By Lori MarrieMy favorite sandwich has undergone a radical makeover — twice. Originally discovered at a trendy health food store in 1979, what began as a tuna veggie salad sandwich had its first transformation a decade and a half later when I added grated carrots and plump raisins to the mix. This became the go-to lunch for my daughter Alicia and buddy Emma, who voluntarily stopped playing to help stuff the sweet filling into kid-sized mini pitas.
The ultimate transformation to a plant-based sandwich came many years later. I swapped the tuna for a protein-rich mix of chickpeas, blanched almonds and raw sunflower seeds and added chopped dill pickles for crunch and tartness, a welcome contrast to the sweetness of the carrots and raisins. A vegan mayo based dressing with a squeeze of fresh lemon and sprinkling of kelp flakes held the mixture together. This new version, just slightly reminiscent of the original, boasts an upgraded adult-size whole grain pita and lots of fresh local greens — a satisfying and tasty lunch, still worth the interruption to work or play.
Chickpea salad pita½ cup blanched almonds
2 cups chickpeas¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
1 stalk celery, chopped1 pickle spear, chopped
½ cup grated carrot¼ cup raisins
1/3 cup vegan mayo1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard1 teaspoon kelp flakes or granules
¼ teaspoon sea saltWhole grain pita bread
Lettuce, spinach or other fresh greens
Place almonds in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Add chickpeas and sunflower seeds and pulse until no whole chickpeas remain. In a large bowl whisk together mayo, lemon juice, mustard, kelp and salt. Add chickpea mixture, celery, pickles, carrots and raisins and gently combine. Refrigerate 30 minutes before spooning into pita halves filled with your favorite greens.