I secretly looove chicken salad; I just happen to not eat chicken. So as days become longer and the weather is looking more and more like spring, I am dreaming of warm weather-inspired meals outside of the hot soups Jon and I have been creating and eating all winter. You know, the stuff that ants carry away on their backs during picnics.
Salads. Salads come to mind when I think of warmer weather, and chicken salad is somewhat of a staple in the traditional American picnic. The cooling, light but filling effect that salads can have is one of my favorites in summer. . . not to mention the fact that “salad” is basically code for throwing anything you want all into one dish. I love mixing textures and flavors, I love the unparalleled variety that a salad can have, and I love its ability to introduce creativity and diversity into what I eat.
So this chickpea salad recipe is a fun spin on chicken salad – complete with chickpeas and cashew dill sauce (this stuff was amazing and so easy to make; it will make you feel extra-gourmet). It also happens to be vegan and gluten-free. I used cabbage to hold it all together in a fun wrap because 1.) We had a giant head of cabbage in our fridge, 2.) I like eating things in edible containers, i.e., wraps, sandwiches, etc., 3.) Cabbage is healthy! And the crunch is pretty satisfying.
Here’s the quick recipe. Keep in mind that the over 2 hour cook time is including the time it takes dried chickpeas to cook. If you prep these ahead of time and store in the fridge until you’re ready to make, this thing’ll take 20 minutes tops.
- Chickpea Salad
- 1.) Cabbage leaves for wraps
- 2.) 3/4 cup diced celery
- 3.) 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 4.) 2-3 cloves garlic, diced
- 5.) 1 cup shredded carrots
- 6.) 1.5 cups dried chickpeas/garbanzo beans
- 7.) 1-2 avocados, diced
- 8.) 1 red pepper, diced
- 9.) salt and pepper, to taste
- Cashew Dill Sauce
- 1.) 2 cups cashews
- 2.) Dill (dry or fresh), to taste
- 3.) Salt & pepper, to taste
- 4.) Juice from 2 lemons
- 5.) 1/2 cup of water - add until desired texture is reached
- 1.) Get chickpeas cooking right away! If you're using dried chickpeas (which I recommend), soak overnight and then cook on low for a couple hours until soft. You can even throw them on the stove a couple hours before you're really ready to start preparing the rest of this dish.
- 2.) Prep/chop/dice all ingredients
- 3.) Mix together chopped/shredded/diced celery, onion, garlic, carrot, avocado, red pepper, salt, and pepper in medium-large bowl
- 4.) Prepare cashew dill sauce
- -Put all ingredients (cashews, dill, salt and pepper, lemon juice, water) into food processor
- -Blend until smooth and creamy
- 5.) Once chickpeas are done cooking, add chickpeas & cashew dill sauce to veggie mixture in medium-large bowl and stir until well-combined
- (If you want it served colder, as traditional chicken salad usually is, store in fridge until ready to eat)
- 6.) For cabbage wraps, tear off large leaf - scoop chickpea salad onto leaf and fold into wrap
- 7.) Eat!
- Yields 6+ servings
1.) Cabbage leaves for wraps
2.) 3/4 cup diced celery
3.) 1/2 medium onion, diced
4.) 2-3 cloves garlic, diced
5.) 1 cup shredded carrots
6.) 1.5 cups dried chickpeas/garbanzo beans (I like to buy in bulk when possible)
(Disclaimer: I do the “handful measurement,” meaning I just grab handfuls of dried beans and throw them in the pot, so my accuracy here may be off. If you have too many chickpeas, just set some aside for something else. So your best bet is to cook too many!)
7.) 1-2 avocados, diced
8.) 1 red pepper, diced (not pictured)
9.) salt and pepper, to taste (not pictured)
*Ingredients for cashew sauce included below
Now, let’s get cooking. . .
1.) Get those chickpeas cooking right away! If you’re using dried chickpeas (which I recommend), soak overnight and then cook on low for a couple hours until soft. They take a while to cook but it is worth it! You can even throw them on the stove a couple hours before you’re really ready to start preparing the rest of this dish. Double or triple the recipe to make the time you spend cooking the chickpeas up more worthwhile!
Meanwhile. . .
2.) Prep/chop/dice all ingredients and pile them up prettily as above ;)
3.) Mix together chopped/shredded/diced celery, onion, garlic, carrot, avocado, red pepper, salt, and pepper in medium-large bowl
Prepare the cashew dill sauce – here’s what it takes:
2 cups cashews
dill (dry or fresh) to taste
salt & pepper to taste
juice from 2 lemons
1/2 cup of water
4.) Put all ingredients into food processor
5.) Blend until it becomes a lovely, creamy smooth texture
6.) Once chickpeas are done cooking (soft and easily poked with a fork), add chickpeas & cashew dill sauce to veggie mixture in medium-large bowl and stir until well-combined (aka mix it allllll together!)
7.) Prep cabbage wraps by tearing off whole cabbage leaves
You can learn more about how to take this a step further and boil the cabbage to make it more pliable by following the instructions below (from the blog Fat Free Vegan Kitchen)
I didn’t do this because I preferred my cabbage a bit more crunchy, and frankly, didn’t want to spend extra time on it.
Whatever you choose, fill that cabbage wrap up with as much of the chickpea salad as your heart desires, and enjoy!
You can store this salad in the fridge for a week or so and keep enjoying meal after meal. Make a huge batch for a family party or picnic – okay, those events may still be a few months off, but a girl can dream, right?