When transitioning to a whole food, plant-based diet, the meal that often leaves people in a quandary is lunch.

Specifically, what to eat in place of the traditional “meat and cheese” or chicken-salad sandwiches of their childhood.

No meat. No cheese.

What on earth do you put between the slices of bread?

Enter the chickpea. Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, are a perfect high protein stand-in for diced chicken in a chicken-salad-style sandwich or salad greens topper.

And they’re better for you.

One cup of cooked chickpeas provides over 14 grams of protein, without the cholesterol and saturated fat that comes with even the “leanest” chicken or turkey breast.

You’ll also get 50% of your daily recommended fiber, something you just can’t get from animal sources.

Chickpeas are packed with vitamins and minerals, providing 29% of your daily recommended iron and 71% of the daily recommended folate, along with magnesium, calcium and other needed minerals.

My teen son and I absolutely love this recipe. He prefers his chickpea salad stuffed into a large wheat roll. I usually enjoy mine on a bed of salad greens.

Either way, it’s a delicious and satisfying plant-based meal.

Delicious Chickpea Salad

1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 diced pickle
3 chopped green onions
1/3 cup chopped seeded tomato (or sub diced red bell pepper)
½ cup diced celery
1-2 cloves minced garlic
¼ cup chopped parsley
Juice of ½ a lemon
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1/3-1/2 cup plain plant-milk yogurt (I usually use Forager brand cashew yogurt)
¼ tsp. Dijon mustard

Place the chickpeas in a small mini food processor and pulse a few times to break up the chickpeas into flaky pieces. (Don’t over-process into a paste. If you do, make some hummus!) If you don’t have a food processor, you can mash the chickpeas in a bowl with a fork or potato masher.

Place the chickpeas in medium bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine.

Serve a scoop of chickpea salad on a bed of salad greens, or enjoy in a sandwich with whole grain bread.

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