Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Uncommonly Good: Creamy Dilly Chickpea Salad

In my last real post I mentioned that I drove my at-home family to UIUC to visit three of my brothers who live in the area (in case you are keeping track, I have six hermanos all together).  I made the silly mistake of going for a quick three and a half mile jog before we hit the road.  Obviously, I stretched after my run, but what I didn't do was refuel... at all.  When we finally arrived at the university, I was beyond hungry.  My hunger transformed from an occasional growl to something unbearable!  Luckily, our very first stop was meeting up with the brothers for lunch.  Whenever I visit my UIUC family, we always eat at Common Ground Co-op.  On my first visit, I fell in love with this place.  They have a huge selection of vegan and gluten-free options.  Thanks to sibs who know how to share, I've tried almost everything from the house-made sweets section.  They have a huge selection of vegan scones, muffins (the gluten-free pumpkin chocolate chip muffins are addictive), and cookies (peanut butter cookie FTW!).  Though I shamelessly admit that my true motivation in life is obtaining and consuming vegan baked goods, the food food at Common Ground is just as good as the sweets. Please don't tell anyone I said that. They have vegan quiches, vegan brekky burritos, vegan sweet potato and black bean tamales, vegan soups, vegan sammiches, vegan pizzas (yes, plural! "I'd like a slice of the vegan pizza, please." "Which one?" "!!!!!!!!!!") and, essentially, vegan everything! Plus, all of it is on point.  College towns are where it's at.  Suburbs, catch up!!  You're totally embarrassing me, and I want nothing to do with you.

Vegan peanut butter cookie from Common Ground.  Uncommonly good is beyond accurate.

Vegan cranberry orange scone.  The best scone I've ever had.

On my most recent visit to Common Ground, I was ravenous.  So so so ravenous.  Then, I was overwhelmed with options, thus preventing me from acquiring food efficiently.  Vegan cardboard would've tasted good by the time I finally settled on a house-made chickpea salad that looked and tasted more like potato salad and house-made cajun spiced tofu. Though it might have been the hunger, I couldn't handle just how great the chickpea salad and tofu were. I kept raving.  Perhaps my company wanted to talk about other things.  Unfortunately, I had food on my mind and finally entering my system.  I vowed to myself that as soon as I had the opportunity to get into the kitchen again I would remake the chickpea salad.  A busy storm struck, and it wasn't until dinner today that I had the time to get to work on re-creating the salad.  

My brother, Dan, who is also vegan, told me that the co-op used veganaise in the chickpea salad.  I've never purchased veganaise and really was not in the mood to start today.  I've made a vegan potato salad without it before, so I knew it could be done.  I drew on Detoxinista's potato salad recipe for inspiration.  Avocado for creaminess? That sounds stellar. When all was said and done, I decided my salad was better than the one from Common Ground!  Blasphemy!  ...but actually.

Creamy Dilly Chickpea Salad


2 cans of chickpeas/garbanzo beans (16 oz/each) rinsed and drained
1/2 avocado
1/3 c. dijon mustard
3/4 c. cucumber (1 small cucumber) diced very small
3/4 c. celery diced very small
1/3 c. onion diced very small
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 heaping tbsp. dry dill weed 
black pepper to taste

1.  Place the finely diced veggies in a large mixing bowl and add one can (16 oz) of drained chickpeas to the bowl.

2.  Put the avocado and dijon mustard through a blender or food processor until smooth.  This will be a thick mixture, so use a rubber spatula to get it all out of your blending apparatus and into the same mixing bowl as the veggies.

3.  Without cleaning your blending apparatus, blend the second can of drained chickpeas.  Do not blend until the mixture is pureed.  This would be difficult to do since there is no liquid, but don't try to force it.  Remove the chickpeas from the blender when the mixture is chunky -- some chickpeas should still be partially in tact.  Once again, use your rubber spatula to add the broken down chickpeas to the mix.

4.  Add lemon juice, dry dill weed, and black pepper.  Mix.  Take a bean masher and mash all of the contents of the bowl.  At this point, alternate mixing and mashing until everything is well incorporated.  Your final product will be chunky (because of the generous amount of add-in vegetables and the whole and near-whole chickpeas that remain) and creamy.

5.  Enjoy immediately or refrigerate.  This would work well in a pita, on top of toast, or wrapped in large leafy vegetables such as collard greens or romaine.  But for my personal favorite, all you have to do is turn the camera a bit:

You should probably do this.  If you're smart that is.  Cut off the tops and remove the seeds from red, orange, or yellow baby bell peppers and stuff them generously with the salad.  Crunch away!


  1. Yum! I like the look of the cookie and your chickpea salad :)

    1. Thank you so much, Mandee! I am just about dying over your blog's "mimic" theme for vegan mofo -- such a great idea! I am so excited to keep reading, but I wanted to stop quickly to say hello! I also am looking forward to checking out the YA blog you contribute to. I worked with high schoolers last year, and I have a newfound appreciation for YA lit. Though I don't need to be reading along with my students anymore, I frequently pick up books from the YA section at the libe.

  2. Mm, baby peppers stuffed with this sound AMAZING! Then again baby peppers are clearly a superior miniature vegetable. I am loving all these vegan recipes!

    1. Thank you bunches, Alicia!! Whenever I use chickpeas I think of the incredible chickpea cake you made for Lisa's birthday! This certainly is no chocolate cake, but you're right about it including a superior mini veggie!

  3. I love the idea of replacing mayo with avocado! That's so smart; I can't believe it never occurred to me. I love chickpea salad. Definitely going to try your recipe, in bell peppers of course ;)

    1. Thanks so much! And thank you for visiting! Let me know how it turns out!!

  4. Yummy! I'm too lazy to get some dill here in Spain, but your smashed creamy chickpea salad looks fantastic!

    1. Thank you so much! Even though you can't get dill as easily in Spain, it looks like there are some great vegan options there :)!