Curried Chickpea Tahini Salad

Curried Chickpea Tahini Salad | The Full Helping

When I wrote the title of this post, I thought “it’s taken me over three years to post my recipe for curried chickpea tahini salad?!” In spite of the fact that I’ve never shared it, this was one of the first vegan lunch recipes I concocted on my own. I loved it then, and I love it now. And since my Mom is a great fan of curried chicken salad, and we’re eating some vegan food together over this holiday, I thought I’d share my recipe with her.

Smashed chickpea salads make for a wonderful and easy lunch option if you’re transitioning to a plant-based diet and you miss chicken or tuna salad. You can use vegan mayo or avocado as a creamy base, but tahini is my personal favorite (surprise, surprise!). This particular recipe features the addition of curry, finely grated carrot, and raisins. The result is savory sweet and super flavorful. It’s also packed with protein, fiber, and folate from the legumes, and it’s got a nice helping of healthy fat from the tahini. Best of all, it’s 100% plant-based and animal friendly.

I often like to serve a scoop of the salad on top of a nutrient dense salad, but it’s also a great appetizer, dip, or snack. Serve it on toast or in a wrap for a packable lunch, or you can even mash it up with some warm quinoa. It’s hard to go wrong with a combination this tasty and simple.

Curried Chickpea Tahini Salad | The Full Helping

Curried Chickpea Tahini Salad
Recipe Type: salad
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, soy free option, nut free
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 servings
  • For the salad:
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas (2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
  • 2 medium sized carrots, grated finely
  • 1/3 cup raisins or currants
  • For the dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons water (as needed)
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce (substitute coconut aminos)
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup or agave
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  1. Whisk all dressing ingredients together. Start by adding 2 tablespoons water and add more if needed.
  2. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and mix well to combine. Serve.
Leftover salad will keep for up to four days in an airtight container in the fridge.

 Curried Chickpea Tahini Salad | The Full Helping

What a tasty bowl to dig into with a spoon. Seriously. So satisfying! And I love the slight contrast of the raisins and beans.

Sometimes, we bloggers have foods we eat so regularly and make with so automatically that we just forget to blog about them. You guys have seen most of my regulars, but there are still some time honored snacks and dishes that I tend to dismiss because I think they’re not noteworthy enough for CR. I bet I’m wrong. And I hope you like the salad.

Happy Friday, everyone!


Images courtesy of Lighter.

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Categories: Recipes, Salads, Side Dishes, Dips
Ingredients: Chickpeas
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, No Oil, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free
Recipe Features: Quick & Easy

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  1. Just to say.. I enjoyed so much this recipe, it’s easy, customizable, quick and super yummy! Great combination! Thanks for sharing always your creation with us! Good job, have a nice day

  2. I printed this months ago and just got around to making it for the first time a few days ago because I finally bought tahini. I’m annoyed I waited so long- it was absolutely delicious! I ran out of raisins and added some Zante currants. I’m going to make this again and add more of the dressing- a little thinner- and put it all over a salad to bring to class for dinner this week! Thanks for the yummy, healthy snack that can be adapted into a meal!

  3. Im curious if you had considered naturopathic medical school, considering that you obviously believe nutrition is a vital component to prevention of illness and disease?

    • Hi Chelsea,

      I have considered it, and it’s still an option, depending on how the next year goes. However, I’ve had some amount of holistic training through my CCN certification already, and would like to experience another perspective. I also suspect from my own medical experiences that a non-naturopathic approach may be right for me. But I do of course believe strongly in nutrition as a part of disease prevention and management.


  4. Hi Gena, I just discovered your blog a few weeks ago as I have made the transition to a vegetarian lifestyle! For what it’s worth,,I am a Marriage and Family therapist (masters degree) and I also have a MPH in health ed/promotion. Have you considered the masters level counseling programs? To be a Psychologist , you definitely need the PHd, but to be a counselor.. no need to spend all that money and time on a dissertation UNLESS you want to do research! And the RD is awesome for clinical work in a hospital setting…the RDs I know are either into the clinical side of things or do more nutrition/wellness coaching (which in my state of SC you do not need to be licensed!) I love counseling and have worked with many young women dealing with disordered eating…I applaud you for where you are today – sounds like you have done some amazing “work”!! If you want to chat more about counseling programs, let me know…all the best and thank you for sharing your journey and recipes!! I’m loving the plant strong lifestyle! Lisa

  5. Great salad! I made it with 2 Tb raisins and 2 Tb cranberries, instead.
    I just had leftovers for breakfast with some maché (lamb’s lettuce) and 1/2 chopped apple. I could also imagine substituting water/tahini for coconut milk/cream.

  6. Such a well-rounded post Gena. I’m going through something very similar to you but my career change is from biology to accounting 🙂 The bio days are behind me, and I don’t regret them, but med school or research was never what I wanted to do with my life. Now that I’m in business school I really love it, and I’m so happy I made the decision to go back! The biggest challenge for me has been applying a whole new level of balancing work + school, but I’m managing! I crammed my summer full of 4 courses and can barely breathe right now but I just try to just keep my eyes on the prize. You can do it girl!

    (pssst I had to retake orgo!)

  7. First, the salad looks delicious, and, yes, I think sometimes the easy/simple/go-to recipes are the ones bloggers want the most!

    Second, you’re totally inspiring and I wish you the best in all of your schooling and decision making. I’m in a similar place in academia. In the home-stretch on my dissertation and having some serious realizations about the things I *don’t* like about the academy. That being said, I still have my heart set on teaching, BUT, I too plan to be open to other avenues, should I need to!

    Thanks for all the food and insight you bring into our lives! : )

  8. I am so done with organic chemistry too!! Congratulations, Gena!! I know all too well the rough road you are looking at and I’m right there with you! YOU GO GIRL!!

  9. Gena, I truly admire the honesty with which you talk about your school experiences. Please know that you should not feel badly about the struggle. In my undergrad, I had to take 6 semesters of chemistry, two of which were orgo- and it was a nightmare. And I was someone with a strong science background. So it’s truly admirable for you to take this on, period. Your goals and intentions are what matter most here. You’ve made it clear through your blog, your volunteer work, and your Nutritionist endeavors that you’re a serious force to be reckoned with, and in your essay and resume when you apply to med school, this will be evident.

    I recently went through the process of applying to graduate school, feeling under-qualified, and being happily surprised by the difference passion and dedication can make. Work hard, stay exactly who you are, and everything will work out 🙂

  10. I can really relate because the reality of higher education is often a lot more demanding than we anticipate. Unfortunately a lot of the stuff that is a requirement just isn’t that fun to learn.

    No matter what you decide I am sure you will be a wonderful practitioner but if you become a dietitian you are going to have to drop pretty much everything they teach you. Honestly, you already have so much more useful knowledge than the average dietitian, it’s just getting a piece of paper of credibility more than anything.

  11. Gena, even if you were to return to the publishing world and counsel on the side, you’d still be amazing. Can’t wait to see where this path takes you!

  12. I love this recipe…it reminds me of the chicken salad I loved growing up which had grapes instead of raisins. I love the unexpected sweetness in a savory dish like this.

  13. any of those professions would be lucky to have you, so keep forging ahead.

    ps i love that salad! i make a similar one but with mustard instead of tahini and i mash some of the chickpeas so it has a different texture. raisins in curry is one of my fave things though.

  14. Girl, I totally relate to the end of this post. The medical / nutrition fields are VERY challenging and mentally taxing. You are constantly questioning whether you are doing enough, even if you’re killing yourself studying. It’s discouraging when you don’t get the grade that also shows forth the effort you put into the course. But I know this: You are strong, you are intelligent, and you have an incredibly kind heart. Those three things WILL get you through. I never thought I’d make it out of my major ( esp. when I was struggling with ED) and now, I’m graduating today!!! You’re amazing, Gena. I’m always thinking of you. 🙂

  15. This looks so good. I love chickpeas- I could eat hummus every single day. My husband gets sick of hummus so this would be a nice change for both of us 🙂

  16. Gena- I had people in my life, teachers specifically, that told me I could never become a veterinarian because I was too “stupid”. (really-exact quote). I, on the other hand, could think of nothing else I wanted to do. I set my mind and I did it. You have set your mind and overcome considerable challenges before. Everyone on this blog knows you are capable so I say, just go for it. Set your mind and your heart on making it happen and the universe has a way of rewarding. I have no doubt you will be successful.
    PS- I made the chickpea salad and it was great, I added a little chopped, raw broccoli and a little scallion I had on hand. Yum!

  17. Thing 1: This salad looks awesome. Bookmarked!

    Thing 2: Congratufreakinglations on passing Orgo! It’s without a doubt the worst of the medical school pre-reqs. I’m just finishing up my 3rd year of medical school if you ever have any q’s about applications or pre-reqs or anything. It seems like you’re keeping a really good perspective and evaluating along the way about where is best for you. I think you’re going to end up exactly where you’re supposed to be.

  18. Congratulation Gena – so pleased for you! This recipe combines some of my favourite foods; looking forward to trying it out 🙂

  19. This salad looks fabulous, I adore curry and chickpeas and could probably have this multiple times a week and not get tired of it. Congrats of getting through Orgo, you rock! I can’t imagine the hard work to get through school now and respect your journey to find the path that’s right for you.

  20. Gena, you can do it! I remember strongly disliking most of my pre-med course – Orgo, physics, biochem – but it all gets so much more interesting once you actually GET to medical school. Now, as a soon-to-be third year med student (three exams left!), I can tell you that it doesn’t necessarily get easier – this most recent set of exams is by far the hardest I’ve ever taken, with a pretty ridiculous amount of material – it does get to be more clinical and therefore much more interesting and easier to study.

    To be successful in med school, you really have to love it – and it certainly sounds like you have the passion and the drive for it. It’s definitely not easy – nor is a career as a physician – but I love it, and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

    Also – I’m not sure how it works for in the States (I’m Canadian), but up here there is a pretty substantial difference between MDs and “other” doctors. Just make sure you do all your research and know what scope of practice you eventually want to have 🙂

  21. Congratulations on passing Orgo, but even more so on your persistence and determination. You will do well whatever path you take.

    The salad looks delicious. I cooked and froze a big batch of chickpeas last weekend, so I’m looking forward to trying the salad.

  22. Gena-would be making this salad TODAY if I wasn’t in NYC this week. Thinking of you as I enjoy all this incredible vegan restaurant fare!

  23. Hey Gena, congrats now you get to relax 🙂
    I don’t like to use maple syrup but I like to use stevia or a natural sweetener .
    What would you advise to use in replacement of the syrup? Would dates work?

  24. Gena! THANK YOU for this recipe. I am in love with chickpeas and any new way I can use them is a BLESSING!

    Have a nice break from school. We are all pulling for you! We need docs like you, always remember that when things get a little tense. I just finished my doctorate degree and believe me, I have felt like you through the years. But, now I get to do what I am called to do…teach! I’ll be here to cheer you on!! Good Luck!

  25. Gena, you’ll just have to try harder: you still haven’t knocked my conviction that you’ll be a doctor one bit! Although I’ll second another person’s comment that you’d be a ridiculously great psychologist. Your brain has been undergoing radical changes taking a sudden jump into the hard sciences. Lots of evolving wiring up there- I promise. There’s a real learning curve to parallel that wiring, and I suspect things will get easier for you. Also, ND is a great option in many states. My ND is phenomenal, has MDs as patients, and NDs are often go-to people for a lot of difficult-to-treat stress-exacerbated conditions like IBS.

    • Laura,

      Thanks so much. As I mentioned to you in my email, I admit that I had some unsavory ND experiences that may have biased me a little. Not cool! I’m keeping an open mind to this, too, and thank you for inciting a different outlook 🙂


  26. You say that becoming an RD is on your list of possibilities… Do you think that you would truly love it? I was originally planning to become an RD, but after switching to a plant-based diet, I feel that I wouldn’t truly be able to speak my mind as an RD. Everything is based on USDA standards, and telling everyone to eat so many servings of dairy and meat per day would just feel wrong to me. This is partially why I’m still confused as to my future career path.

    • Lindsay,

      I understand your frustration! But keep in mind that you can do anything you wish to do once you get the RD – yes, the education might sometimes frustrate you, but it’s not a mandate about how you practice, or what you practice. Whereas my CN certification, which was totally holistic, taught me many helpful things about vitamins and supplements for healing (I have no regrets about it), but absolutely failed to give me the scientific and clinical training I would have needed to practice seriously and full time. I wish there were better integrated degrees, but I do think RDs are worthwhile for the scientific foundation and the clinical experience they offer.

      That said? I’ve never gotten an RD, so I am sure I have pockets of ignorance. You’ll make the right choice, no matter what!


  27. vegan M1 here–can’t wait until you join the MD-to-be ranks so I’m not the only one trying to convince the medical world that vegans don’t *all* die from B12 deficiency.

  28. I’m so glad that you did better than you feared. 🙂 I think the Georgetown has an academic program with slightly lower academic standards that allows people to take the first year of med school with the med students, and then if they do well they can go on to get their MD from there. Have you heard about that? Also, you still have your MCAT to go, which is HUGE! I definitely preferred to study for my MCATs as opposed to classes because they can’t throw ridiculous questions on there. Also, there is a verbal portion on there which I’m sure you will do well on. Take care! I’m so jealous you’re done with the school year, I still have a few more weeks and am SO ready. 🙂

    • Daphna,

      You’ve been a ROCK throughout this process. Thank you so much! I’m keeping the faith, and keeping focused on just getting through the process right now. I believe that completing it (and the MCAT) will all be steps in showing me how the pieces are meant to fall!


  29. Gena, you are so awesome. I really admire your positive approach and what seems like an understanding that you are valuable whatever road you take. I am still working on treating myself as kindly as I do others, but I am making strides. Thanks for sharing your mindset as you head into the next chapter of your program.

  30. Gena, I really wish you well on your path to becoming an MD. It is a shame that the hoops one needs to jump through could possibly keep someone as talented and dedicated as you from joining in. As you may or may not know, I am currently in residency, so if you have any questions en route about the medical and surrounding health care professionals, drop me an email.

      • I second this statement that it’s all about jumping through the hoops. I’m in my final weeks of internal med residency, about to start gi fellowship. I think the most important qualities for success in medicine are 1-compassion (duh, and you rock at this:) 2-hard work/dedication (you’re nailing it) 3- patience and perseverance (hang in there, YOU CAN do it:) and 4- being pleasant to work with (pretty obvious you will have no issues here.) Every hurdle you jump is an accomplishment and you should feel proud of yourself for what you accomplish. The other amazing part to me as I am going through this journey is the dramatic differences in people’s strengths and weaknesses. Even your colleague who seems perfect and the best at everything, you will find areas where they struggle. Everyone struggles at some point, period. I find it immensely helpful to see this, not because I want to see others struggle, but it simply helps me to know I’m not a complete idiot, I can do this, and there are parts I am good at. I know that you will be AMAZING at most all parts (and especially the ones that count in the end, orgo is not one of these) Just keep at it. And most of all, you have passed the hurdle of orgo, that is awesome and wear that badge with pride:)

  31. I’m sure you’ll be successful no matter the path you choose; your passion for healthy living is contagious. Have you ever thought about pursuing a degree in Public Health?

  32. Mmm chickpeas! I will look forward to adapting this to no sugars, seems easy to do leaving out the raisins and maple syrup. and easy to throw together!

    I knew you could do it! Congrats! You faced something really tough and got through it. I hope this helps you get through more tough times likely ahead in med school. You will make a great doctor, I know it!

  33. Congrats on the passing grade! I know I’ve said it before, but I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your honesty. It’s not easy to go public with struggles, especially as we are going through them. There are so many wonderful options when it comes to helping others and I’m sure you’d be brilliant at each and every one you listed. However, I’m relieved to hear that med school is still the main focus of your current journey. It took a lot of courage to leave your successful career in publishing and there is no reason not to see how far you can get with your original intentions. Rooting for you, as always.

    Onto food – I LOVE chickpea sandwiches but tend to eat them made with veganaise. Being the tahini lover that I am, I will definitely try out this healthier alternative! Thanks for the idea!

    • Ha! I actually think of you whenever I use tahini. Which is often, so Kathleen, I think of you often 🙂

  34. Congratulations, Gena! Proud of you!

    This recipe looks wonderful! I bought chickpeas, raisins and carrots today–what a coincidence!

    I know Courtney and I are going to love this recipe! Sending you love, Sarah

  35. I am in the process of applying to medical school after dropping out of my PhD program and it never ceases to amaze me that people outside of the healthcare world have no concept of how difficult it is just to get IN to medical school, much less through it lol. People always ask me “what school do you want to go to?” and I respond “whichever one I can get into” haha. As if we all have acceptance letters thrown at our feet! I have a BS in Biology and an MS in Medical Science and I am still unlikely to get in on my first try 🙁 I do want to point out for the sake of your readers that DO school IS medical school, which is a huge pet peeve of mine because so many people think it’s alternative medicine or that they won’t get the same level of care from a DO vs an MD. There was actually a time (in the 80s?) during which MD schools were planning to try to bring the DO schools into the fold and give all existing DOs an MD to homogenize the medical profession, but apparently DOs are quite prideful about their degrees since they do practice a few techniques that are not studied in allopathic schools. Anyway, I’m about to retake the MCAT before I submit my applications-talk about a humbling experience (and I actually LOVE organic chemistry, but physics-yikes!). Best of luck with the rest of your classes!

    • Lauren,

      You are quite right! I have only just become educated about DO programs (I honestly was ignorant about them as I entered the post-bacc), but now that I know, I realize they’re the same — I only said “intents and purposes” because I do know that DO programs have some elements in the curricula not covered in MD programs. Anyway, I’ll edit that for clarity 🙂 A wonderful option.

      Good luck with your application process!


  36. Wonderful news re. passing such a challenging class, Gena…I am so relieved for you and proud of you!

    I know you’ll make the right decision re. your career path, but I have to admit, I’ve been secretly hoping you’d shift your focus to behavioral sciences and pursue a medical degree in psychology. You are a naturally gifted counselor and therapist as you demonstrate day in and day out as you converse with each of us via the Internet, and I know you would make a spectacular psychiatrist. Again, you know best, and I’m 100% behind you no matter what!

    I’m so happy that you are spending time with you mom in your favorite city and that you have two weeks to enjoy a well deserved respite from the academic grind. Have a blast, love!

    • I’ve certainly considered, it, Karen, both an MD and becoming a psychiatrist and, if med school is not on the agenda, a PhD. I’m torn because my desire to practice GI medicine is also so strong; and of course, the reality is that I want to practice healing someplace in the nexus of disordered eating and GI illness. There is so much overlap, and of course, there is a strong mind/body connection with GI healing, which is (in my experience) often pronounced in women who have had EDs.

      I’m totally rambling. My point is, there are sometimes too many things I’d like to do 🙂 Having felt trapped by my GPA all semester, though, it’s so nice to be reminded of options!

      • I hear you, Gena, and in practice, there can be an abundance of one-on-one counseling involved in all of these alternative roles you identified, as is the case with your Plan A. I can certainly see you excelling and deriving great satisfaction as an RD (with a PhD?) specializing in EDs and IBS too!

        Ahhh…to be so equipped with so much brilliance and talent and passion and compassion to offer… 🙂

        • Yes! The cool thing about an RD would be that I have actually gone through a lot of the necessary, prerequisite coursework, so I could start soon and end a little sooner, which means I could get to practicing a little sooner. But I am not opposed to a long education, either, if that ends up being the “right” path.

          Not sure about brilliance 🙂 But I do see many windows now, for the first time in a while. I have always felt the tug of behavioral science/mental health (I considered a psych PhD as well as an MD long before I quit my job), so in some ways nothing will be lost if the MD path is a no go. Of course, as you said, I could always go the psychiatry route once I get there, if I do happen to get in and that tug persists, and/or ultimately outweighs the tug of practicing GI medicine or primary care. I find both avenues tremendously appealing in different ways; I think med school would be good at showing me options and helping me find the avenue by which I can most effectively help others. But as the amazing comments on the post reinforced, there are so many routes if med school isn’t “the one.”

          And absolutely, no matter what, I will integrate care for both the mind and the body into what I do! It’s nice to get comfortable with some openness and possibility in this journey; pre-med can often give you tunnel vision.

  37. Hey Gena,
    This looks amazing and I just finished preparing 2 cups of chickpeas, but I really had my heart set on some hemp-hummus. As someone who just finished their masters in American history and preparing for a post bacc for nutrition I want to wish you all the best. You’ll make a great doctor and even if things don’t go as planned, know that you’ve helped tons of people already!

    Keeping up the great work. You are an inspiring ambassador for plant-based diets!

  38. With you genuine desire to help, I firmly believe that you will find the right path for you, be it medicine or other. Things always have their way of sorting themselves out, esspecially for those who are here to do something good in the world. Also, there are some times where we don’t find our path, but out path finds us.

  39. Congratulations Gena! Passing orgo is no small feat. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, I barely squeaked by and I have a science background. My boyfriend is currently struggling with the med school application process so I know how frustrating it can be. His application is decent, but his MCAT score isn’t where it needs to be. He’s also considering DO schools. Cross that bridge when you come to it, and get through your post-bacc first! You should be proud!

  40. I’m standing up and cheering! Thank you for coming out so clearly with your thinking on all this and congratulations on your steadfastness, what I guess is now called “stick-to-it-ivity”. Congratulations on passing orgo for that matter! No mean feat indeed.

    Your salad sounds lovely too, and I’d never thought about the chickpea/chicken pun/switch possibilities! Phil would never be convinced, but I like it a lot.


  41. Congrats on getting through orgo! It was a really tough course for me, so I was really proud just to finish with a passing grade, even if it wasn’t on par with my usual performance. What classes are you taking this summer?

  42. Chickpeas, tahini AND curry? Now you’re just teasing me Gena! 🙂

    Firstly congrats on passing orgo! As someone who failed it miserably during IB (although nowhere near comparable I’m sure) I know all too well that’s no easy feat. I love how grounded and realistic you are about your aspirations, it’s so humbling and truly refreshing given that most people are only interested in touting their achievements. Your passion for wanting to help others is palpable and for that reason you would make a fantastic RD, psychologist, PA or any one of those other careers you mentioned – but for what it’s worth I think you have enough fight in you yet to make it to med school.

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us and for not being scared of being anything less than perfect (if that makes sense). Enjoy your time off!

  43. Gena you always are and always will be an insightful and wonderful woman. This post shows your amazing level of self-awareness and grounding. You fleetingly mention your eating disorder and this post really shows how far you have come from that self-critical, harsh, narrow-minded place and what an interesting, sensible and inspirational woman you have become!
    Enjoy your well earned break and yummy food

    • Very well said, Hannah…I’m equally awestruck re. your level of recovery and uncommon maturity especially given your challenging start entering adulthood. Unlike many of w/ similar histories, who suffered stunted growth as a result, you’ve far surpassed an ordinary measures of development.

      Gena, truly, you have a way of making us accept ourselves while also – through your own exemplary behavior – ever-so-gently suggesting that we expect more from ourselves.

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – you are a true heroine.

      • You are both doing me far too much justice here, though it’s not right not to accept beautiful compliments, so I will just say “thank you.”

        Do remember, though, that a lot of my strength–in general, and in recovery specifically–comes from this community of strong women and men. I’m much more solid in my recovery today than I was 4 or 5 years ago, before I started CR. I write to help others, but I also draw strength from the way other people respond to what I say, and the insights and differences of opinion and perspective they offer me. It’s been so wonderful for me, and I’m very lucky.

        And I think we’re *all* lucky to be able to remind each other that struggle happens, and that we should strive (ever so gently) to accept and respect ourselves more and more.