Chickpea “chicken” salad

Turns out it’s not chicken that gives chicken salad the classic, comforting taste.  It’s the add-ins.  So this chickpea substitute won’t make you wish you were eating the “real” thing.  Plus it’s full of just as much protein, with the addition of fiber, which chicken sadly lacks.  Once the chickpeas are cooked this recipe is a breeze.  Great on top of a salad, with a baguette for an al fresco lunch or healthy, filling camping sandwiches.

Plastic/package-free recipe tips:

  • Bread – Whole foods has a grab and go station for loaves of bread that you can just put in your own produce bag. Bring a produce or bread bag with you to any grocery store with a bakery and ask if they can put a loaf in for you if there’s no self-serve station
  • Mayo – here is a recipe for making your own mayonnaise so you’re not subjected to the plastic jug at the store. Or if you know a brand in a glass jar, that’s your best bet and save the jar for some nuts or granola.
  • Celery – lots of grocery stores sell celery without plastic packaging so it’s a great option for a lot of recipes when you’re zero waste cooking. You’ll end up with just the thick rubber band which can be reused
  • Dill – dill is also sometimes sold without plastic packaging, but it’s not the most popular herb so it’s often packaged to offer a longer shelf life. Do you have a sunny spot near a window?  Try growing some!  If it gets a few hours of good sunlight every day you can have a replenishing supply
  • Nuts, seeds, dried fruit add-ins – bulk section! This is a no-brainer.  And if you’re in South Florida, we’ll deliver these to you 😉


Not too many rules when making this recipe.  However you like your chicken salad is the same way you’d like this recipe.  Add whatever you like to it, and however much mayo.  We use the classic celery, plus some sliced almonds, lemon and dill.  Feel free to add onion, grapes, sunflower seeds or whatever else it is that turns your chicken salad on.


Depending on the size of your crowd, mash about 2-3 cups of cooked chickpeas.  You can use a potato masher, the bottom of a cup or just a fork.  Or for less of an arm workout, pulse in a food processor (don’t puree though).  Leave some chickpea intact for a good texture.

Then just mix everything together.  Here is a recipe for low waste mayonnaise so you can avoid the plastic jugs at the market.  Add some lettuce for a sandwich or use it as a topping to a salad for lower carb.

There is very little waste produced during this recipe!  Celery tops and dill stems are frozen for veggie stock. The base of the celery can be put in a cup of water to regrow.  Fun for kids to try, and just kind of a pleasure to resurrect a food you’ve used.

Chickpea "chicken" salad


  • 2.5 cups cooked chickpeas more or less depending on how much you want
  • 2 tbsp mayo more or less depending on preference
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1 handful sliced almonds optional
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder


  • Mash or pulse chickpeas in food processor (don't puree)
  • Mix chickpeas with rest of ingredients. Salt & pepper to taste

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