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Chickpea Salad has to be one of the vegetarian world's best kept secrets. Its cheap and easy, low fat and high in fiber, and it's universally tasty. I brought half a dozen cans of chickpeas with me when I went camping this summer. I wanted to make sure we'd have something to eat regardless of the menu. Instead, the menu became chickpea salad sandwiches. My family routinely abandoned their turkey or cheese sandwiches for a little more chickpea salad. Every vegetarian's got a recipe, but, just for giggles, I'll post mine to.

Spinach Dip is one of those foods that I've always loved, but ate sparingly because it was so calorific. I set out to make one that was vegan and a little better around the waste. I succeeded. This version works great as a dip or sandwich spread (I've been spreading it on leftover chapati). It's firm enough to spread, but still creamy and has a nice spinachy taste.

sammichs

Chickpea Salad
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/2 small pickle, finely chopped
1 tsp mustard
1 tbs vegan mayonnaise
1-2 tbs chopped shallots, scallions or sweet onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp Black Indian Salt (optional)

Roughly mash the chickpeas with a fork. They should form somewhat of a paste, with some of the beans still whole and many partially in tact. Stir in the remaining ingredients. The Black Indian Salt is optional, but it gives it a faint eggy aroma that I find appealing.

4 Servings: 120 cal (2g fat, 21g carbs, 5g protein)

Spinach Sandwich Spread or Dip
1 lb baby spinach, washed and chopped
1 can water chestnuts, chopped
1 can white kidney beans
1/2 cup Tofutti sour cream
1/4 cup vegan mayonaisse
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Chop and cook the in a saute pan with just the moisture clinging to the washed spinach. Drain the cooked spinach by pressing between two plates. Put the spinach in a bowl and allow to cool in the refrigerator. Thoroughly mash the beans with a fork or in a food processor. Combine the beans, chilled spinach and remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

8 Servings: 199 cal (7g fat, 26g carbs, 8g protein)

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