Want to know a fun fact about me? I never ate tuna salad as a child. One of the most iconic childhood lunches never made it into my sack lunch or picnic tupperware. Want to know why? My mother.
My mom loves to tell the story of why she never fed us tuna salad as children. I won't share it with you now because I'm not that cruel, and to be honest this blog is still new. We're still getting to know each other, and I'm not sure what level of disgust you can take. The gist of the story is: when my mom was a little girl, she had an encounter with a tuna salad sandwich. An encounter so vile, it has scarred her for life. It scarred her for her life, mine and my sisters lives, and quite possibly, the lives of family members to come.
Throughout the years, my mom has always been a force in the kitchen. She always intended to make meals that pleased everyone in the house, even if that meant whipping up two separate dinners in one evening. However, if you wanted canned tuna in any way, there wasn't a shot in hell you were getting it from her. I never really felt like I was missing out on anything because my mom learned to master the "fake tuna salad," disguised with the non-vile, non-scarring, chicken. And, if I really really wanted to eat it, I could always order it at a restaurant, though, I can probably count on my hand the amount of times I've had one. I think through my mom's aversion to canned tuna I developed my own as well, albeit, not as strong. I can open a can without gagging, but I don't necessarily want to...
To me, what works so well in a tuna salad is not the tuna, but the flavors of the mustard, celery salt, and pickles that really make it a comforting classic.
Awhile back I came across a mashed chickpea salad that I instantly wanted to try. It reminded me of a classic chicken salad sandwich with cranberries, grapes, celery, and almonds. I'm a huge fan of using legumes in classic dishes (hello chickpea cookie dough and black bean brownies), and I instantly thought I could use the same idea behind the mashed chickpeas, but give it that classic tuna salad flavor we all love.
I simply mash a can of chickpeas, chop a few veggies, and toss it together with some greek yogurt, mustard, and spices. I like a little bit of texture to the chickpeas, so I only roughly mash them, and I prefer to use gherkins or "snack em" size pickles because that's usually what I have on hand (refer to photo below). Also, if you're anything like me, you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry all the time.
Serving Size: 2-3 sandwiches, about 2 cups of salad
1 can chickpeas
1 small carrot, or handful of baby carrots
2 gherkins, or about half of a regular (non-sweet) pickle
3 tablespoons greek yogurt
11/2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tsp juice from pickle jar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 celery salt (or less if you want it less salty/strong)
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1. Mash the chickpeas in a large bowl using a form or large wood spoon. I like to leave it slightly chunky for more texture.
2. Roughly chop the carrot into small pieces, finely mince the two gherkins, add to the bowl.
3. Add in the greek yogurt, mustard, pickle liquid, pepper, celery salt, and garlic powder. Mix thoroughly to combine.
I usually eat this as a sandwich with whole wheat bread, greens, cherry tomatoes, and avocado, but sometimes it's just as good on t's own or with a few crackers!