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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Chickpea, Walnut & Currant Salad Sandwich (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free)



When I was a child, two of my mom's specialty lunches were her egg salad sandwich and chicken salad sandwich (and grilled cheese - omg, insanely delicious. I may have a weeee bit more trouble coming up with an alternative for that one but don't rule it out just yet!). Needless to say, they tasted oh so good. Since I don't eat animals anymore, I found myself kind of missing those types of sandwiches. I've seen others use chickpeas as a base for a sandwich filling and it inspired me to create a healthy and cruelty-free egg salad and chicken salad alternative. And boy oh boy did I hit the mark with this one! It undoubtedly satisfied my cravings. This salad is very reminiscent of my old favorites thanks to the creaminess of the chickpeas, crunch of the celery and subtle sweetness of the currants. The seasonings bring it all together providing a slight tangy flavor. You can enjoy it on gluten-free bread or on a tortilla or even on its own, which is just as delightful. And hey, it's officially spring now... this chickpea salad would be a perfect addition to a picnic lunch, just saying. ;-)

I would feel neglectful if I didn't mention the atrocities of modern egg factory farming. This is all truth. There is no grey area. No conflicting evidence. In America, hens are so tightly confined in battery cages stacked from floor to ceiling that they cannot even stretch their wings. These filthy, crowded conditions are a breeding ground for bacteria and thus food poisoning in the form of salmonella, which is commonly found in spent-hen meat. Chickens are also debeaked (without anesthesia) so that they don't peck each other to death as a result of the stressful environment they live in. The 100 million chickens per year that are no longer productive are slaughtered and then used for pet food, compost and school lunches (yes, you read that correctly). Every year, 200 million male chicks are ground up alive since they cannot lay eggs and do not grow fast enough to be sold for meat. This is not humane. Don't be fooled, cage-free eggs are not produced cruelty-free either. Many cage-free conditions are just as bad.

There are many egg substitutes out there, such as flaxseeds or chia seeds mixed with water, tofu, Ener-G egg replacer, bananas, and applesauce. In the case of an egg salad sub, chickpeas (a.k.a garbanzo beans) are a wonderful option because of their creaminess & mild flavor. In addition, they are loaded with fiber (1 cup = 12.5 grams of fiber), protein (1 cup = 15 grams of protein), iron, magnesium, folate, and manganese.

*I will be sending out my first free newsletter in May! It'll be packed with soul-boosters, a simple & utterly delicious mango cream dessert recipe. You don't want to miss it!  The sign-up form is on the top right of the home page of my blog.




Chickpea, Walnut & Currant Salad Sandwich

Yield: 3 servings

INGREDIENTS
• 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed *You can also use white beans like cannellini beans
• 2/3 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped/processed*
• 1 garlic clove, minced* 
• 2 stalks celery, finely chopped 
• 3 Tbs cilantro, finely chopped
• 1/4 cup currants (or chopped raisins or 2 pitted & chopped dates)
• 2 Tbs soy-free vegenaise
• 4 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
• 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
• Black pepper, to taste
Gluten-free bread or tortilla (optional)

DIRECTIONS
























*TIP: If using a food processor to chop the walnuts (which is much easier & quicker than manually chopping), first place the whole garlic clove in the processor to mince. Remove minced garlic with a spoon and set aside. Then, add the walnuts and process for a few seconds until crumbly. Be sure not to over process. The nuts should looked like they've been roughly chopped as shown in the picture above.

1. In a large mixing bowl, mash the chickpeas with a fork, leaving some pieces un-mashed.
2. Add in the rest of the ingredients (other than the bread, if using) and mix well.
3. Spoon desired amount of the chickpea salad mixture on the bread or the tortilla or enjoy on its own. Garnish with cilantro.

"Imagine living in a cage in the dark, unable to move, day after day. The suffering of today's American farm animals is almost beyond belief. They don't have a choice, but you do, and their lives depend on it." Casey Affleck

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