We’ve got a fantastic, yet so simple sandwich this Green Monday for we heart this readers! As a vegetarian of over 15 years, one of the questions I am asked the most is “What do you eat for lunch?” Many people trying to go veggie or those just cutting back on meat have difficulty with lunch. Breakfast is easy and with a bit of research, a veggie main course for dinner can be planned with little effort.
It’s that middle meal that can be difficult, especially if you want to pack a lunch. For years, I went with two staples – salads and the occasional cheese sandwich. I seemed to have a mental freeze when trying to plan a yummy, easily prepared lunch. After some time, I gathered a few lunchtime basics that I’ll be sharing in upcoming posts. Today, I need to give a shout out to wht writer, Recessionista, some time ago she shared the ingenious idea of replacing canned tuna with garbanzo beans to create a vegetarian (or even vegan) tuna salad substitute.
This salad is a cinch and takes all of five, maybe up to ten minutes to make. Refrigerate the unused potion in an airtight container and use within a few days (though it’s never lasted longer then 24 hours in my house). I promise, this will soon become a lunchtime staple!
Best of all, you likely have all the ingredients in your kitchen right now!
If you don’t have garbanzo beans on hand, grab a few cans the next time you are at the grocery store. Since so many dinner recipes start with celery and onion, you can use some to mix up a batch of Garbanzo Bean Salad as a side project, while fixing dinner. Presto – you’ve made your lunch for a day or two at the same time!
Garbanzo Bean Salad
• 1 can of garbanzo beans
• 2 stalks of celery, chopped
• 1/4 onion, chopped
• 2 or 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise/Vegenaise
• Juice of half a lemon
• 1/4 teaspoon Salt
• 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
** Feel free to add garlic powder, sweet pickle relish, sun dried tomatoes, diced cucumbers, raisins, etc. Whatever items you like in your tuna salad, add into this veggie alternative.
— Rinse and drain the garbanzo beans.
— Pour into bowl and smush beans until desired consistency. I use a potato masher (pictured) but a sturdy fork can do the job.
The great thing about these tasty little beans (besides the fact they are full of protein and fill you up) is that the soft outer shell separates from the mashed bean and forms a texture very similar to tuna fish.
— Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
–If possible chill for at least one hour, of if you can’t wait, no worries – start eating!
A quick note on the Vegenaise – before you turn your nose up at the thought, give it another try. They have worked on the taste since I tried it years ago and imo it’s a pretty great vegan alternative to mayo. It used to taste more like Miracle Whip spread (I’m not a big fan of the Whip) but they’ve softened that tangy taste. However, whatever you have in the fridge – fat free mayo, Miracle Whip, ranch dressing, and of course, even full fat mayo (lucky you) works here.
I love this simple salad on toasted wheat with fresh lettuce and tomato. It also travels well when spread generously on fluffy, fresh bread, wrapped carefully and carried to the office. Of course, I’ve devoured it on all types of crackers – what a fab midnight snack! Or top a bowl of fresh greens with a scoop of salad, lightly toss with Italian dressing and you get a very satisfying salad. Enjoy!