This smashed kimchi chickpea salad is a simple and flavor-forward topping for toast, wraps, crackers, or veggies. It features gut-friendly kimchi, too!
Once upon a time, I knew chickpea salad as a wholesome vegan alternative to chicken salad, a plant-based mainstay for sandwiches and wraps. Nowadays chickpea salad is so popular that I’ve seen it on (omnivore) restaurant menus, not to mention all over the interwebs, and the other day my own mom announced to me that she had seen a recipe and wanted to try it.
My standard recipe for chickpea salad is pretty traditional; it’s indeed reminiscent of the chicken salad I grew up with (vegan mayo, mustard, sometimes dill or parsley). Lately, though, I’ve been getting more creative and taking more liberties with how I prepare it. Just as with hummus, avocado toast, or oatmeal, there are tons of ways to approach this everyday staple. My latest favorite is a smashed kimchi chickpea salad that’s a little salty, a little spicy, and all things tasty.
The recipe was inspired by Julia Turshen’s kimchi avocado toast from Small Victories, which takes advantage of kimchi as a topping and also uses some of the brine for drizzling. What that recipe showed me is that the bold flavor of kimchi can go such a long way in flavoring a dish; once you add it, you don’t really need to fuss around with much additional seasoning or flavor.
So, in this very simple recipe, you fold together smashed chickpeas, vegan mayo (or tahini), a squeeze of sriracha, and a dash of crushed red pepper. You can certainly get fancy with the addition of dulse, gomasio, sesame seeds, or something else for crunch; you could add herbs or grated carrot. But the kimchi does most of the work here. I found that I didn’t even need to add additional salt to the dish once I’d incorporated it.
As far as serving goes, the salad is perfect with toast, crackers, or on a wrap, but it’s also a nice topping for lunch bowls. The other day I mixed a big scoop of it together with a heaping cup of cooked rice and some steamed greens, then topped it all with a squeeze of sriracha and lime juice. It was random and messy, for sure, but it was so, so good.
Another way to make the salad even more versatile is to vary your toppings. You can use additional chopped kimchi, thinly sliced cucumber or radish, grated carrot or beets, greens, or herbs.
Throughout the last week or two I’ve been diving into more intense work and academic routine than I’ve had in a while, so toast has been a very comforting, simple lunchtime mainstay for me. No matter how many toast lunches I eat, I’m always happy to have a new favorite spread or topping to play with, and I have a feeling this one is destined to stick around. I hope you enjoy it, too—and I’ll be checking in with some new reads this weekend.
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I made a big bowl of this to use for lunches at work all week. I added a finely chopped celery stalk and a pinch of dulse flakes. I had it on a sandwich with thinly sliced radish, cucumber, baby spinach and toasted sesame seeds. It was so filling and delicious and I’m excited to have it again for lunch today.
So glad you enjoyed it, Molly!
Nice one Gena, I love the splash of colour on the top! I must make these this week.
I bet these taste as good as they look! Beautiful…
I am forever amazed at how versatile chickpeas are. Their mild flavor, texture, protein and starch make them perfect for so many applications. No doubt, smashed chickpeas can take on many forms, but I’ve not see it paired with kimchi! Super tangy and flavorful, I gotta give this a go, Gena! 😀 Delicious!
This looks divine!
Ohh smashed chickpea salad is the BEST and I love that you popped kimchi into this version! I never knew I loved it so much until very recently 🙂
This is such a fantastic idea, Gena! I love kimchi (seriously, I do) and I love chickpeas, so this is a perfect match 🙂
What a completely fabulous idea, Gena. I’ve been eating that avo kimchi toast over and over lately and I’m trying to understand how I got along without it. Besides kimchi being so full of flavor and punch, I love the idea of incorporating more ferments into my everyday. And btw, those fanned out radishes add such a pretty touch!
I love this idea! Kimchi has so much flavor. I can see it adding a lot to the more muted chickpeas. Plus, I’m always looking for excuses to eat kimchi. This sounds like a great one.