Vegan Chickpea Salad

So, we’ve talked about the stuff my parents used to pack me for lunch. Liverwurst sandwiches, leftover soy sauce chicken, prunes as a snack. I was a very well-fed kid. But stinky. So stinky.

Tuna was always one of those stinky staples. When my dad was away and my mom didn’t feel like cooking, we’d eat tuna sandwiches. Made with lots of mayo, and chopped pimento-stuffed olives. If my dad made it, it was curried. But that’s a different story. He doesn’t do normal.

But apparently the stench of tuna bothers some people. Weird. This non-tuna salad variation is perfect to bring for lunch and it has the added bonus of not smelling like anything in particular (other than good stuff like lemon, dill and onion).

So when I have kids, I’ll feed them this. On top of the liverwurst sandwiches, leftover chicken, and sardines on toast (yep, that was in the lineup!). This pairs well with busy days and a glass of lemonade with a pretty paper straw.

Chickpea Salad

Vegan Chickpea Salad

Makes 3-4 servings

What you need:

-1 15-oz. can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
-2 tbsp Trader Joe’s Reduced Fat Mayo (Did you know this is vegan? Fun fact.)
-Juice of 1 lemon
-1/4 of a large white onion, diced
-1-2 stalks celery, finely chopped
-2 tsp fresh dill (dried is fine in a pinch… GET IT?!)
-1 tsp paprika

What you do:

1. Mash chickpeas with a fork or potato masher. Add mayo and lemon and continue to mash until it’s at your preferred consistency. I like mine super mashed, but some people like a few full chickpeas in theirs. You also don’t have to mash at all. Up to you.

2. Stir in onion, celery, dill and paprika. You’re done!

3. Optional final step is to spoon this onto some thick slices of toasted sourdough with avocado. Actually I take it back. That’s not optional. Super necessary.

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Easy Shredded Chicken + 10-Minute Healthy Stir Fry

I went on my first real date when I was 15. I was a Freshman in high school, he was a Junior and we went to Panera. I’d been to Panera before, but that didn’t stop me from obsessing over the menu for hours before he picked me up to decide what to order. Can’t go with my usual Sierra Turkey – too many onions, DUH. Do girls really order salads when they go on dates? If so, how do you avoid the inevitable lettuce-in-your-teeth dilemma?

I went with the chicken salad sandwich. I mean, what? I can’t remember what my reasoning was. I’d probably had chicken salad twice before in my life. It immediately fell apart as I went to eat it. I basically spent the rest of our date scooping chicken salad off my plate and into my mouth with my fingers. Just reeked of mayo.

Do you know those moments in life that forever make you cringe? Like that time you waved at someone who was actually waving at the person behind you? Or that time you tried to impress someone by pretending to also like that band they like, but then you butchered the name?

I have those moments daily. But that first date stuck with me for a very long time. Couldn’t eat chicken for close to a year because of the cringing it induced.

Fortunately, chicken and I are friends again. Especially the shredded, coconut-infused variety.

This chicken pairs well with literally everything – put it on salads, in (Thai Coconut Curry) soup, stir fry. But it pairs especially nicely with a glass of white wine while you bask in the fact that you are now a sophisticated adult who does significantly fewer cringe-worthy things. But not none. It will never be none.

Shredded chicken ON a salad. (Not chicken salad, thank God.)

Shredded chicken ON a salad. (Not chicken salad, thank God.)

Easy Shredded Chicken

Makes two 4 oz servings

What you need:

-1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken (breast or tenders, up to you – I prefer tenders)
-1 tsp coconut oil (or preferred oil, but it’s awesome like this)
-1 tsp garlic salt
-3/4 cup water

What you do:

1. Lay your chicken on a flat surface and sprinkle liberally on both sides with garlic salt.

2. Heat oil over medium heat in a medium-large nonstick skillet. When oil is hot, add chicken to pan.

3. Cook chicken on one side for 5 minutes, then flip to the other side and immediately add water to skillet so the chicken is mostly covered, with just the tops poking out. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes.

4. Remove chicken from pan and put on a plate to cool. When you’re ready to use, it can be easily shredded with a fork or pulled apart with your fingers. Put it in whatever you want! Or add it to… stir fry! Recipe below.

Quick Stir Fry

10-Minute Healthy Stir Fry

Makes 1 serving

What you need:

-1 tsp sesame oil
-1 cup raw kale, stems removed, chopped into bite size pieces
-3-4 oz shredded chicken
-1/2 cup raw shiitake mushrooms
-1/8 cup green onion, chopped
-1/4 of a large red bell pepper, chopped
-1-2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
-1 tbsp Kikkoman teriyaki glaze
-1 tbsp sriracha

What you do:

1. Heat oil over medium heat in a medium-large skillet. Add kale and cover pan for about 3 minutes to steam and soften slightly.

2. Add chicken, mushrooms, green onion and bell pepper all at once, stirring constantly. Add soy sauce, continuing to stir for about 3 more minutes.

3. When soy sauce has reduced slightly and all veggies are mostly softened, add sriracha and teriyaki glaze, stirring for another minute or two.

4. Immediately remove from heat and serve, topped with some additional green onion or cilantro if you have it.

Enjoy this dish with a side of the fact that you are not 15 anymore.