Waldorf Chickpea Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing (Vegan)

January 11, 2015
This is the first in a series of budget-friendly recipes I'll be doing in the upcoming weeks. I am currently unemployed (for the first time since I was 17!) so I'm trying to stick to less expensive food options. This'll include things like dried beans and lentils, oat-based desserts, and a majority of vegan recipes. It's been a strange shift for me not to be working. I worked 30-40 hours a week while going to university full-time, and it's weird not to be ridiculously busy. It was a lot easier to find work while I was still a student. 

I had a few big kitchen failures yesterday. I was full of grand plans for the blog this week, with a midweek gluten-free injera (Ethiopian flatbread) recipe and then a split pea Ethiopian stew for the weekend. The flatbread was just weird. I used an overnight yeast dough to sour it a bit and it seemed okay, but when I tried to cook it the bread just dried out and smelled disgusting. I didn't take a picture of the finished product, but there's one of the dough mixture below. It was really strange. It's supposed to have lots of little air bubbles on the surface, and you don't flip it. Mine had no bubbles and went instantly paper dry. I was using teff flour for the first time, so if anyone has some hints or suggestions, please share your wisdom. The stew tasted really good, but it looks like baby poop. I don't know how to make that look pretty. See below for some (not very appealing) photos!

I also tried to make my raspberry oat muffins in a loaf tin because the muffin tin was still at the other house. Massive failure. It rose, fell, bubbled, and spilled out of the tin. It was flat, dense, and undercooked, even after well over an hour in the oven. The recipe uses eggs, so I didn't want to try eating it. What a waste. It works fabulously for muffins though. I have the muffin tin again now. Oh man, I also made my banana bread and forgot to add the coconut oil. It turned out all right despite being fat free, so keep that in mind if you want to try the recipe but you're avoiding added fat it your food. I noticed it seemed a little dry so I added more milk, and it's still pretty damn tasty.

Enough with the bad stuff. Let's move on to a successful recipe! This is a quick and easy recipe that only needs a few ingredients you probably already have laying around. Waldorf salad is traditionally made with heaps of mayonnaise and often includes chicken. It's not the healthiest option. This is a fresh and filling version that won't break the bank, especially because I used cooked chickpeas instead of canned. If you're pressed for time, canned will work just as well, or even better. You want them to be quite soft. Canned is definitely the easier way to go. I also got the avocado on sale, and lemons are cheap right now. Hooray for winter citrus season! Apples and celery are generally pretty inexpensive. Don't forget to de-string your celery. Just take a sharp knife and peel the stringy bits from the outside of the stalk. Only you can prevent tooth gunk!

I ate the salad on some dark rye bread but it's just as good with lettuce, or as a standalone dish. The avocado dressing will stay quite green for a day or two, because of the lemon juice, so this is also something you can take to work for lunch. The dressing is great with other types of salads too. Try it with quinoa! My mom used it for coleslaw.

2 cups cooked chickpeas, or well drained and rinsed canned
1 apple, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
Optional: 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Put all the stuff in a bowl. Cut the apple and celery to be about the same size as the chickpeas for a nice time.

1 large ripe avocado
Zest and juice of one lemon (about 1/4 cup juice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced (optional)*
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of hot pepper flakes (optional)*
Water to thin if needed

Throw all this stuff into a blender (I used a bullet blender) and mix until smooth. If it's really thick, add a splash of water. It doesn't need to be really thin. It'll still mix well with the salad if it isn't. This makes about double the amount of dressing you'll need, so either double the salad or save the dressing for a different thing.

Add the dressing to the salad and mix to coat. Serve cold.

1. If you hate raw garlic, don't add it. I love it.
2. Optional, but delicious.

1 comment on "Waldorf Chickpea Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing (Vegan)"