Avocado Chickpea Salad

Spring is finally here! Or at least what we Canadians call spring…alternating light snow and rain, interspersed by hot and muggy days to give you that nice first sunburn of the season. Huzzah! It is about this time of year that we rejoice, as the produce sections of our local markets begin to stock more and more fresh vegetables that have looked more than a little wilted all winter. What better way to celebrate than to try out a new recipe using deliciously fresh veggies! Yum!

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This recipe is sort of like a replacement for egg salad. Now, we aren’t saying egg salad is really unhealthy for you, so you should eat this alternative instead. But with one of us allergic to eggs, and the other with a strong aversion to egg salad in general, we thought it would be a fun project to find a delicious alternative. It also gives us a quick and easy option for us to take to work for lunch!

One thing we are trying to focus on this year is to try and eat more natural foods. Instead of bottled salad dressings, we are trying oil and vinegar alternatives. In this case, we are trying to replace mayonnaise or Miracle Whip in an egg salad-type recipe with yogurt and mashed avocado and chickpeas. While we realize that avocado is a high calorie food due to the level of healthy fats it contains, we like knowing exactly what has gone into the food we are ingesting, without all of the chemical additives and preservatives found in so many of today’s prepackaged foods. And the yogurt? We just started making that at home too! Stay tuned for that recipe on a later date!

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We decided to try out this recipe a couple of times before we posted it, and one of the best things that we have discovered is that it is fairly flexible. We kept the chickpea, avocado, and Greek yogurt base the same both times to supply the creamy texture for the base, acting as a more natural replacement for processed mayo or miracle whip. But the spice profile can be adjusted to your taste and mood every time you make it, and the fresh veggies that are added at the end can also be changed depending on what you are in the mood for, or really whatever you have sitting in your fridge! It is a great way to use up odds and ends of veggies that didn’t quite fit into this week’s dinner dishes.

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Recipe

1 ripe avocado, cut into small chunks
1 can chickpeas (540 mL), drained and rinsed
2 ½ Tbsp plain 0% Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
1 green onion, chopped
½ yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped

For an extra flavour boost, we took the time do a little extra prep work on the avocado. We sliced it in half and removed the stone, then coated it in lime juice and grilled it on a small grill for a few minutes. A delicious option, but you can just as easily use a plain ripe avocado with excellent results. If you don’t have a grill, bake the avocado halves at 425 F for 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, mash together the avocado chunks and chickpeas using a potato masher or large fork. You can leave some of the chickpeas whole, but you want to really smoosh the avocado to make the mixture fairly creamy. Mix in the Greek yogurt. Add in all spices and the vinegar, and mix well. Mix in the green onion, yellow pepper, and celery. At this stage, you can add more Greek yogurt if you would like a more creamy texture. Congratulations, your healthy salad is finished!

Serve in a whole wheat pita on a bed of kale and sliced pickle. Enjoy! Of course, the salad tastes great on its own without the pita too!
Makes four servings.
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