Plant Based Chickpea Salad Sammie

I’ve made no secret out of the fact that going vegan wasn’t a huge challenge for me, beyond re-learning to pay attention to the ingredients in the products I buy and trying to be a better, more conscious consumer. But there was one area that proved problematic for me from the outset.

Lunch.

This is how I used to think vegan lunch looked…

I work from home as a writer which means I can’t (or don’t) always set aside actual time for lunch. I like to be able to grab something quick and easy that I can eat while I work if possible, and yes I do know all about how bad that is for weight loss, but it is what it is. I tried vegan lunch meat, mostly soy based because it is the most pervasive in Germany which is where I lived at the time, and it was horrible. I couldn’t find any that I liked and that probably had to do with the fact that I wasn’t a fan of animal-based lunch meat even before going vegan. So of course there would be problems with that. Duh.

But I stayed on this track for a few months and there were a few products made from seitan or lupine that I found pretty tasty but they required special trips to out of the way stores so it became more of an indulgence once in a while and salads became my go to lunch meal. Add lentils or beans and you can make a quick and easy lunch.

And boring after a while.

Then I remembered my old friend, tuna. Whip up some tuna salad and pop it in the fridge and I could nosh on sammies every day for lunch. That’s when I had my light bulb moment. You can turn just about anything into a tuna salad sandwich with a bit of creativity.

 This is a REALLY easy recipe and if you make a bigger batch you can get away with not cooking for a few days!

All you need is:

Chickpeas (smashed a bit)
Scallions
Purple cabbage (or is it red?)
Red & green bell pepper
Garlic
Ginger
Cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper

 

Now all that’s left is the creamy sauce that makes this perfect between the right kind of bread. It’s no secret that me and mayo are not friends and we never have been so I used vegan yogurt instead, but feel free to use what you like. Toss in some mustard, fresh dill, along with cumin and any other herbs & spices you prefer and voila, you’ve got a chickpea salad sandwich…almost.

Mix it up well and if you need to loosen the sauce (which you might if you use vegan mayo) add a splash of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, it’s also a nice splash of acid with all the creamy goodness.

Stack it and you’re good to go!

Sometimes though I’ll add lettuce & tomato, spicy banana peppers, jalapenos, pickles, olives, artichokes or any other sandwich fixing I’m jonesing for at the moment. The point is you can add plenty of other vegan options without sacrificing taste.

Add a handful of chips and be sure to check for the pernicious “milk powder” found in SO many potato chip brands for some reason and you’ve got an easy vegan lunch that’s satisfying and nutritious.

And if you’ve got company, add an icy beer to the and enjoy!

Quick & Easy Plant Based Lunch Ideas

Lunch. It’s the meal that gets you out of the office for an hour and it’s also the meal mostly likely to obliterate all your ideas about eating healthy and controlling your portion size. With all greasy, sugary, fatty fast food options available, there is no end to all the options at your fingertips when the clock strikes noon. Or if you’re like me 2:30 or later.

I work at home so lunch isn’t quite such an ordeal for me, but it can be a pain in other ways. By the time the lunch hour rolls around, I’m deep into my writing groove and the last thing I want to do is stop and worry about fixing up a meal that’s delicious and nutritious and will keep my weight heading in the right direction. But I’ve learned that with a little bit of planning, eating a healthy, plant based meal in the middle of the day doesn’t have to turn into the biggest ordeal of the day.

My go to option is usually some kind of sandwich and when I’m really feeling nostalgic I’ll vegan-ize one of my favorite sandwiches from back in the day. One of those is the stromboli. It may not be a ‘real’ stromboli or whatever but this is what my favorite pizza joint in my college town served and I loved it.

I know it looks complicated but this is pretty easy to make. All you need is: tofu crumbles, onion, bell pepper, garlic, tomato sauce, some kind of long bread and that’s it. Cook it up in the pan for 5 to 8 minutes until the onion and pepper still have a little bite to them, add the tofu and tomato sauce plus herbs & spices and you’re ready to go.

Back in the day I would have made an extra big helping of fries to go with it but when your mother in law has a big old container of Murături, then that’s what you have because it reminds me of eating my hometown version, giardiniera. Plus eating a few pieces of pickled cauliflower, cabbage and cucumber is WAY less calorie dense than fries and this is just lunch so…

But if you really want to be naughty and have something to go along with this yummy sandwich, I have a suggestion.

But if you have a little more time or you want something a bit more than a sandwich, might I suggest frikadeller? It’s a Danish or German version of a pan fried meatball but when you make them vegan you have WAY more options.

One of those options is vegan tomato frikadellen. All you need is your own combination of vegetables to mix with flour and some kind of binding agent. I like Arche brand VegEgg because it is amazing and it works for meatless balls, loafs, burgers and even baked goods. I’ve never used Follow Your Heart but from what I understand it’s the US equivalent. Mix it all up and let it sit in the fridge before you whip them up.

These are low in calories so we paired it with a side of brown rice and more murături because, have I mention that I love the stuff?

In fact we loved it so much, that the Husband made his own version of frika (my affectionate name for the little balls I fell in love with as a carnivore and then a vegan) with rice, scallions, garlic, carrot, tofu and plenty of herbs and spices. He made two batches one cooked with oil and one without. The oil frika were crispier on the outside so a little tastier but the others would be fantastic between a bun as a vegan burger.

But, we can’t all be good all the time so we paired these with one of my top 5 favorite foods. Potatoes.

It’s important if you want to eat vegan and healthy that you plan your meals ahead of time as much as possible so you don’t end up hungry with nothing available, especially if time is a factor.

What’s your favorite quick & easy vegan lunch?