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February 10, 2015

by Alyssa Rimmer

Smashed Chickpea Salad with Vegan Caesar Dressing

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Remember back in August, when the weather was warm and the sun was shining, I shared my healthy spin on a potato-free potato salad? It was a smashed chickpea salad which could easily (and hopefully) replace that potato salad that someone in the group inevitably brings to a cookout. 

You know, that creamy, mayo-y salad that is totally delicious and totally not that great for you? 

Well I’ve been making that salad for months, eating it by the spoonful, spreading it on crackers and using it on sandwiches, and while I’ve loved every bite, I needed another version to add to my lunch- and dinner-time rotations.

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I love sandwiches. Always have and always will. They’re not only a great lunch option, but they’re also perfect for dinner because you can throw them together in minutes, can balance them out nutritionally without much headache and they taste freaking awesome. Especially when you load them up with veggies.

I think the perfect sandwich is basically just a salad between two slices of bread. I like to have greens, a blend of other veggies, some lean protein and good fats on there. The carbs from the bread, so it really does become a balanced meal!

As I’ve cleaned up my diet though and started to eat more plant-based (especially this week!), the protein piece has been a challenge, which is why I’ve turned to my beloved smashed chickpea salad. It combines healthy fats, protein and it’s plant-based!

But like I said, I was getting stuck in a chickpea salad rut and I felt like it was time for some variety. 

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And so today I’m bringing you my latest creation. It’s a smashed chickpea caesar salad that tastes just like classic caesar salad but it's actually healthy and…it's vegan!

Traditionally, caesar salad gets a bad rap. It's loaded with eggs, oil, and yes, even fish. Not really my cup of tea.

Instead, I made a tasty dressing of cashews, garlic, mustard, vegan mayo, briny capers and a few other tasty ingredients. It results in a rich, creamy dressing that pulls in all the wonderful flavors of caesar without all the icky ingredients. Then you toss it with some smashed chickpeas, a little quinoa and use it like you would chicken salad. It’s a great way to spice up your favorite sandwich (or even use it as a salad topping) and has quickly become my go-to lunch option.

And I hope you love it too!

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Smashed Chickpea Caesar Salad

It’s a smashed chickpea caesar salad that tastes just like classic caesar salad but it's actually healthy and...it's vegan!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 230kcal
Author Alyssa Rimmer
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5 from 2 votes


for the salad:

  • 1 cup Bob's Red Mill Garbanzo Beans/Chickpeas soaked for at least 8 hours (with optional 1/2" piece of kombu)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup red onion finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly dill finely chopped
  • 1 batch of dressing
  • Toppings: sprouts smashed avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, etc.

for the dressing

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup water + more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon miso
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons vegan mayo
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Add your soaked chickpeas into a large pot with water. Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer and let cook until beans are tender about 70 - 90 minutes. Once tender, strain and run under cold water for a few minutes until they're cool enough to touch.
  • Transfer the chickpeas to a large bowl and prepare the dressing.
  • Add all ingredients into a blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy. If the blender gets stuck, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until the dressing is the desired consistency (that of a classic caesar dressing).
  • Smash the chickpeas with a fork or potato masher. Add onions and dill and fold in the dressing.
  • Serve on top of crackers, a salad or on some toasted gluten-free bread!


Calories: 230kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 497mg | Potassium: 255mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 30IU | Vitamin C: 4.2mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1.8mg

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This post was sponsored by the awesome folks over at Bob’s Red Mill. Thanks for supporting the companies and brands that promote the healthy, sustainable lifestyle that I believe in and share on SQ!

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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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  1. Love your recipes, tried most of them, thankyou for giving me variety and changing my life, you are awesome.

  2. This sounds awesome! I will definately make it sometime soon. but i never know what kind of miso to buy. i have seen many different kinds in stores before. what kind of miso should be used with this?

    • I think you can use any type of miso really! I usually buy either red or white and I buy it in the refrigerated section. I also always make sure that it’s organic and non-GMO!

  3. […] Smashed Chickpea Salad Sandwich with Vegan Caesar Dressing from Simply Quinoa […]

  4. I love the idea of a chickpea salad as a meatless option. The flavors in this one are so tempting, too – and I agree, perfect sandwich stuffing!

  5. I’m wondering about the gluten free bread used for the smashed chick pea salad sandwich. Looks great and like “real” bread !

    • In full transparency, the photos aren’t of gluten-free bread. I made this sandwich for my boyfriend, but I do know that Schar makes a bread that is similar, deli-style to this one 🙂

  6. I am totally intrigued by the idea of substituting chickpeas for potatoes. I have a couple of bags of dried chickpeas that need using and this might be a fun change.

  7. i need more sandwiches in my life….. especially a salad mash up like this! i’ve made a smashed chickpea and avocado spread that i love, and this caesar idea also sounds great.

    • I love the smashed chickpea and avocado idea. I’ve seen that on two peas + their pod, but have yet to try it. That will be my next one 🙂


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