Thursday, April 15, 2010

Chickpea-artichoke salad

Why yes, when I'm in my office, I do eat my lunch off of an old frisbee that a dog chewed on, decreasing its flyability but not affecting its plate-ishness.

This is a salad in the style of egg salad or tuna salad, not a green salad or even a lentil salad. And it is also the answer to a prayer. OK, maybe it's not that dramatic, but I've been looking for a good savory sandwich spread. Sandwiches are a cheap, easy lunch to throw together in the morning, but as a vegetarian, I often feel limited to peanut butter and jelly. While it's good once in a while, I find that I don't really like sweet lunches. Egg salad and pimento cheese are also good sandwich spreads, but they can be pretty heavy, and the calories add up quickly. (I don't count or try to limit my calories, but I also don't like to throw them around like they're nothing, and eating pimento cheese for lunch every day adds up.) I felt like chickpeas should be an integral part of my ideal sandwich spread, but I couldn't figure out what would go with them. Mashed up chickpeas and mayo just didn't sound appealing. Then this month's Vegetarian Times had the answer: Chunky chickpea-artichoke salad. It's made with jarred or canned artichoke hearts, and the artichoke texture really makes the whole mixture remind me of tuna salad. (I don't eat much tuna salad these days, so take it with a grain of salt.) I used chickpeas I had cooked because I think the texture would be too mushy using canned chickpeas.

I like to eat it on homemade pumpernickel bread with sprouts and/or lettuce. Relatedly, if anyone has a really good pumpernickel recipe for a bread machine, I'd love to try it. The one I'm using has a great flavor but is very short and dense. I know a high-rye bread is not going to rise like a wheat bread, but I'd like a little more rise without sacrificing flavor or too much texture. I tried adding more yeast and a little gluten, but it didn't do much good.
When I'm not eating my food off a frisbee, I sometimes use a paper towel from the bathroom.

I think I have found my lunch solution for the days when I don't have leftovers. Yippee!

Chickpea-artichoke salad
adapted from Vegetarian Times
This recipe is vegan if you use a vegan mayonnaise replacement.

1 16-oz jar artichoke hearts packed in water, drained
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 15-oz can)
1/4 cup chopped green onions, green and white parts, plus a little more of the green parts for garnish
1/4 cup chopped cornichons or other slightly sweet pickles
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper (I omitted it because peppers are kind of expensive at the supermarket right now, but they'd probably be good)
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay*
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Combine all ingredients (except green onion garnish) and pulse in food processor until desired texture has been reached. Serve like you would tuna salad. Garnish with remaining green parts of green onion if desired.

*I had never heard of Old Bay seasoning, so I just sprinkled various spices I thought would be good in: black pepper, marjoram, tarragon, dill, thyme, oregano. I plan on playing with the spices to vary the salad a little each time. I think a lot of different spices and spice combinations could be used to good effect. Next time I might try smoked paprika, garlic powder, and cumin.


The Accessory Lady said...

This sounds heavenly! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. Chickpeas and artichokes are two of my favorites. I never thought of putting them together. :-)

Connie Fletcher said...

I just have to tell you that this recipe is one of my new favorites!! And with Susan's (Fat Free Vegan) Cashew/Tofu's just a bit of heaven!!!