March 19, 2021

by Alyssa

Pesto Chickpea Melt Sandwiches

Jump To Recipe

A healthy pesto chickpea melt sandwich made with capers, red onion, basil, and vegan cheese. This is the perfect make-ahead plant-based lunch with a gluten-free option.

overhead of four open-face vegan chickpea melts with sprouts ontop

I have been on a major sandwich kick lately! I just find them so satisfying, quick to make, and ultimately, they're the perfect lunch for someone who's super busy (like you and me).

When it comes to sandwiches though, I waffle. Sometimes I'm all about the raw veggies and sometimes I need something a little more comforting.

That's what I've got for you today. A cozy, nourishing, super delicious lunch that will take you no more than 5 minutes to make. We're talking about a pesto chickpea melt!

overhead of four images collaged with the steps to make vegan chickpea melts with pesto and whole grain bread

How to Make a Pesto Chickpea Melt

You might be wondering, “what the heck is a chickpea melt?!” And I can see why. Might sound a bit strange, but trust me, they are INSANELY delicious! They're essentially a meatless tuna melt made with chickpeas instead of actual tuna!

I shared my classic vegan tuna melt about a month ago and today I'm here to give you my newest favorite edition: PESTO! Honestly, everything is better with pesto.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Chickpeas: all you need is one can of chickpeas! Drain them and rinse them and then mash them up in your bowl so they kind of resemble the texture of tuna.
  • Mayo: for the “sauce” we're using mayo which is traditionally made with eggs. Luckily, there are lots of vegan mayo options out there now!
  • Mustard: I love a good whole grain mustard, but any will do!
  • Capers: capers will add salt, brine, and flavor to your pesto chickpea melt.
  • Red onion: I love a nice bite and zing with my chickpea tuna salad, so I always add in some chopped red onion.
  • Pesto: I love how easy it is to make vegan pesto, but if you can't make it at home, you can also buy it! (more on that in a sec)
  • Bread: a good bread is key here and my fave is from Little Northern Bakehouse! I'm obsessed with their new organic loaves – two slices is the perfect serving for lunch!
  • Vegan cheese: any sliced or shredded vegan cheese will work – all we're doing is melting it on top!
  • Tomato: and the last item to add is a slice (or two!) of fresh tomato. Totally optional, but totally delicious!

overhead shot of little northern bakehouse organic bread

The Best Gluten-Free Bread for Sandwiches

One of the trickiest things about living gluten-free is bread. It's so hard to find good quality bread with high-quality ingredients!

That's why, when I first discovered Little Northern Bakehouse a few years ago, I was instantly hooked. Not only is their bread delicious, but it's also made with good-for-you ingredients AND is allergy-friendly.

When they told me last year they were coming out with a new 100% certified organic line of sandwich bread, I was even more pumped!!

This bread is so darn good. It toasts up beautifully, is the dream loaf for sandwiches, and is the ultimate vehicle for this pesto chickpea melt!

The Little Northern Bakehouse organic varieties come in three delicious flavors:

  • Original
  • Oatmeal
  • Ancient Grain

I used the original loaf for this recipe, but you can't go wrong with any!

overhead of four slices of whole wheat bread with green pesto spread on top

Making Vegan Pesto

Next, let's talk about pesto. I love making pesto at home and my everyday vegan pesto is my go-to recipe! It's easy, super tasty, and perfect for any use.

If you don't feel like making pesto at home though, you can definitely find vegan versions at the store. Usually, they're in the refrigerated section, and just be sure to check the ingredients for no cheese!

overhead of a piece of gread with chickpeas and vegan cheese melted

Why You'll Love This Pesto Chickpea Melt

Okay, so I've been raving about these all post, but let's just recap why this recipe is so fabulous and why you absolutely need to make it!

These vegan tuna melts are:

super simple to make
packed with amazing flavor
vegan + gluten-free
allergy-friendly (thanks to Little Northern Bakehouse)
great for meal prep

And they're just super darn delicious!! I can't wait for you to try them. When you do, pop on over to Instagram and share a photo with us by tagging @simplyquinoa!

side view of a halved vegan chickpea melts with pesto

More Easy Plant-Based Lunch Ideas

Pesto Chickpea Melt Recipe

A healthy pesto chickpea melt sandwich made with capers, red onion, basil, and vegan cheese. This is the perfect make-ahead plant-based lunch with a gluten-free option.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 307kcal
Print Pin
side view of a halved vegan chickpea melts with pesto
4.75 from 4 votes


  • 1 can chickpeas , drained + rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons mayo (vegan if wanting to make this 100% vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 2 teaspoons chopped capers
  • 1 tablespoon chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons vegan pesto , divided
  • Generous pinch of salt + pepper
  • 4 slices dairy-free cheese
  • 4 slices whole grain bread
  • 4 slices tomato


  • Mash the chickpeas in a large bowl. Add the mayo, mustard, capers, onions, basil, two teaspooons of pesto, salt and pepper. Mix together.
  • Spread 1 teaspoon of pesto on each slice of bread. Divide the chickpea salad evenly across all four slices of bread. Top each slice of bread with a slice of tomato and a piece of cheese.
  • Place on a baking sheet, into the toaster oven and cook for 5 - 6 minutes until the cheese is melted.
  • Cut in half and enjoy!


Serving: 1piece of bread | Calories: 307kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 737mg | Potassium: 160mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 98IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 2mg

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About Alyssa

Hey there, I’m Alyssa Rimmer, a certified Holistic Nutritionist, yoga-lover, dog mom, and founder of Simply Quinoa. It’s nice to meet you! I created SQ as a way to provide solutions for women just like me, who were struggling to find helpful information about how to live a healthy and fulfilled life. My hope is that you will find inspiration here on SQ – in my story, in my recipes, in the hundreds of wellness articles, and in our amazing community. Welcome!

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