Kate’s chickpea salad: a recipe

Long time, no see! I’ve been super busy with field research this summer and I have a growing list of blog topics I want to talk about. As I transition into the school year and my schedule becomes (somewhat) less hectic, I’m hopeful that I can find time to blog more regularly. For now, though, enjoy this simple and delicious chickpea salad recipe that’s been sitting in my drafts for months…

I’ve had a few run-ins with chickpea salad since I went vegan, and I’ve never enjoyed it as much as I wanted to. I looooove chickpeas, and I like salad (though not the mayo-based ones quite as much), so this should be right up my alley…right?

I think my main problem was that the recipes I tried over-veganified things. This is a term I’m using, starting right now, to describe foods that veer a bit too far into stereotypical-vegan-ingredient-replacement-health-focused-changes for my personal taste. It’s totally subjective! But for me, a chickpea salad that used avocado for the main fat just tasted like weeeeird guacamole. Sunflower seeds didn’t do it for me, either. Too much garlic, an ingredient I usually adore, also kind of ruined the experience. So for the past couple years, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that chickpea salad is one of those vegan things I just can’t get behind, like eggplants and massive portobello mushrooms.

That is, until my friend Kate told me about a chickpea salad she made last weekend. It sounded deliciously simple, and I knew I had to try it as a potential field lunch. When I’m doing fieldwork, I need lunches that are portable, filling, don’t need to be refrigerated, and can survive being jostled around in a backpack for several hours before being eaten while I sit on the forest floor. This chickpea salad sounded like it just might fit the bill…and lo and behold, it did!

No frills, no fancy ingredients, and it comes together in minutes. What more can you ask of a field lunch, really?! Oh, and in addition to being vegan, this recipe is also gluten-free and low-FODMAP. Pretty awesome!

The key to making this a delicious lunch was to eat it with super-crunchy pita chips. I’d packed previous chickpea salads into wraps or sandwiches, where they’d turn into a soggy, monotextural mush by lunchtime. But with pita chips (or maybe a really sturdy toasted bread), there’s a salty crunch that pairs wonderfully with the creamy, tangy chickpea salad.

Anway, that is all to say: I’m so happy to have found my perfect chickpea salad. Thanks, Kate! Let’s get to the recipe:

Simple chickpea salad

It may not look all that appetizing, but personally I don’t think any mayo-based salads are particularly photogenic. Trust me, it tastes good.
  • Serves: 2 as a main or 4 as a side (double the recipe for a week’s worth of lunches!)
  • Time: 5 minutes


  • 1 15.5-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or about 1.75 cups cooked chickpeas)
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayo
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp dried or 2 Tbsp fresh dill


  1. In a medium-sized bowl, mash chickpeas with the back of a fork until a chunky mash forms & only a few whole beans remain.
  2. Mix in the rest of the ingredients & refrigerate overnight to let the flavors meld together. Serve with pita chips or on sturdy toasted bread with Romaine.

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