Smashed Chickpea & Watercress Sandwich

Is there anything chickpeas can’t do?

The chickpea is at the top of its game right now. I mean, when asked if you’d prefer a chickpea sandwich, or a kidney bean sandwich, which would you go for?

I mean sure, we reach for Cannelini and black beans all the time, and who doesn’t love a good lentil, but as far as popularity goes, the chickpea is probably the most widely used and Instagrammed bean of them all.

I can totally understand why. They have a cute name (way cuter than kidney bean), they are very photogenic and they are so damn versatile. From creamy hummus to roasted and crunchy salad toppers, these peas can do it all.

And they make a mighty delightful sandwich.

I’ve seen recipes like these on the internet going under the guise of a chickpea “tuna sandwich” or something similar, but I think that’s misleading. First of all, it doesn’t taste anything like tuna, or egg, or anything else that it isn’t. Second, I just can’t bring myself to make a name for a recipe that includes air quotes.

You won’t catch me calling something a vegan “steak” or a plant-based “egg salad” sandwich, and so, this is not a “vegan tuna sandwich” or a “vegan egg salad sandwich,” as some people would like to call it.

I like calling things what they are. Cauliflower is cauliflower, it isn’t a cauliflower “wing” even if it’s been doused in hot sauce. Shredded jackfruit is shredded jackfruit, it’s not jackfruit “pulled pork.” This is a chickpea sandwich, and it’s delightful.

Ok, I’ll step off the soapbox for a minute

This sandwich travels really well, which makes it perfect to pack for school, work, or to bring to a picnic. I’d recommend using parchment paper or waxed paper – or even better, a reusable beeswax wrap (my favourite invention) to keep your sandwich generally sandwich-shaped. Plastic wrap just doesn’t cut it when a squishy backpack is involved.

Some tips on making this chickpea sandwich mixture:

  1. If you want to go the extra mile and soak/cook dried chickpeas instead of using canned, you will be rewarded with a more tender creamy final product. You may even start with a bit less mayo, in case you don’t need it. Canned chickpeas are always a bit on the chalkier side, but they’re what I used here, for the sake of convenience.

  2. If you leave the mixture to sit in the fridge overnight, it will be even better than eating it right away. At my house we call this process “Fridge Cooking,” and it makes a real difference.

  3. Although using a food processor isn’t exactly smashing, I find it works much better than using a potato masher or a fork. If you use freshly cooked chickpeas, they may be soft enough that you could mash them by hand.

Side note – Pressure cooked beans & chickpeas are incredible. They cook so evenly it’s amazing. It’s one of my favourite ways to use my instant pot. If you’ve never pressure cooked chickpeas before, I’ve got an Instagram highlight for you! Check it out here.

Why Watercress?

If you haven’t had a lot of watercress in your life, it might be time to consider picking some up. It’s a little bit peppery, the leaves are tender, and the stems are juicy . They remind me of sunflower sprouts a little bit. I LOVE watercress on all kinds of things, but its especially good on egg sandwiches. Since this chickpea sandwich is a little bit reminiscent of an egg salad sandwich, I thought it was a good fit. If you can’t find watercress, or you don’t like it, any crisp leafy green will do. Sunflower sprouts or arugula would probably be my next choices.

Smashed Chickpea & Watercress Sandwich

Recipe by Paula HingleyCourse: LunchCuisine: VegetarianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking timeminutes


  • 1 can or 340 grams canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained

  • 1 stick celery, finely diced

  • 2 dill pickles, finely diced

  • 2 green onions, finely sliced

  • 2 heaped Tbsp or 80 grams mayo

  • 3 dashes of Tabasco sauce

  • 2 Tbsp pickle juice

  • Small handful fresh dill

  • Seedy sandwich bread, sliced

  • 1 bunch fresh watercress, washed and dried


  • Pulse the chickpeas in a food processor about 5-6 times, until coarsely chopped
  • Transfer the mixture to a bowl
  • Add all the other ingredients and mix together until nicely combined. Add more mayo if you prefer a creamier mixture
  • Taste for seasoning. You will most likely not need salt because the pickle juice does the trick
  • Build a sandwich with mayo on both slices of bread, a neat stack of watercress, and the chickpea mixture.


  • Make these sandwiches right away, or fridge-cook the chickpea mixture overnight for best results.

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