Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mashed Avocado Chickpea Salad

With so much food preservation technology, in terms of both additives and refrigeration, there aren't too many things that are immediately perishable anymore. But once you crack open an avocado, you better get to it. Not that this is a problem, mind you, but it does mean I have to challenge myself to make something other than ungodly amounts of guacamole, which I eat with reckless abandon. Avocado is a common healthy substitution for mayo, and I thought I'd give it a spin in my mashed chickpea salad, which has become a staple of my lunch diet.

Avocado adds a thicker creaminess than mayonnaise, but it comes with a lot more nutrition and flavor than even olive oil mayo. Lemon juice is there not only to prevent the avocado from taking on an unpleasant oxidated brown color but also to add a bright acidic note, punctuated by spice from the red pepper flakes. This sandwich is rich and filling enough as is, but it certainly wouldn't suffer if turned into a melt with a slice or two of oeey-goeey cheese.

Mashed Avocado Chickpea Salad
serves 1

1/2 cup cooked chickpeas, coarsely mashed
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
2 ounces mashed avocado (or 1 ounce mashed avocado + 1 T. mayo)
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice, or to taste
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or other herb (optional)
Pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Whole grain tortilla, bread, pita, or crackers for serving (optional)
Lettuce, greens, or alfalfa sprouts, for serving (optional)

1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and stir well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top bread with chickpea mixture and greens, if desired, and serve.

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