I rarely feel limited on a vegetarian diet, but I’ll admit, sometimes it just seems so easy to throw together a meal when meat is the central focus. My husband will often make big batch of chicken salad on Sunday, and I am admittedly always a little jealous at how easily his leftovers can be transformed into a week’s worth of lunches.
I try to make my lunches as easy as possible by packing up last night’s dinner leftovers, but it doesn’t always work out — I mean, what if there’s not enough left? And then I’m scrambling for something else, or buying lunch the next day, which I HATE to do.
But the beginning of the school year always ushers in myriad articles, blog posts, and features on innovative and/or trendy lunch ideas (see: bento boxes). And thus I stumbled across this life-altering post: chickpea “tuna” salad. GENIUS! How had I never thought of such a thing?!
But to be honest, tuna salad is not exactly something I wistfully long for. I never was exactly a fan to begin with, so why would I want to recreate it? So I tried the original recipe, and while it was good, and recommended if you like mayonnaise and what not, I thought I’d tweak this a little more to my taste with some curry seasoning instead.
Of course, this recipe is amazing in that you can change it and season it however you’d like. Today, I thought I’d switch things up and use some Penzey’s Turkish seasoning instead. I also was recently served this recipe for a Greek/Middle Eastern chickpea salad with cucumber and feta, and it was amazing and would totally work in this format too.
Curry-spiced chickpea salad
2 cups chickpeas, cooked in salted water with turmeric (or, one can of chickpeas)
1 large or 2 medium red bell peppers, diced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 medium or 1/2 large red onion, diced
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1-2 tablespoons Greek yogurt (can be omitted for a vegan version)
Salt, pepper to taste
If you are starting with dried chickpeas, cook them with salt and a dash of turmeric in the water, until they can easily be mashed in your hand.
Place directly into a storage container and mash with a potato masher or fork until chickpeas are a little more textured, no longer round, but not quite pureed yet.
Add the veggies, oil and yogurt, and stir to combine.
Season to taste. Be sure to salt it adequately. I like to make my own fresh curry powder with about 1t cumin seed, 1t coriander seed, about 5 cardamon pods, and a bit of whole black pepper, toasted in a skillet and then crushed in a mortar and pestle with some fenugreek, garlic powder and ginger powder. If it’s not hot enough for you, add a bit of cayenne powder. Adjust seasoning accordingly.
Serve on a sandwich or wrap with some lettuce — how easy was that?