On Wednesdays there’s a small farmers’ market in our neighborhood. Right on my way home, it has become a regular stop after work. A couple of firsts of the season today, sweet corn and tomatoes. Although we’d been patiently waiting, I was a bit surprised to see both. The tomatoes were deeply red and quite large, which made me question how they could be local. The friendly vendor explained they certainly were, but greenhouse-grown; in soil, as opposed to hydroponically. She assured me they’d be just as flavorful as the ones grown outdoors we’d be seeing at the market next month. A sample proved she wasn’t exaggerating! Tomatoes bursting with that taste of late summer I wasn’t expecting in July.
My wheels were spinning and in my mind those tomatoes were sliced, salted & peppered, and topping off a splendid summer sandwich. How convenient that right in front of me was the Grateful Bread stand! Out of River Falls, Wisconsin (with no website I could find to link to), they make delicious breads with unique ingredient blends. Last time I bought a loaf that included spent grain from the beer brewing process at River Falls’ Rush River Brewing Company. Today it was a whole wheat that included quinoa, amaranth, millet, buckwheat, flax seed, oats, rye, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds. Fresh and soft, perfect for a sandwich.
Lately I’ve been putting lots of farmers’ market veggies to use in a chickpea salad. It’s sort of tuna salad’s hippie vegetarian cousin. Mashed chickpeas, onion, radishes, garlic scapes (when I can get them), fennel, hot peppers, cabbage, and celery seed. A versatile salad, you can use whatever you have on hand beyond the chickpeas. It’s all mixed together with salt, pepper and a little mayo (once again, I’ll mention the outstanding and vegan Earth Balance Mindful Mayo—so, so good!), but, if you’re mayo-averse, you could use Greek yogurt or a mixture of mashed avocado with a little lime juice in its place.
On a crusty roll or good quality bread with peppery arugula and sliced ripe tomatoes, this is a meal of a sandwich. Or for a gluten-free option, spoon some chickpea salad on top a bed of wild rice. Finish it off with avocado slices or maybe some micro greens. Enjoy!
Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans) or 1 can, rinsed and drained
½ cup chopped white or sweet onion
2-3 garlic scapes, chopped
3 radishes, diced
1-2 fennel stalks, chopped (or one celery stalk, chopped)
½ cup shredded green cabbage
1 tablespoon chopped hot pepper (jalapeño or hot cherry peppers work well)
¼ teaspoon celery seed
A couple tablespoons mayo, Greek yogurt, or mashed avocado sprinkled with fresh lime juice
Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Topping options: Arugula, lettuce, avocado, tomato, micro greens, sunflower seeds
Place chickpeas in a medium bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork. Add onion, scapes, radish, fennel, cabbage, hot pepper, and celery seed. Mix to combine. Stir in mayo. Season with salt and pepper and mix again.
Serve on crusty rolls, good quality bread, or a bed of wild rice. Makes about 4 servings.