I’ve been subbing a lot lately – which is great. But it means that I am packing a lot of lunches.
Because as much as I love working in an elementary school there is no way that I am eating the lunch served by the cafeteria.
Packing the lunch itself is no big deal – I already pack for all three of my kids everyday. I always have fruit, cut-up veggies, yogurts, cheese and other lunch box staples on hand. I have my own lunchbox and more water bottles than I can count. My oldest son always gets a sandwich – usually leftover ham, chicken or turkey on homemade bread – because he can’t be trusted with any reusable containers. He takes his lunch in a plastic grocery store bag filled with baggies and aluminum foil. I know this is not ideal. But you all know I believe in being honest with you all.
I have purchased him multiple lunch boxes. My cabinet is full of stainless steel and glass containers, thermoses and I even send real silverware with the other kids. But no matter what I send with Kevin it doesn’t come home. So, in the interest of saving my sanity (even at the expense of the environment), he gets a disposable lunch.
Kyle either takes a similar sandwich or leftovers in his thermos. Kelly prefers leftovers, salads and bento-box type lunches, but she will eat a chicken or turkey sandwich.
I am not much of a meat eater. I do eat chicken, but I have this weird thing about the texture of cold chicken (unless it’s in a salad). I don’t do cold cuts. And I don’t eat ham, turkey or much pork. I usually bring leftovers or some roasted or stir-fried veggies that I have made purposely for lunch.
But sometimes our weekends are busy. And our weeks are busier. And there are no leftovers. And I don’t have time to pre-cook my lunch for the week
Enter this delicious Crunchy Chickpea Salad.
It comes together in under five minutes. It’s healthy, protein-packed and chock full of veggies. And it’s completely customizable.
Don’t like pickles? Leave them out.
Out of grainy mustard? Sub in some dijon.
Like a bitter onion? Add in some chopped red onion.
Red peppers are your favorite? Add those in too.
No white wine vinegar? Use fresh-squeezed lemon juice.
Really, anything goes. The only must haves are the chickpeas, sunflower seeds (please don’t leave them out – they really make this salad), an acid, the mayo, garlic, salt and pepper.
You can either mash your chickpeas with a potato masher, leaving some chickpeas intact, but making sure that most of them have popped out of their skins and have formed a nice and creamy texture. I prefer to pop them into the food processor and pulse a few times. This does result in more mashed up chickpeas, but I like that texture. And I really like skipping the arm workout and the mess that goes with mashing chickpeas.
I combine the mayo, mustard, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Then I add in my chopped veggies and it give the mixture a vigorous stir. Finally, I add in the mashed chickpeas and stir everything until well combined. Finally, I add in my toasted sunflower seeds and mix them in.
I like to refrigerate my Crunchy Chickpea Salad overnight so that all the flavors meld together. This salad can be served over greens, in a pita or on some crusty wheat bread. If I’m eating the salad on bread, I like to give the bread a healthy smear of hummus, because one can never have too many chickpeas – lol. And in any case, I top my salad with some chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and red onion.
This is a pretty hearty salad that will keep for at least 4 days in the fridge. Which is great, because it means I’ve got lunch for the week.
Let me know how you make this salad your own!