Tuna Chickpea salad à la my mom

What the hell is going on with this weather? Last Sunday was 72°, and then we had freezing rain on Tuesday, which led to a day off from school. Today, we have more ice and another day off (bye bye, spring break), and then tomorrow, it's supposed to be sunny and 64°. I don't get it. Being from Pennsylvania, I'm pretty used to the cold and ugly weather, but having the sunny, gorgeous days in between has made the wintry weather so much worse to deal with.

The funny thing about the bad weather is that it makes me miss home. It's not that I want to be where there's MORE of this (and from what my family and friends have told me, this has been an especially brutal winter in Berks/Lancaster County), but I miss being stuck inside with my family when it's cold outside. After a long afternoon of shoveling (which, when I was younger, consisted more of me and my sister romping across the yard and sidewalks while our dad hollered, "I just shoveled there!" in the background), we'd all retire to the warmth of the house, blinking to adjust our eyes to the relative darkness of the indoors, and throw our sopping wet clothes into a pile. While my mother got started on several dozen pounds of laundry (the poor woman), the three of us would collapse in the living room to watch Murder, She Wrote or something else similarly inane.

By dinnertime, we were all starving. I knew my mom would be too tired to make anything elaborate, but that was fine, because one of my favorite of my mom's recipes was also one of her go-to quick staples: tuna salad. The funny thing about my mom's tuna salad was that I don't ever remember seeing her make it; it would just appear at dinnertime in that same faded green, round tupperware bowl with the frosted, flexible lid. My mom is a smart woman; she doesn't ruin her tuna salad with unnecessary things like chopped egg or olives. Oh no. Her tuna salad is simple, enhanced only by a little bit of lemon and some tangy pickle relish.

These days, I make the same recipe using mashed-up chickpeas. True, it doesn't have the same chewy texture or seaworthy saltiness as tuna has, but the chickpeas still make a lovely sandwich filling when you need something light and quick.

You will need:

  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2-4 Tbsp mayo, depending on preference (or vegan mayo, if you prefer)
  • 2 Tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 1/4 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1/3 tsp onion powder (or less, if your lemon pepper mix contains onion powder)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (or less, if your lemon pepper mix contains salt)
  • dash of soy sauce
  • dash of lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1-2 stalks celery, diced (you can throw the leaves in too)


  1. Place the drained chickpeas in a small bowl. Using a potato masher, roughly mash the chickpeas, leaving a few whole.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients to the chickpeas and stir to combine.


You can serve the chickpea salad on top of salad greens, in a pita (as shown), by itself, or -- my favorite -- between toasted slices of rye bread, topped with American cheese. 

Now I kind of want to go build a snowman...