I was lucky enough to spend this past Labor Day weekend at home in St. Louis. My whole family, just like me, is totally food-obsessed, so whenever I go home, the trip is all about the food. Since becoming a vegetarian, my STL restaurant picks have changed a bit. Despite this, there are certain foods that I associate with my hometown and still get the taste for, one of them being the creamy chicken salad from a gourmet market near my house, piled high on soft wheat bread with fresh lettuce and tomato. I grew up eating this delicious salad all the time, and I absolutely loved it. Well, I obviously don’t eat meat, let alone chicken, anymore, but I was determined to make a vegetarian version of my favorite St. Louis chicken salad. So I decided to make a creamy chickpea salad for my family’s Labor Day brunch on Monday. This is a very easy recipe, flavored simply with fresh tarragon and made creamy by a mix of classic mayo and low-fat, plain Greek yogurt. My chickpea salad has the texture of the chicken salad I grew up eating, as well as the same flavor, but instead of chicken, I use partially mashed, protein-packed chickpeas. My meat-eating family loved my veggie friendly rendition, so I obviously had to share. This is a quick, no-cook, and absolutely delish recipe, great on its own, on a salad, on a sandwich, or in a wrap. I would even serve it on mini slider rolls at a casual, day-time party.
Creamy Tarragon Chick[pea] Salad Serves: 4 Calories per Serving: 315 Start to Finish: 10 minutes Ingredients 2 cans Chickpeas, drained and rinsed* 1/2 cup diced Celery (2 stalks) 3 tablespoons Mayonnaise 3 tablespoons 2% Plain Greek Yogurt 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Tarragon Leaves 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt, fine-grain 1/4 teaspoon White Pepper (black pepper works too) To Make Add half of the chickpeas to a medium bowl. Using a fork, mash the chickpeas until none of the chickpeas are whole. Add the second half of the chickpeas to the bowl, and partially mash, leaving some of these whole. Add the rest of the ingredients to the chickpeas, toss to combine. You can eat the salad immediately, or refrigerate to allow flavors to meld. My favorite way to eat this salad is piled onto whole-wheat bread with lettuce and tomato. You can also top fresh lettuce and veggies with the salad for a lower carb, gluten-free dish. *I used a "no-salt-added" variety of chickpeas, reduce the amount of salt to 1/4 tsp if using already-salted chickpeas **To make this dish even healthier, reduce the mayo by 1 TBS and add an additional tablespoon yogurt (reduces the fat by 2 grams and reduces calories by about 20)