Today is a very special day.
Not only are we making avocado pesto chickpea salad sandwiches, a few of us bloggers are (more importantly) celebrating our good friend Erin who is about to become a first time mama. I couldn't be more excited to be apart of this surprise for Erin.
Erin and I have gotten to know each other pretty well over the years, and we've had the chance to hang out a few times together, too. Most recently, we spent a couple days together at Expo West (the largest natural foods trade show in the country) in California. The trip was awesome but exhausting. Each night, we both ended up back at the hotel, in bed, dinner in hand, in our pajamas. And then we pretty much rolled over and immediately passed out. Erin was such a trooper at 30+ weeks pregnant!
While we were together, Erin seemed so calm and excited about their soon to be baby boy. She is going to be a complete natural as a mom. You can just tell. And I know this little babe will grow up loving and appreciating food, as he watches his mom grow their food and prepare it in the kitchen. He'll see how simple ingredients can be combined together without hassle to create something wonderful. Just like Erin has showed the world with her new cookbook. And soon enough, I'm sure he'll be standing right next to his mama, helping stir and chop, and asking for tastes.
Staying true to Erin's style of cooking, Melissa, Alex, Sonja and I thought it would be fun to throw her a shower and ask everyone to contribute a simple vegetarian meal. We wanted to create a catalog of recipes that Erin and her husband could quickly whip up as their lives become a little more full.
I've seen chickpea salad sandwiches floating around for awhile now but somehow never got around to trying them out. I really have no idea why it took me so long because they're incredibly simple to make and totally delicious.
I was inspired by the avocado lime sauce I made the other day for the corn fritters, thinking that would be been a good base to hold the chickpeas together. However, I was also craving pesto. But traditional pesto probably couldn't hold the chickpeas together and you'd need to make a gigantic batch to even try.
And that's when this avocado pesto was born.
It's like a summery guacamole, filled with basil and lemon and thick enough to act as the perfect binder for the mashed chickpeas.
Toppings are optional but I always like to add a little crunch in my sandwich.
This takes about 15 minutes to throw together and will keep you full for hours on end.
Avocado Pesto Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
gluten-free, vegan // yields appx. 4 sandwiches
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup roasted shelled pistachios
- 2 medium avocados
- 1 1/2 cups lightly packed fresh basil
- 3-5 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt + pepper
- 1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed + drained
Place the garlic clove in your large food processor and turn on until minced. Scrape the sides. Add the pistachios and pulse until evenly chopped (refer photo 3). Add in the avocado, basil, and 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Pulse a few times until the basil is roughly chopped. Scrape the sides. Add salt + pepper. Stream in the olive oil slowly while pulsing the avocado mixture until it reaches a thick consistency but not fully pureed. Scrapes the sides and bottom as needed. You want to leave it with some texture. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, roughly mash the chickpeas. You want them about half-mashed. Add in as much of the pesto mixture as desired (I used about 3/4 of it) and mix together. Add remaining lemon juice (I added an extra 1-2 tablespoons) and salt + pepper to taste.
Build your sandwich with any other toppings you choose.
- This can be stored for 1 day but will slightly brown. For best results, place in an airtight container. Spread out evenly then drizzle lemon juice over top. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and secure the lid. Refrigerate. Stir before eating.
The pesto avocado also works well as a summer guacamole with or without the chickpeas!
To see the full lineup of recipes created for Erin be sure and check out the posts below. Trust me, they're not to be missed!
The Fauxmartha | A Pasta Dish for Busy Hands
A Couple Cooks | Breakfast Parfait with Roasted Strawberries
Eat This Poem | Penne with Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula
Cookie and Kate | Brussels Sprouts Pizza
FoodieCrush | Beet, Avocado and Fried Goat Cheese Salad
The Bojon Gourmet | Tempeh BLTs with Avocado + Chipotle Mayonnaise
Girl Versus Dough | Spiced Lentils with Poached Eggs
Dolly and Oatmeal | Chickpea Bean Bowl with Toasted Bread Crumbs and Dill Tahini
Food Loves Writing | Erin’s Veggie Burgers
With Food + Love | Creamy Polenta with Crispy Beets
London Bakes | Ricotta Gnocchi with Wild Garlic and Pistachio Pesto
Flourishing Foodie | Glazed Tofu with Ramen
This Homemade Life | Chickpea Greek Salad
My Name is Yeh | Creamed Spinach
Brooklyn Supper | One-Pot Pasta Primavera
Wishing all the best to Erin and her growing family.