These sandwiches are a flavor explosion! Smashed chickpeas with 5-ingredient collard greens pesto spread onto whole grain bread with sprouts, tomatoes, and onion.
Every year with the CSA that I buy, there are weeks where I get so many leafy greens that my refrigerator turns into a deciduous forest. Trying to eat them all is a fun game for me; I love greens! Last year I waxed about them when I made kale, garlic scape and walnut pesto. The year before that, it was Swiss chard hummus. And for an entire archive of me complaining about leafy green overload, you can browse any of my green vegetable recipes here!
It’s high time I showed a little more love for collard greens in particular, something I eat regularly but rarely share on the blog. This time around, I also received fresh basil in my CSA share, and immediately knew I wanted to blanch the collard greens and blitz them up into a fresh green pesto.
Psst! Seen in these two photos is one of the awesome tank tops I have been sporting recently, from the Everything Vegan shop, run by reader Aaron. Aaron was lovely enough to send me a gift card to the shop and I loved everything so much that I have placed two of my own orders as well now.
All of the apparel in the store is 100% vegan and there are dozens of designs ranging from subtly to explicitly pro-vegan in their message. This “you are what you eat” tank is one of my favorites. Another fave is this beautiful ‘vegan fruits and veggies‘ design which I have in the sweatshirt version to wear at the office when they crank the AC too cold. There are plenty of other food-related designs too.
Everything Vegan has frequent sales including a buy-2-get-1-free going on right now! If you’re looking for new vegan gear I hope you’ll check them out and support this rad plant-based business. Cheers!
The other ingredients in this pesto are shockingly simple: just the collards, basil, a little lemon, salt, and ripe avocado! I’ve been wanting to share a chickpea salad recipe here but drenching it in oil or vegan mayo would be taking the easy way out! Avocado saves the day here, loading up this collard green pesto chickpea salad with healthy fats while also keeping it oil-free which I know many of you will be happy about.
After making the pesto just stir it together with some mashed, smashed, or intact (up to you!) garbanzo beans and you’re set on your way with no mayo to speak of!
With an entire pound of collard greens packed in, these sandwiches are nutritious as hell and definitely a great recipe to feed non-vegans! I’m confident you would enjoy great success substituting other hearty greens like kale for the collards here. Just reduce the blanching time to about 2 minutes, as collards take particularly long to blanch.
Collard Green Pesto Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
For the collard greens pesto chickpea salad:
- 1 lb collard greens (equaled 1 bunch for me; weighed before removing stems)
- 2 ripe avocados roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 and 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves loosely packed
- 1 and 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas rinsed and drained
For the pesto chickpea salad sandwiches:
- collard green pesto chickpeas (above)
- 8 slices whole grain bread (or gluten-free if needed)
- 1 small red onion thinly sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced (or use other type of tomatoes)
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- mustard and/or other condiments of choice
For the collard greens pesto smashed chickpeas:
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, remove the stems from the collard greens and tear them into smaller pieces (the exact size isn't important). Also, prepare a separate bowl of ice-cold water. Once the water is boiling, add the collard green leans to the pot and stir. Cook for 2 and a half minutes, stirring once or twice. Pour the pan into a strainer, or remove the collard greens with a slotted spoon, and then plunge them into the ice water.
- Either spread out the collard greens somewhere in a single layer to dry if you have time to wait; or squeeze the liquid out of them with your hands. Add them to a food processor along with the avocado, and blend as smooth as you can.
- Add the salt and lemon juice and blend to combine. Finally, add the basil leaves and pulse until the basil is finely chopped but not completely pureed. Season to taste with more salt and lemon juice.
- Take the chickpeas and lightly mash about half of them. Alternately, leave them whole if you'd like to just eat this in salad form. Or mash all of them if you prefer! Fold in the collard green pesto and taste for seasoning one last time.
To assemble the collard green pesto chickpea salad sandwiches:
- Toast the bread, if desired, and add condiments of choice to the bread. Spread about 1/4 of the pesto chickpea mixture on each sandwich and top with sprouts, sliced tomatoes, red onion, and any other desired toppings.
Disclosure: I was provided a complimentary gift card to Everything Vegan which covered part of my purchase. All opinions and writing are my own.