Curried Chickpea Sandwich

October  4, 2022
54 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • Makes 4 sandwiches
Author Notes

I'm not one to go on about the power of The Universe, but certain things are clearly meant to be. Like meeting your best friend, or your true love—or a humble yet oddly compelling little sandwich. (Just me?)

I can’t with total confidence tell you how this sandwich came into my life (that Universe thing again). But I do remember a recipe mysteriously appearing on my desk at work a few years back: a single torn-out page from The Oz Family Kitchen cookbook, about a curried chickpea spread. Deeply acquainted with the Oz oeuvre I am not, but I’ve never met a chickpea I didn’t like. And so I thought, “I should probably try that sometime.”

A few weeks later, I did—and then again, and again, until I’d made it maybe a hundred times. Fast forward nearly three years, and I’m still making that sandwich.

The reason is simple: I can’t get over how good it tastes, considering how easy it is to make. The way it comes together reminds me of what I like most about tuna fish or egg salad sandwiches: basic ingredients yielding a totally satisfying—and endlessly riffable—result. You combine chickpeas with tangy red wine vinegar and creamy mayo. Add celery’s crunch and a little zing from shallot, along with some earthy-sweet curry powder and turmeric, plus parsley for brightness, and boom: You’ve hit the savory-tasty-filling trifecta.

I didn’t start off making this sandwich because it was cheap, but along the way I realized how very cheap it is. Which I thought was pretty great—because life is expensive, and by life, I mean lunch. A pound of deli turkey can set me back $19.99 at the unapologetically bougie market in my neighborhood, and $10 equals an only-okay salad near my office. At least a couple of days a week, this sandwich makes for a better, thriftier option all the way around.

Here’s how the math works out on that $1.89 (numbers are based on my most recent grocery run, but they’ll obviously vary by store). There are some startup costs in the form of spices and such, which could be something to consider if you’re only planning to make this once...but you probably won’t only make this once.

$2.58 worth of canned chickpeas (2 cans @ $1.29 each)
20 cents’ worth of celery (1 bunch @ $2.99)
20 cents’ worth of shallot (a single wee one)
$1 worth of mayo ($4.99 for a 15 ounce jar)
15 cents’ worth of red wine vinegar ($5 per bottle)
30 cents’ worth of curry powder ($3.99 per jar)
30 cents’ worth of turmeric ($3.99 per jar)
50 cents’ worth of parsley (99 cents for a small bunch)
$2.32 worth of sliced fancy bread (a shocking $6.99 per loaf at my neighborhood market—but that’s a whole other story)

Total for four servings: $7.55...making the total cost per serving a pretty surprising and gratifying $1.89.

The recipe calls for greens and tomato, but I'm just as likely to sprinkle on some salt and pepper and call it a day. More advanced types might zhush things up with grated carrot, pickled jalapenos, olives, and/or pepperoncini. The book suggests serving it in a pita, but I also like it open-faced on toast, with crackers, or plunked atop mixed greens. The chickpea spread keeps in the fridge for up to three days, so you have a few chances to experiment. My husband has gotten into it, too—we now bring matching sandwiches to work pretty regularly. (Aren’t we romantic?)

Last Sunday, I was (theoretically) gearing up to go to the grocery store but (really) dawdling around on Instagram, and our conversation meandered into “What should we have for dinner this week?”-territory. You know how it goes: Chicken sausage or chicken thighs? Tomatoey pasta or lemony pasta? Who has time to cook, and who’s working late? Should we just go out to eat instead?

When it came to lunch, at least, I didn’t even have to ask. —Suzanne D'Amato

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe was taken and slightly adapted from THE OZ FAMILY KITCHEN Copyright © 2015 by Lisa Oz. Published by Harmony Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Curried Chickpea Sandwich
  • two 15-ounce cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium celery rib, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup vegan or standard mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup greens (such as iceberg, romaine, or watercress), optional
  • 1 large ripe tomato, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice, optional
  • 4 whole wheat pitas, tops cut off, optional
  1. Coarsely mash the chickpeas, celery, shallots and parsley together with a potato masher or large fork in a medium bowl. Be careful not to overdo it or the chickpeas will become mushy. Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, curry powder, and turmeric and mix well. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. (The salad can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
  2. Divide the salad, greens and tomato equally among the pitas and serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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107 Reviews

Kim February 13, 2024
This was great. I added extra celery because I like the extra crunch, but this is very tasty.
golden M. January 31, 2022
WOW! This chickpea salad/spread is wonderful. Easy to make and full of flavor. I enjoyed it on a piece of homemade whole wheat bread with a bit of greens under the spread, Looking forward to having it again tomorrow!
Debbi July 15, 2021
Excellent as written but perfect for substitutions too. Tonight I added red bell pepper and grated carrot, subbed half of the mayo with Greek yogurt, used 2 tsp apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp sriracha and served on sourdough. Avoided a trip to the store and didn’t have to cook during the heatwave we have in the West. I love this recipe. Thank you Suzanne!
ustabahippie July 7, 2021
I will definitely try this. Why didn’t you use pita bread? Can’t imagine the filling on sliced “fancy” bread!😵‍💫
Mathilda M. October 18, 2020
Thank you so much for this recipe. My grandmother always made her egg salad with curry powder and this is wonderfully reminiscent of that flavor. I will keep making this one for a long time!
whym August 1, 2020
This was absolutely delicious! A great vegetarian option that makes you forget you’re not eating meat. So easy to put together, too!
Danuta G. July 15, 2020
This just became our summer hot weather, go-to dinner (and lunch and snack)!! Delicious, and made a convert of my husband whose thoughts on chickpeas didn't extend past hummus! A layer of thinly-sliced radishes on top, and all encased in a spinach wrap! OMG heaven!
Dena J. April 6, 2020
I read all the glowing reviews and thought, how good could this possibly be, anyway?! So I halved the recipe, just in case, and made it, and IT'S FABULOUS! Thanks for such a great and easy recipe!
Suzanne D. April 6, 2020
Hahahaha. Thanks so much—this comment made my day!
Dena J. April 6, 2020
And it would be perfect for stuffing a tomato!
robin L. March 2, 2020
Carina G. January 3, 2020
I've made this dozens of times and it's always exactly what I want to eat for lunch! even my carnivore boyfriend is a huge fan. running out to get the ingredients to make it today...thanks for this one!
beejay45 December 18, 2019
That photo looks so much like egg salad that it has planted the idea in my head that I need to add chopped HB eggs when I make it. Is that blasphemous? Breaking some culinary taboo? ;) Hope not, 'cause I'm going for it...olives, too...

Alma D. November 24, 2019
This looks amazing. Can’t wait to try! So many good variations!

Will come back to report.
Suzanne D. November 25, 2019
Hope you love it—let me know what you think!
eac45 July 15, 2019
This recipe is totally delicious and easily adaptable. My version today (I make a huge batch at least once a week and eat it for multiple meals) included fresh cilantro in addition to the parsley, green onions--white and green parts--instead of shallots, radishes, capers, and about four times as much celery for crunch. It's great topped with pickled red onions.
Suzanne D. July 15, 2019
Pickled red onions hadn't occurred to me, but I can see how they would give this dish a great tang. I'm so happy to hear you make it regularly—I do too, as many weeks in a row as my husband agrees to eat it. :)
Patricia N. June 19, 2019
This is absolutely delicious and so quick and easy to prepare. I was out of parsley and celery, but had lovage growing, so I substituted chopped lovage and it was fine. This is a keeper. Works in a sandwich or as a salad. Toasted pita triangles can support some greens and this curried chickpea mix. Very versatile.
Awesome! Used my pastry cutter for the chickpea mash - worked just fine. My vegetable wary father - LOVED it.
Ling February 13, 2020
Ohhhh, thank you for the idea to use a pastry cutter for mashing! That's genius!
BR95510 May 12, 2019
Wow this was great! The only thing I did differently was in method, not ingredients. I did use my food processor to pulse the chickpeas. Then I put the other ingredients in a large bowl and whisked them well before adding the chickpeas, shallots, and celery. It incorporates easier. We ate them on wraps with spinach leaves. This will definitely become a well-used recipe. Lunches for sure.. But it will also be great as a snack on crackers! Thank you!
margaret G. May 8, 2019
This is delicious, great fresh taste! We followed the recipe exactly, except for the use of freshly-prepared chickpeas simmered with garlic and bay leaves, and we added chopped olives. We look forward to serving this many times, in many ways: in a pita pocket, in a wrap, on a bed of lettuce as a salad, and even as an appetizer spread. Highly recommend!
Jenna April 2, 2019
Wow! This recipe is great! Very versatile. I saw that others were swapping out ingredients so I did the same. I used bell pepper & cucumber bc that’s what I had on hand. This is definitely going to be a new lunch staple for me! I can see the possibilities being endless!
Regine September 22, 2018
Delicious as is!!!!!
However, just because I had these on hand next time
i made it,
I added about 2-3 tbsp tinely diced carrots, 1 tbsp more vinegar and a tiny bit of crushed garlic. I skipped the tomatoes but used watercress. I could see why others added raisins or nuts. Possibilities are endless.
girlwithaknife August 1, 2018
My take: I fried the onion in vegetable oil, added the spices then the chickpeas to crisp them up. I put them in a bowl to let them cool, then I deglaze the pan with the vinegar, mix it in with mayo and voilá! Delicious paired with a cucumber raita salad.