Easy Smashed Chickpea Sandwich (Vegetarian Tuna Melt)

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Jump to RecipeThe inside of a smashed chickpea melt.

This smashed chickpea salad is my new favorite sandwich. I have always loved a tuna melt, and this way you get all the same flavors as a tuna salad sandwich but it is completely vegetarian! Smashing the chickpeas give a similar texture to tuna. All the flavor comes in from the spices and veggies you add in.

This recipe does have melted cheese to give it that “tuna melt” feel. But it you are vegan, you can skip the cheese and just add some mashed avocado instead.

Ingredients and Substitutions

This easy smashed chickpea salad is a delicious recipe that I come back to time and time again. It only needs 1 can of chickpeas and you can change up the filling and flavors to whatever works best for you.

  • Chickpeas: The base of this recipe is smashed chickpeas. Chickpeas have a great texture that helps them flake and creates the filling for the sandwich. You can smash up the chickpeas with a fork or add them to a food processor to break them into smaller bits. I wouldn’t try to replace these with other beans because they won’t break down the same.
  • Mayo: Feel free to use regular or vegan mayonnaise. Both work great here.
  • Celery: I like to add a little crunchy celery to the filling, but if you don’t like celery feel free to leave it out.
  • Shallot: You can use a shallot, half of a red onion, or even some sliced green onion. Make just to dice it up into small pieces. You don’t want any onion chunks that are too large.
  • Fresh Dill: The fresh dill is one of my favorite flavors in this sandwich. If you don’t have fresh you can substitute with 1 teaspoon of dried dill. You could also add some chopped up dill pickles to add more dill flavor.
  • Salt and Pepper: After you make the chickpea mixture. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. You may want to add a little more than I have in the recipe. Remember that you will get some saltiness from the cheese as well.
  • Bread: You can use almost any type of sandwich bread in this recipe. I use a sourdough bread, but whole wheat or rye bread would work great here too. You could even add this delicious salad to some pita bread. If you don't want to serve it on bread you could make this into lettuce wraps as well.
  • Cheese: Sharp cheddar works great on this sandwich. It melts easily, and it has a sharp, salty flavor that works well with the creamy chickpea filling. You could also use provolone or Swiss cheese if you prefer.
  • Lettuce: To add a little bit of a fresh crunch to the salad, top with some lettuce. You can sue romaine, iceberg lettuce, spinach, or microgreens.

Additional Idea: You can also add in a little bit of fresh lemon juice or lime juice to brighten up the flavor. If you want to add some more spice try adding in some garlic powder or dijon mustard. Top with some cherry tomatoes or more sliced onions to add a different topping.

Whatever you add to your chickpea sandwiches, just taste along the way and adjust as needed.

Open smashed chickpea sandwich.

What Type of Chickpeas to Use

Chickpeas are a great source of plant-based protein. You can use any type of chickpeas or garbanzo beans in this recipe, just make sure they are canned chickpeas. Don’t use dried chickpeas int his recipe. You can use any brand of chickpeas, I love using these ones. You will get about 12 grams of protein per sandwich, just from the chickpeas alone.

How to Store Smashed Chickpea Salad

One thing that is great about this recipe, is that you can make it ahead of time. Make the mashed chickpea filling and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. The longer it sits it might dry out more, so add a little extra mayo before serving if needed.

Toasted smashed chickpea sandwich.

What to Serve With a Smashed Chickpea Sandwich

This sandwich makes for the perfect lunch but you can serve it as a dinner as well. You can serve this sandwich along side some chip or crackers. You could even make a side salad to go with it. If you want to make something a little more substantial here are a few side dish recipe ideas.

Other Chickpea Recipes

I hope you enjoy this smashed chickpea salad sandwich recipe! Let us know how you like it and share on @sigsbeestreet

Easy Smashed Chickpea Sandwich (Vegetarian Tuna Melt)

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Chickpea Mixture

  • 1 can (15oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3-4 tbsp mayo
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 small shallot, diced (or 1/2 small onion)
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


  • a couple slices of bread
  • a few slices of sharp cheddar cheese
  • a handful of lettuce


  1. In a large bowl, add you chickpeas and mash them with a fork or potato masher. You can also place them in a food processor and chop until it resembles a flaky texture. If you are using a food processor make sure not to over blend. You want it to be just slightly broken down.
  2. Add in the rest of the chickpea mixture ingredients and mix until well combined. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
  3. Add some cheddar to each slice of bread and toast the bread until the bottom is nice and golden brown and the cheese is melted on top.
  4. Place the mixture on top of the melted cheese, top with some greens, and serve!


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