This may come as a shock, but the life of a food blogger is not nearly as well-nourished as you might think. Generally on the days when I'm testing recipes, I'm grabbing a small bite of something here, a little taste there, and the next thing you know it's 3:00 and I've nibbled my way through the day. This leaves me feeling depleted and less than energetic by late afternoon. The obvious antidote to this is lunch, something nourishing that will sustain me through the afternoon hours. But preparing a midday meal for myself isn't always as easy as sounds. When I'm involved in a project, the last thing I want to do is stop and take the time to make something to eat, just for me.
Perhaps I need to think of preparing a nourishing, easy lunch just for me as a deliberate act of self care, a gift to my future self who would otherwise be famished and cranky by 3:00. So often we think that if we are not preparing food for our families or the people we love, why bother? Instead we opt for a handful of chips, a bowl of cold cereal or leftovers from a Tupperware container while we stand at the refrigerator with the door open. When we are busy or simply alone in the kitchen, it is easy to send ourselves the message that we are not worth the effort.
But of course we are worth the effort. We are deserving of nourishment, each and every day, regardless of whether there is anyone else around or not. Preparing a meal for ourselves doesn’t have to be complicated; simple and delicious will do. What we need are recipes we can turn to for a quick and easy lunch, hopefully with some components that can be prepared ahead of time so that making a nutritious, energizing midday meal becomes as easy as grabbing a tub of hummus and a bag of pita chips.
This Chickpea Salad Smørrebrød is just that sort of thing. Creamy, herby and fresh, this salad is essentially a vegetarian version of a classic tuna or chicken salad. Piled high on rye bread and fresh greens, it makes an amazing open face sandwich. And if you are the kind of person who always has a can of chickpeas in the pantry, you probably have most of these ingredients around the house already. The salad keeps nicely in the fridge for a couple of days so feel free to make it ahead of time. If you want to make it vegan, simply skip the butter on the bread and substitute vegan mayonnaise for the mayonnaise and skyr combination.
Show yourself some love the next time you are hungry and alone in the kitchen but feel "too busy" to nourish yourself. Whip up a batch of Chickpea Salad, just for you. Heap it on top of toasted bread and fresh greens. Maybe even set a place at the table for yourself, sit down and enjoy your own company. It's a nice little reminder that you are worth the effort.
Chickpea Salad Smørrebrød
For the Smørrebrød:
- 4 thin slices of dense rye bread
- Butter for spreading
- Chickpea Salad recipe follows
- A couple of handfuls of baby arugula or other baby lettuces
- Thinly sliced radishes optional
For the Chickpea Salad:
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Icelandic yogurt skyr or Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ⅓ cup finely diced celery about 1 large stalk
- ¼ cup minced red onion
- 2 tablespoons capers rinsed and drained
- 1 15 ounce can chickpeas rinsed and drained, chickpeas coarsely chopped (some will remain whole)
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 1 tablespoon chopped dill
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- Make the Chickpea Salad: Whisk mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard and lemon juice together in a medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients except salt and pepper and stir together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To assemble the sandwiches, arrange bread on a clean work surface. Butter the bread. Add a layer of greens. Top with Chickpea Salad, dividing the salad equally between the four slices of bread (you may have some left over depending on the size of your bread slices). Artfully arrange radishes on top. Serve.
Thank you for what you wrote about self care. I really needed to hear that! Now I need to take it to heart.
Thanks for your nice note! I'm so glad it resonated with you. I can totally relate....I need to remind myself of this FREQUENTLY. And now you've inspired me to make a batch of chickpea salad tomorrow to have around for lunches this week (just for me)!
All the best to you,
Your comments about self care are so well founded. It is very re-assuring to know that "normal" eaters battle the same sense of low self worth etc. as those of use battling eating disorders and other mental hang ups around food and life. Thank you for providing me some grounding and an awesome recipe on a day that both are needed.
On a completely different note, any suggestions for a good substitute for capers? I wouldn't go out of the way to buy something like that just for me.
Thank you for your kind note! Yes, taking time for self care isn't easy, and especially at lunch time for some reason! I hope you enjoy the chickpea salad....it's one of my favorites. As far as a suggestion for the substitute for capers, I would consider chopped olives or pickles. You want something a little salty/briny. Otherwise, you can always just leave them out altogether! It will still be delicious. If you do that I would consider adding a little lemon juice and a little extra salt. Take good care of yourself!