I think of these sandwiches in “ultimate” terms. Tracing the long line of looping, fallen dominos, I would find myself in a (perhaps socially unacceptable) glutinous state at my dinner table on Thanksgiving. I know, I know. Everyone is a glutton on Thanksgiving. Here’s the thing, though: I cooked the whole meal, I was drunk by noon, and I did a couple of things I’m not proud of. See, I ate a lot. Like, the people around me had stopped eating and I kept going. What’s more is that, in my wine-induced state, I did some uncharacteristic things. I made terrible jokes. I was loud. And when I got thirsty, I threw the idea of pouring water from our communal pitcher into my own glass out the window; instead, I picked up the pitcher, removed its lid, and hydrated.
Some of you have heard this story. Some of you were there. And some of you know how small my stomach is and how terrible I felt for a while afterward. I felt so physically uncomfortable from that meal and my decisions that we are still talking about this in March. I won’t lie–it’s usually with a fair amount of laughter. Because, well, I was pretty funny.
With that said, I can probably count the number of dishes I have cooked since then that have had meat in them. I legitimately have not been in the mood for it, and it is all Thanksgiving’s fault. Honestly, though, I have had a lot of fun with it. While I don’t identify as a vegetarian, there was a time several years ago when I did, and it has been great to revamp some old recipes. And try some new ideas, like this one, inspired by a sandwich I had at an amazing bakery called Honey and Rye. Go there.
In my usual, non-Minnesotan-living-in-Minnesota way, I omitted the mayonnaise, substituting instead a lightly lemony, garlic-infused vinaigrette to my mixture of chickpeas, feta cheese, red onion, and kalamata olives. For sandwiches, spread on sourdough or baguette, then top with more feta, cucumber, and avocado slices. But don’t feel obligated to think inside the box; this stuff tastes great by itself, mixed into salads, or as a component to a rustic, vegetable-packed toast. Be forewarned, though, that there isn’t any going back.
Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
Makes about 3 cups of Chickpea Salad
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 oz feta cheese, diced or crumbled
2 tbsp diced red onion
10 kalamata olives, chopped
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
juice of half a lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
sourdough bread slices (baguette works wonderfully, as well)
Chickpea Salad: Put chickpeas in food processor and pulse until chickpeas are roughly chopped, with some larger pieces. Transfer chickpeas to large bowl. Stir in feta cheese, red onion, and olives. In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pour vinaigrette over chickpea mixture, stirring until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if necessary.
Assembly: Top one slice of bread with chickpea salad, spreading (relatively) evenly. Sprinkle with additional feta crumbles, then cucumber and avocado slices, as desired. Top with additional slice of bread. Devour.