Chickpea Salad Stuffed Tomatoes

Chickpea Salad Stuffed Tomato - Easy meal that's great for summerI still remember the first tuna salad sandwich I ever ate. I was over at my aunt’s house, sitting at her kitchen table. I couldn’t have been more than four or five. She was making sandwiches for me and my cousin. I took a bite and was instantly taken with the creamy sandwich, soft white bread, and then the occasional crunch of garlicky dill pickle. When I got home that afternoon, I couldn’t wait to tell my mom about it.

“You ate what?” she said.

I was known as being a picky eater, and that sandwich fell outside of the range of what she thought I’d eat.

A few years after that, tuna salad sandwiches became one of the first things I ever learned how to “cook.” Just open a can, add a spoonful or two of mayo, the tiniest dollop of mustard perhaps, chopped dill pickle and celery, and then add my mom’s secret ingredient – celery seed – for a little celery explosion in your mouth. Stir and slather it between two slices of bread. It couldn’t get much easier. It was a lunch of pantry staples, which meant that even if there was nothing in the house to eat, there were probably ingredients for that.

It’s fitting then that chickpea salad sandwiches were one of my go-to’s when I first went vegan. I ate them almost daily. The process of making them is virtually the same as making tuna salad, with one obvious exception, of course – the fishes. Instead, homemade chickpeas or canned chickpeas that have been drained and rinsed are briefly thrown into a food processor and broken up once or twice. You don’t want it to become hummus. You want it to still have some of its form, just crumbly and in flakes.  If there are a few whole chickpeas left in the mix, that’s fine.

Chickpea Salad Stuffed in a Tomato - Simple & DeliciousJust like the tuna salad sandwiches of yore, I always have ingredients for chickpea salad. I pull out the Vegenaise and stone-ground mustard, jar of dill pickle slices, a stalk of celery, and a pinch of my mom’s secret ingredient. Then a sprinkling of fresh or dried dill amps up the pickled flavor.  (If you prefer to make your own mayo, I like the tofu-cashew mayonnaise from Susan at FatFree Vegan.)

Some people add dulse flakes to their chickpea salad for an added ocean-y quality, but I never do. The one thing I didn’t care for with tuna salad was its fishiness, and so seaweed is one food I can’t get my mouth around. Even just the smell of it makes my stomach do a flip-flop.

Chickpea salad sandwiches are great when you’re late but need something quick to make on your way out the door, and it comes in handy when you lose power like I did a couple of weeks ago. A power line came crashing to the ground outside, leaving us without power for about 7 hours. So instead of using the food processor, I just quickly crushed the chickpeas with a fork instead. The texture is better with a food processor, but in a pinch, a fork will do. Sitting in the candlelight eating chickpea salad on crackers, it almost could have been romantic… but it would have been better with air conditioning.

Chickpea salad is terrific on a sandwich, served in dollops on top of crackers, rolled into a tortilla, wrapped into romaine leaves or endive, stuffed into a hollowed tomato, or eaten straight out of the bowl with a fork. And the great thing is, it can be tweaked to your tastes and preferences, no recipe necessary. It’s so easy, even a kid could do it.

That said, here is my favorite way to make it. Feel free to tweak it and make it your own!

Chickpea Salad Stuffed Tomato - A quick & tasty lunch or dinner

Chickpea Salad Stuffed Tomatoes

Serving Size: Serves 2-4

Chickpea Salad Stuffed Tomatoes


  • 1 1/2 cups chickpeas (1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped small
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons dill pickle, chopped small
  • 2 Tablespoons eggless mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon stoneground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes or 4 small tomatoes
  • Pinch of dried dill or chopped fresh dill


  1. In a food processor, quickly break up chickpeas, celery, and dill pickle until they are flaky and combined, but not to the point of becoming a creamy spread. (You may need to stop and scrape down the sides, so that everything breaks up evenly.)
  2. Transfer the chickpea mixture to a mixing bowl with eggless mayonnaise, stoneground mustard, celery seed, and a pinch of salt and combine.
  3. Cut the tops off of the tomatoes. Using a spoon, hollow out the tomatoes, removing all of the seeds and gel, and being careful not to break through the exterior of the tomatoes.
  4. Using a spoon, carefully fill the tomatoes with the chickpea salad. Top the chickpea salad with a pinch of dried or fresh dill and serve.

Kale Crusaders print - Guac-kale-mole

Meredith at Kale Crusaders made a super cute illustration for chickpea salad a couple months ago.  If you like chickpeas in snorkeling gear (and who doesn’t?), you should definitely check it out.  And speaking of Meredith, she was kind enough to email me a file of the guac-kale-mole illustration she created based on my recipe.  I had it printed yesterday on cardstock at a local printer, cut it down to 8 x 8, and framed it!  It is so sweet! Now I just have to find the perfect spot for it…


  1. says

    what a great idea! i loved tuna sandwiches growing up. my mom made the best ones. i loved in the summer when she would put a nice big slice of tomato from our garden in the sandwich, too. it was unbelievable.

    • says

      Fresh from the garden tomatoes are the best! My dad and I used to eat tomatoes, still warm from the garden, covered in mayo. I was thinking of that when I put dollops of chickpea salad inside of this one.

    • says

      I think it looks great too! You should think about selling prints of your work. The images would be adorable in sets on the wall!

  2. says

    That illustration is adorable! I actually haven’t ever made chickpea salad before and it’s been on my to-do list all summer. I feel exactly the same way about the whole fishy taste thing so your recipe looks like the perfect one for me to try!

  3. says

    Yep, me too – tuna sandwiches (or all the permutations you mention) were one of my favorites as a kid too, and one of my first veganized dishes as well. I, too, started with chickpeas – but then saw in the comments section of one of the recipes I was trying, the suggestion to try cannellini beans instead. So I did, and instantly liked them better (closer in color and texture to the albacore I’d preferred in my clueless youth). I’m one of those adders of dulse flakes, and since my mom always put green olives in hers, so do I! I think I need to get some cashews soaking, I sense “tun-not” salad in our very near future. :-)

    I adore the Guac-kale-mole illustration!! That is so cute and clever! I am off to see her chickpea salad masterpiece. You two should collaborate on an illustrated cookbook/tips for going vegan book, dontcha know! :-)

    • says

      That’s a really interesting suggestion with cannellini beans. I’ll have to try that next time!

      Didn’t Meredith do such a great job with the illustration? I hung it in my kitchen yesterday, and it looks really sweet. It would be very fun to collaborate with her on a project. Good thinking, Laurie! :)

  4. says

    Oh yum! What a nice summer lunch idea. We are growing some tomatoes out back, and if the plants decide to fruit, I’ll definitely stuff them with this salad!

  5. says

    Yes, tuna salad sandwiches were a food group when I was growing up. And chickpea salad is a welcome alternative now that I prefer to see fish swimming rather than on my plate. I love the summery idea of stuffing it into ripe tomatoes for a refreshing supper or party starter. Nice illustration!

  6. acookinthemaking says

    Mmmm I love chickpea salads like this! Very excited to try your version with chopped pickles in it. Also love the idea of making stuffed tomatoes with it–these remind me of the tuna-stuffed tomatoes my aunt makes on Passover every year (which I used to love). I bet these are even tastier :)

  7. Shell says

    This is right up my alley! I lost roasted chickpeas and now I enjoy making hummus in my Vitamix, but I’ve never tried a simple chickpea salad. Yum!

  8. says

    I really really really like that idea. Using tomatoes to hold salad-like things always ends up looking so delicious and inviting.

    THAT PRINT IS AWESOME. I hope we’ll see more Cadry-Meredith collaborations or that she’ll take your advice and make/sell prints!

  9. says

    Such a cute print. How cool – the world needs more recipes as art! I don’t remember tuna salad really featuring in my sandwich choices much as a kid, but I eat the vegan equivalents a whole lot, with soaked sunflower seeds and almonds as the base. Yum.


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