Chickpea of the Sea

The summer heat is breaking this week with a full week of pleasant temperatures ahead, and I intend to spend at least one early afternoon sitting outside eating a chickpea of the sea salad. This recipe is an excellent example of how switching to a vegan diet can easily be accomplished with a simple substitution to an old favorite. (Just an aside, “chickpea of the sea” immediately makes me start singing the Billy Bragg song, Secret of the Sea, performed by Wilco)

The classic tuna salad consists of base recipe of mayo, celery, pickle chips or relish and…  If you are jonsing for those familiar flavors, use your preferred vegan mayo (mine is Follow Your Heart) and a can of chickpeas instead of tuna.  When you stir everything together use a potato masher or you hand to lightly smash or break apart about a quarter of the chickpeas or until it has achieved a texture you find most suitable. I know mine is ready when I can scoop a out a spoonful and it keeps its shape nicely.

Chickpea of the sea salad works for sandwich and wraps, and really shine in a pita stuffed with fresh crunchy lettuce.  If you are not looking to add extra calories to your lunch, a bed of salad greens topped with a tidy scoop never disappoints. The basic recipe is kid friendly, but the flavors can easily be punched up.  Lemon pepper? Pickled red onion? Chopped herbs? I enjoy diced red onion, fresh dill and one clove of minced garlic, but that flavor profile is a little too much for the kids, so I generally stick to the basics.


  • 1, 15oz can of chickpeas
  • 2-3 tablespoons of vegan mayo
  • 3-4 stalks of diced celery
  • 1-2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 2 shakes of celery seed (options)
  • Salt to taste (for me that’s 2 shakes)

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