I just want to take a minute to check-in and express my gratitude for all of you out there that have stuck with me thus far. I have “officially” been at this for 10 weeks now and I could not have even imagined how much joy and passion it has sparked in me. I genuinely look forward to selecting, prepping and photographing each week’s recipe. It has literally turned into a part-time job for me 🙂 I have also learned quiet a bit about myself in these past weeks. I have learned that I use ALOT of beans in my cooking! Until now I hadn’t really thought much about it. A big surprise for me is how my blog has rekindled my love of writing. But probably the biggest lesson that I have taken away from this experience is that even though each blog is like my “baby”, I need to send them out into cyberspace and allow them to fall where it may. Remembering that some recipes with be more popular than others. This lesson has proven more of a challenge for me.
Having said that, I really encourage you to ask me any questions going forward about ingredients or cooking methods. Your comments help me to stay connected to what is happening on the other end of my blogs and I appreciate your interest. As I said, I spend a fair amount of time each week making sure the recipes are exactly right. I am a free spirited cook, which means I generally throw things together without any structure or recipe per se. This is not a habit that is easily broken. If I have missed anything in a recipe or didn’t explain something properly, let me know (remember you are my recipe testers for my highly successful future cookbook!!!)
So onward and upward.
This week’s recipe is by far my most favourite lunch right now. Yes, I also have a few lunch recipes! Did you think I only prepared dinners?
I make this salad at least twice a week and keep it in the fridge for a quick snack. This should sound (and taste) very familiar to most of you. The only difference from its original form is the main ingredient. Instead of using canned tuna, I use chick peas.
For the most part, when I am in a situation where I explain to someone that I don’t eat meat the response is pretty good. People are becoming more aware of the health risks of eating animals that are pumped full of antibiotics, farmed at rapid speeds and slaughtered in inhuman ways. However, it still surprises people when I say that I also do not eat fish. Fish? Why would you not eat fish? They are lean, high in Omega’s and a good source of protein!!! I always find it harder to explain because, for me, it’s more of an environmental issue and it varies from fish to fish. So if you are interested in hearing what I have to say about tuna then read on. If you are tired of my “ranting” then skip ahead to the most delicious plant-based, deli-style sandwich you have ever had!
Going, going, gone…
Tuna species are amongst the most commercially valuable fish on Earth. Critically, many tuna stocks are fully exploited or overfished. The WWF (World Wildlife Foundation) has made it their mission to transform the global tuna market and to improve the way tuna fisheries are managed. They have focused there efforts to the 7 most vulnerable species of tuna : the Atlantic, Southern and Pacific bluefin, Bigeye, Yellowfin, Albacore and Skipjack (which is the main supply of canned/processed tuna). According to the WWF the world tuna catches, for just canned tuna, have increased by almost 1 million tonnes (yes that’s right ONE MILLION tonnes) over the last 30 years. With a global total of all legally fished tuna coming in at approximately 9.5 tonnes per year. The advanced technologies in fishing gear has played an important role in the increased tuna fishing. Even the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), who to-date have been extremely conservative about implementing any tuna bans, acknowledges their concern on their website as it relates to tuna fisheries stating “With the fully and over-exploited status of most stocks of tuna, more concerns related to tuna conservation and fisheries management are likely to arise in the future. ” So while the WWF and FAO are doing their part to ensure our oceans and fish are protected and restored, the fisheries are only responding to the demand and if we lower the demand then we have the control to reverse this situation.
The bottom line is that the ocean is a delicate and amazing ecosystem that requires everything to be in balance. This substantial increase in the fishing of tuna inevitably affects that balance and it is not far fetched to say that some species of tuna may become completely extinct in the near future. The ocean is a vital component of our Earth’s well being and that directly affects you and your children and their children, etc. We are creatures of habit but we are also intelligent and free thinking. It’s in our best interest to explore new foods and moderate the foods that we consume too much of.
Chick peas, as I have said in previous blogs, are amazing little beans that are packed full of nutritional vitamins and minerals. One cup of cooked chick peas contain 19g of protein, 12g of dietary fibre and have zero cholesterol.
So if you are a lover of tuna salad sandwiches then I am asking you to explore something new with this recipe. I would encourage you to make your “Chickpea of the Sea” sandwich the way you would normally make a tuna salad. After mashing the chickpeas, the palette is open for creativitiy. Some like to add crunch with pickles, onions and celery (like I do), while others might prefer a simpler variation with only mayo, salt and pepper. But do not skip out on the sea vegetables for this dish, the are an important part of the flavour. You may be surprised to know that this creamy, crunchy and “fishy” salad tastes almost exactly like a tuna salad…and you can enjoy it with a clear conscious!
Spread this liberally on your favourite whole grain bread, use it as a dip for rice crackers, or to make it gluten-free and scoop it onto a fresh, crispy Gala apple slice to satisfy your 3pm hunger. It also tastes incredible as a grilled sandwich (aka Tuna Melt).
“Chickpea of the Sea” Salad
Prep Time: 15 mins
1 can (14oz) Chickpeas, drained and rinsed…or if you are cooking from dried then use 1 cup of dried chickpeas, soak, cook and let cool (if you have forgotten or would like to try it out, checkout my “Garbanzo for Apples” recipe to see detailed instructions on how to use dried chickpeas)
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1/2 small red onion, chopped,
2 large dill pickles, finely chopped
2 tbsp of pickle juice (you know that delicious stuff that your pickles are chillin’ in)
2 tbsp ground sea vegetables- I use the Nori and Dulse combo again for this one (refer back to the “Pantry Curried Lentils” recipe for this concoction)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
juice 1/2 a lemon
3 tbsp Veganniase (or your mayo of choice)
1 tsp dried dill
salt and pepper to taste
- Place chickpeas in medium size mixing bowl and use a potato masher to mash the chickpeas until about 80% mashed. Large chucks are okay.
- Throw all remaining ingredients into bowl and mix thoroughly. Ideally you want to put this in the fridge for about an hour to incorporate all of the flavours into the chickpeas.
- If you are going for the “Tuna Melt” then add your favourite dairy or non-dairy cheese between 2 pieces of bread and grilled like you would a grilled cheese. Deeeee-lish!