This Chickpea “Chicken” Salad is the best vegetarian alternative to classic chicken salad. Made with smashed chickpeas in a creamy dressing, it’s a quick, simple, and protein-packed meal you can bring to picnics or make for meal prep.
If you haven’t yet discovered the magic of chickpeas, you’re missing out! They’re a plant-powered protein source you can toss in a comforting curry, cookie dough, and even use as a meat replacer to veganize your favorite meal. And just when you thought a classic meal like chicken salad could never be vegan-friendly, this Chickpea “Chicken” Salad comes along and changes the game.
This vegan chicken salad with chickpeas is made the same way as my Whole30 Chicken Salad. It has minimal ingredients, a creamy dressing, and NO grapes. The major difference? Shredded chicken is swapped for smashed chickpeas.
In the end, you’ll have a creamy vegan chickpea salad that’s ready for the picnic, potluck, or for your weekly meal prep. Just stuff it into a sandwich or top it on a salad and enjoy!
- An easy cold summer salad you can stuff into sandwiches, wraps, salads, and more.
- Chickpeas are an excellent source of protein and fiber, helping you stay full for longer.
- It may be a vegan chicken salad, but it tastes just like the classic!
- Chickpeas - Canned chickpeas (drained and rinsed) are very convenient and will ensure you have this recipe put together in no time. If you can’t eat chickpeas, you can use white navy beans instead or use a vegan meat replacement (like tofu or soy curls) for a meatier texture (although the flavor will be slightly different).
- Vegetables - Keep it simple and classic with carrots, celery, and green onions. For more texture and a stronger flavor, substitute the green onions for red onions or shallots.
- Mayonnaise - Use vegan mayonnaise to keep this recipe as close to a vegan chicken salad as possible. Otherwise, use regular mayo or my homemade avocado oil mayonnaise.
- Mustard - Dijon mustard gives the creamy dressing a layer of tang and is deeper in flavor than yellow mustard, though yellow mustard can be used.
Step 1: Smash the chickpeas. Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas to a large bowl. Using a potato masher or fork, smash most of the chickpeas. The finished mixture should still have some chickpeas intact.
Step 2: Assemble the salad. Next, add the carrots, celery, green onion, mayo, and mustard to the same bowl.
Step 3: Mix it all together. Season with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika, and stir everything to combine. Serve the finished chickpea salad in a sandwich or salad and enjoy!
Tips and FAQs
- Mashing most of the chickpeas is the key to a “sticky” sandwich filling that doesn’t fall apart.
- Have fun with the flavors the easy way. Swap the smoked paprika for curry powder, fresh dill or parsley, regular paprika, or poultry seasoning.
- Are you really missing the chicken? Feel free to mix in pre-cooked shredded chicken. This way, you double up on the protein and keep the nutrition without missing the meat.
- Give your salad added texture and flavor by adding nuts (almonds, pecans, or cashews), red grapes, avocado, dried fruit, seeds, or more crunchy vegetables.
How do you serve vegan chickpea salad?
It works especially well as a protein-packed sandwich filling. You could also use the “chicken” salad as a filling in lettuce cups or vegetable wraps, as a salad topping, or as a dip with crusty bread, vegetables, or crackers on the side.
How long does chickpea “chicken” salad last?
The salad will stay fresh and delicious for 3 to 4 days. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge to keep it tasting its best.
Can you freeze it?
I recommend eating it fresh but the leftovers can be frozen. To freeze the “chicken” salad, transfer it to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.
More vegetarian picnic recipes
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Chickpea "Chicken" Salad
- 30 oz. chickpeaas (2 cans); drained and rinsed
- ⅓ cup carrots chopped
- ¼ cup celery chopped
- ¼ cup green onion chopped
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise use vegan mayo to keep this vegan
- 2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Pour drained and rinsed chickpeas into a large bowl, then use a potato masher or a fork to slightly mash them.
- Add the carrots, celery, green onion, mayo, and mustard to the same bowl and stir to combine. Last, add the salt, smoked paprika and pepper and stir to combine.
- Enjoy as-is, or on a sandwich or salad!