When I ate meat, I loved chicken salad and tuna salad. Tuna salad was my go to protein source for many years, either as a blob on a salad or in a sandwich. Growing up we always had dill pickles in our salads, so it was clearly a savory dish, not something you put sweet things in. I never was a fan of chicken salad with grapes or sweet pickles. That said, I loved putting diced apples in my tuna salad. (I'm told I get that from my grandmother, Nana.)
When I stopped eating meat, I didn't stop wanting a tuna melt or some chicken salad on a saltine cracker. The internet is full of faux tuna or chicken salads but I never tried one. When my parents became vegetarian, my mom decided to try one, made with mashed garbanzo beans. It was delicious. Even my dad could eat some while he was getting chemo, so it had to be pretty good!
This is my version, and to be honest it really isn't even a recipe. You can just put what you like into it. You like grapes and walnuts, go for it. You can add those diced apples. You can use sweet relish or dill relish, or none at all. You can use mayo or yogurt depending on your preference. You can make it vegan by not putting boiled eggs and using Veganaise. I am a fan of good ole Duke's Mayo. If you want it to be more tuna-like, add a few pinches of dulse flakes, a sea weed that adds that "fishy" kind of flavor.
For full dislosure, when I made this I raved about it. I took some to work, telling my friend Tracy it was just like tuna salad. She tried a bite and didn't fully agree, but said it was good nonetheless. So although not exactly like tuna or chicken salad, it is the same texture, and has the same sort of flavors. Although you may still eat chicken and tuna, this is a nice way to eat a legume, and give yourself a good, meatless option.
If you need a recipe, here is mine. I hope you like it, exactly like chicken or not!
Mock Chicken Salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes (to boil eggs)
Ingredients (4 - 5 servings)
- I 15 oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
- 2 stalks of celery (include leaves if they have them), chopped
- 2 green onions, white and 1/2 of the green parts, sliced
- 2 hard boiled eggs, grated
- 2 Tbsp pickle relish of your choice (sweet or dill)
- 2 Tbsp mayonaise
- big pinch of kosher salt
- 6 grinds of pepper
Put chickpeas into a mixing bowl, and using a fork, mash them until they are chunky. Add all remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Taste and add more mayonnaise, and seasonings as desired.
Note: You can make this vegan by omitting the eggs and using Veganaise for the mayo.