For the Love of a Sandwich

I have been keeping a secret for over ten years. This week, I revealed to my husband for the first time that I love tuna-salad sandwiches. I grew up eating them. Every day. In mom-packed-school-lunchesĀ  served on white bread or from the local diner as tuna-melts on an English muffin.

While others may have alternated their school lunches with PB&J, turkey, chicken, and other options, I grew up attending a Jewish day school, which required kosher packed lunches. Lunches needed to be either dairy or pareve (neither meat nor dairy). According to the rules of Kashrut (Jewish dietary laws), fish is considered pareve. And so, daily tuna-salad sandwiches, perhaps with a bagel and cream cheese a couple times a week.

Back in 2007, as I started my exploration of environmentally conscious eating, I soon realized that my tuna habit (tuna-salad, tuna sushi rolls, etc.) did not align with my values. As with many types of fish, the environmental story for tuna is complicated. Checking the recommendations from Seafood Watch clues you in on the complexity of the situation. 8 “best” options, 32 “good” and 58 to “avoid”. Greenpeace put together a Tuna Shopping Guide, but my approach has been to avoid all tuna and most seafood, with special exceptions of locally caught fish and molluscs (like oysters) occasionally.

But, there is nothing like a tuna-salad sandwich. Until now.

“Chickpea of the Sea”! I found this bowl on an incredible lunch spread this weekend at a baby shower. I couldn’t believe my eyes, or my taste-buds. This is the sandwich salad I have been waiting for. I recreated the lunch just two days later and had just the same result. I am very excited to share this recipe with you. Note – I replaced the celery and scallions for a chopped leek, which was excellent. This is a very forgiving recipe – use what you have and adapt to your tastes.

Chickpea of the Sea (adapted from TheKitchn)

What You Need

  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (can substitute veganaise or use half greek yogurt)
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp celery seeds (note – I didn’t have them, and it still turned out great)
  • One and a half ribs of celery, diced
  • Two scallions/green onions sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon caper with brine (optional)
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh herbs (lemon balm, chives, dill, or parsley)
What You Do
  1. Place chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor and pulse two or three times to roughly chop.
  2. Add chopped chickpeas to bowl and then add remaining ingredients stir.
  3. Serve on bread with lettuce and/or sprouts as a sandwich or on lettuce leaves as a lettuce wrap.