Chickpea Choona Melt
I don't eat sandwiches all that often, I mean there's nothing wrong with them I just never really feel like one. I'd rather cook up a big pan of veggies. But every so often I have a real toastie craving. And if I'm looking for a toastie I want that really gooey, steamin' in the middle kind. I used to love a tuna and cheese toastie, until I realised that in just 55 years, humans have managed to wipe out 90% of the ocean’s top predators. These are animals like sharks, bluefin tuna, swordfish, marlin, and king mackerel. 90% that's a staggering amount! I feel so often the sentience of fish is questioned, of course fish are sentient, of course they feel pain, and more than that I think they are far clever than they are given credit for (Did you see Blue Planet 2 and the tuskfish that used tools?! have a watch below if you haven't).
But also if you care about the environment, you should care about our oceans too. Our impact on the oceans is shocking, I honestly keep having nightmares about the amount of plastic in the ocean (thanks David Attenborough for this one, joking I actually love you). But not eating fish is one big thing anyone can do to reduce this impact.
Ok sorry I'll stop harping on at you about eating fish, and start harping on about eating chickpeas. This tuna replacement is perfect, it tastes amazing, is super simple to make and works in my gooey toastie! Chickpeas are a complex carbohydrate, great for all my fellow diabetics (and everyone else!), because this kind of carbohydrate takes the body longer to break down into glucose. Therefore they don't lead to a sharp spike and dips in energy, but provide a longer more sustainable fuel. Chickpeas are also high in fibre, which is great for aiding digestion and are a great source of protein, about 15g in one cup of cooked beans.
Of course no melt is complete without the melty part. It's time to talk vegan cheese. Whenever I talk about vegan cheese with omnivores I get a look that says "please stop pretending like you like that stuff". Well guess what mouldy milk eaters, I do! There are so many vegan cheeses on supermarket shelves these days, I think almost anyone can find one they like, it's just a matter of persistence and trying as many as you can. For this recipe I used Violife original flavour slices, which I found in Sainsbury's. You can use any type of vegan cheese you fancy, but for gooiest results I would suggest a pre-sliced one.
Man alive, was this good. Just the comfort food I needed to see me through the end of January. Get your cheesey melty gooey goodness choona fix!
Makes 4-6 sandwiches depending on the size of your bread
For the chickpea choona
1 can of chickpeas
3 spring onions
3 tablespoons capers
1 nori sheet
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
1 teaspoon tamiri
3 tablespoons of vegan mayonnaise (I used this one but any will do)
Brown bread (gluten free if needed)
Vegan cheese (I used this one)
Spray olive oil
1) Place the nori sheet in a dry pan and toast on both sides, until the sheet is browning.
2) Place the nori sheet in a blender/food processor and blend until the sheet is broken up into small pieces.
3) Add the spring onions, capers, mustard and tamiri to the blender and blend again. Add the chickpeas last and blend so they retain some texture.
4) Stir the mayonnaise into the chickpea mixture.
5) Spray 2 slices of bread on one side with olive oil.
6) Build your sandwich, layering cheese, chickpea choona, cherry tomatoes and rocket.
7) Place the sandwich in a hot griddle pan and fry until the bottom piece of bread is nicely toasted, flip and fry on the other side until equally toasted.
8) For really melted cheese, place the toastie in a microwave on full power for 40 seconds.