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Friday, December 21, 2012

Chickpea Melt

It's cold and snowy and dark out, so that can only mean one thing- it's time for comfort food!  Also, it's December in Michigan.
If you've never had chickpea salad, you need to stop what you're doing and make some immediately.  (OK, well maybe finish reading this post and the attached recipe first.)  When I decided to go vegan, one the first books I read was "Breaking the Food Seduction" by Dr. Neal Barnard (I still want to marry that man).  The nutrition information in that book is awesome, and I recommend that you read it, but the recipes in the back are even awesomer. 
The recipes, provided by Joanne Stepaniak, are easy to follow for a beginner vegan.  Her chickpea salad recipe is what I loosely based this one on.  However, I rarely make this salad the same way twice.  So consider the salad recipe sort of a template for you to follow and add to in any way you please.
Chickpea salad reminds me of a mayo-based chicken salad.  I usually eat it cold as either a sandwich or a wrap.  But seeing as it was already cold and dreary out, I thought I'd make it hot.  I suppose a traditional "melt" would have some sort of cheese on it (which would make it even more of a comfort food) but I didn't have any.  If you're feeling fancy, you should definitely add a slice.

Chickpea salad:
15 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
3 Tbsp vegan mayo (I used Nasoya brand)
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp dill
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional additions:
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Curry powder

8 slices bread
More mayo
Spinach or lettuce
Cooking spray

In a medium sized mixing bowl, mash the chickpeas leaving very few whole.  This is easiest done with a potato masher (weapon of mash destruction!), preferably metal.
Stir in the remaining salad ingredients, jazzing it up in any way you see fit.
To make the sandwiches, spread two mayo on two slices of bread.  Scoop sandwich filling onto one of the slices of bread.  Add spinach or what have you, and top with remaining slice of bread.  Heat a small skillet to medium heat.  Spray one side of the sandwich with cooking spray, and place it sprayed-side down in the skillet.  Now spray the not-yet-sprayed side, and cook on each side about 3 minutes, or until browned, not burned (unless that's your thing, then yay go you).
Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Since I was in the mood to comfort myself with food, I also made these awesome mini banana muffins!
I used a recipe from "The Joy of Vegan Baking" by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.  I made several substitutions, though.  I used whole wheat flour instead of white flour, 1/4 cup less sugar, applesauce instead of oil, omitted the chocolate chips, and added walnuts and pumpkin pie spice.  So they're almost healthy!  (I totally put butter on mine, for added comfort.)


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