas tuna-like is mash them up.

Whole chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are small little nodules of compressed goodness. However, trying to wrangle individual beans onto sandwich bread can be a challenge to say the very least. By roughly mashing the chickpeas, either by hand or machine, you not only increase their surface area, you release their inner, nutty, almost meaty flavor. The mashed-up chickpeas will mix in better with the other ingredients and are more easily spreadable.

Now, what do you do with your mashed chickpea salad? Well, you could make yourself a sandwich, toss it with other greens and vegetables, mix it into pasta, or enjoy a light lettuce wrap. Either way, you've got yourself one tasty alternative to tuna salad, one that you can adapt with all sorts of different flavors.

Read more: Ingredient Substitutes Every Vegan Should Know

Traditional And Creative Flavors

Chickpea salad sandwich
Chickpea salad sandwich - Magdanatka/Shutterstock

There are a few different directions you could go with flavoring your chickpea-tuna salad. One of them is to stay traditional. Tuna salad typically has a few staple ingredients besides the fish. Diced celery, pickles, onions, mayonnaise, etc. Now, if you're looking to go really vegan you could use one of any mayonnaise substitutes out there. If, however, you're looking to replicate the flavor of tuna with chickpeas, you'll need to find some seaweed flakes. The seaweed brings some brine to the chickpeas, which, when combined with their natural meatiness, gives them an uncanny resemblance in flavor to tuna fish.

The other route you could take is one that is not so traditional. You could use tahini paste if you want a more hummus-like flavor. Vinegar and lemon juice also work very well with chickpeas, providing a decent amount of acidity to the meaty bean. Greek yogurt works well too. It's lighter than mayonnaise and serves as a great base for other herbs and spices.

In that realm, parsley, dill, coriander, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and any number of different herbs and spices will work well in a chickpea salad. You just need to determine what you want. If you want it to taste more like tuna, stick with traditional ingredients. If you want something else, experiment a bit. There is no wrong way to go about this.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.