Vegan Caesar Smashed Chickpea Sandwich

Vegan Caesar Smashed Chickpea Sandwich

A vegan, dairy-free and oil-free Caesar dressing is infused into this smashed chickpea sandwich, giving it a delicious Caesar salad flavor and intense flavor. Fresh red onion give it a nice kick and flavor!

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I believe I have finally nailed the perfect Vegan Caesar Dressing. I'm so serious. It's so delicious and tastes so authentic, I'm in love with it. And get this, it has NO nutritional yeast, no oil and is soy-free! So many version contain added oils, mayo or soy.

Not just sharing a Caesar Dressing today, though. I'm sharing these Smashed Chickpea Caesar Sandwiches of course! The inspiration for these came from going out with my girlfriends a week ago. My best friend ordered Caesar salad at the restaurant and kept talking about how much she had been craving Caesar salad and went on about how delicious it was. Soooo, naturally, she then passed over the craving and grumble in my tummy.

But instead of just posting a Caesar salad, I thought I'd make a yummy chickpea sandwich instead. I was flipping through Southern Living magazine and saw a Caesar inspired chicken recipe in there and that got the ideas rolling for this recipe I'm sharing today. Obviously, that recipe is nowhere near vegan, had chicken, anchovies, mayo and a lot oil, so I really had to do some magic to create something just as yummy but with none of the same ingredients.

I started with my original Caesar dressing recipe that I posted over 4 years ago and tweaked it from there. That recipe is good, is loved by readers with over 100 comments, but it's older and honestly, I knew I could amp it up and make it taste even more like a true Caesar. I believe I have finally done that. The artichoke brine is a game-changer here. The dressing is fabulous on it's own and chilled overnight, it becomes a dip like consistency. I wanted it this thick so it holds up well (not runny) in a sandwich.

If you've had Caesar dressing, then you know it's bold, highly-flavorful, salty and I-can't-stop-eating-it-good. That is what this stuff is.

This recipe is perfect for the summer too because it's HOT and no cooking required and takes just minutes to put together!

I hope you all love it! Be sure to leave feedback below after you make it!


Yields 4 sandwiches

Vegan Caesar Smashed Chickpea Sandwich

A vegan, dairy-free and oil-free Caesar dressing is infused into this smashed chickpea sandwich, giving it a delicious Caesar salad flavor and intense flavor. Fresh red onion give it a nice kick and flavor!

20 minPrep Time

20 minTotal Time

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5 based on 14 review(s)

Ingredients

    Vegan Caesar Dressing
  • 4 tablespoons (60g) artichoke brine from a can (one soaked in water, not oil!)
  • 4 tablespoons (60g) fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons (60g) water
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup (140g) raw, unsalted cashews*
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (start with 1/4 and add more if desired)
  • For the sandwich
  • 1 15oz can of low-sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 6 tablespoons (90g) of the above dressing
  • 3 tablespoons (45g) finely diced red onion
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon or more of salt
  • bread of choice (I used a wheat olive bread from Sprouts)
  • optional: any toppings you like, I used cherry tomatoes, lettuce and hemp seeds/sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Add all of the Caesar dressing ingredients to a high-powered blender and blend until completely smooth. It is a thick dressing, so you will have to scrape down the sides a couple of times to get it all to blend. Keep going until completely smooth. If you do NOT have a Vitamix, then you will need to soak your cashews overnight to get them really soft and then process in a food processor, which I find makes things smoother than a weak blender. You don't want gritty dressing, so soak the nuts. Taste it and tell me that doesn't remind you of Caesar dressing?! It should be bold, rich in flavor and a salty bite...just like Caesar.
  2. The dressing should be nice, thick and creamy. I wanted it thick so it goes well and sticks to the chickpeas. The dressing is fabulous on it's own and chilled overnight, it becomes a thick dip-like consistency. Thin out with a bit of water if wanting to use on a salad or just use thick to dip veggies in or make more chickpea mixture. It's thickness is great to use as a spread on the sandwich.
  3. Add the chickpeas and ONLY 6 tablespoons (90g) of the dressing and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a large bowl. Reserve the rest to make more sandwiches or use in salads. Mash until the dressing is evenly incorporated and the chickpeas are mashed but still have texture. Add the red onion and stir until mixed. Taste and add any more salt if desired. Depending on how salty (or not) your chickpeas were, it will affect how much salt you'll need. I also liked a good turn of freshly ground black pepper. I did place the mixture in the fridge to chill and set the flavors for awhile before eating.
  4. When assembling the sandwiches, I like to spread extra Caesar dressing on the bread like a "mayo" and as an extra boost of Caesar flavor. Assemble sandwiches as desired!
  5. For the extra artichokes, I like to grill them and add them to alfredo sauce and pasta. Try my Garlic Alfredo or another option is this amazing Grilled Artichoke with Couscous OR these delicious Vegan Crab Cakes !
7.8.1.2
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76 Comments

  1. Are chickpeas part of the Ceasar Dressing? the way it shows the recipe there are chickpeas listed there.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Pam! No, the chickpeas are not included in the dressing. They are added after you blend up the dressing. :)
  2. Can I replace the cashews with a white bean?
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      I haven’t tried that personally but you are welcome to try it. Of course it will be much less rich and creamy and change the texture but might be less noticeable in a sandwich. The cashews help it to thicken well and adhere to the chickpeas well, so you’ll just have to see!
  3. Ooh, this looks and sounds so yummy. I've been having TLT sandwiches most days and this looks like a good change up especially while tomatoes are getting good. Thank you!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      You are so welcome Laura, I hope you love these!
  4. What happens to all the artichokes?? (if you only use the brine?)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      I just grilled them and added to pasta. Use them whatever way you like! Artichoke dip or these crab cakes would be good! http://thevegan8.com/2018/05/29/spicy-grilled-crab-patties-with-aioli/
    • Toss them with pasta the next day..... delicious! So many ways to use artichokes!
  5. Any possible subs for the artichoke brine, if I can't find it?
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Thera! Oh you can find artichokes at literally every single grocery store in the canned veggies section, even Wal-Mart :)
      • Hi! We live in a different country and I'm not sure it's easy to find artichokes except in oil. But I will check!
  6. Oh MAAAAAN!!!!!! I can't WAIT to try this! You're a GENIUS Brandi....UNEQUIVOCALLY!!!!! Thanks for your continued ingenuity, talent, creativity & love!!.......Always, your adoring fan, Daryl
    • Daryl, I just have to say, I love all your comments. :-D (And they reflect what I'd say about many of these recipes if I were less shy!)
      • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
        I agree Thera, he is just the best! Always brightens my day!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Haha, you are too cute Daryl! Thank you for always making me smile! Hope you love these!
  7. MEO
    Delicious - a refreshing change from hummus sandwiches.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Yay! Thank you so much for already making it. So glad it was delicious!
  8. Jen
    This recipe is SO delicious and satisfying! This will be a summer staple in our house. Already looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Wonderful Jen, thank you so much for the lovely review and making the recipe so quickly!
  9. Super yummy! Caesar dressing will make a great mayo sub for a sandwich too!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Yay! Thrilled to hear you enjoyed it Theresa! I agree...I totally spread it on my sandwich as mayo, so so good. Especially after it thickened overnight, it spreads like a dream :)
  10. Artichoke brine! Brilliant. Can't wait to give it a go. Thanks so much!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Neil! I really hope you love it!
  11. In place of the cashews, could you use another type of nut?? I don't always have cashews on hand as they are a bit expensive for me. Thanks
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Sheree, I wouldn't recommend it because cashews are what make it so creamy and they have a neutral flavor background which makes them the perfect nut for the Caesar flavor. Other nuts have a much stronger flavor and would completely change the result. However, what you could do is do half white cannellini beans and half cashews to cut down on the expense and it should still turn out really good that way, just a bit less creamy.
  12. Sue
    My husband: You can make this again! It's a winner - very good!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      That is so awesome to hear Sue, thank you for the feedback!
  13. I'm somewhat of a chickpea salad snob. I mean we like our chickpea salad and I was super excited to try this different take. It was certainly as great as expected..who would've thought artichoke brine - it worked perfectly. I doubled the recipe to begin with and I'm glad we did. This will definitely go into the chickpea salad rotation!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      I'm so so happy y'all loved it! Thank you for the awesome review!
  14. So much innovation and creativity - really appreciate your generosity to share these ideas and methods. Makes being a WFPD SOS vegan wayyyyyy more fun!!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      SO sweet, thank you so much!
  15. Yum!! This really hit the spot on a 100° day, as I was craving a cool and savory lunch! I have had my eye on a chickpea sandwich at a local restaurant but wasn’t thrilled with the other ingredients and then I read your version, Brandi, and I knew it would be perfect. Heck, I would have made this recipe out of curiosity for the Cesar dressing alone and it did not disappoint!! Super creamy with a tart kick that married beautifully with the chickpeas, and the extra bite from the red onion added to the taste & texture of this sandwich. Thanks so much for helping me add to my lunch repertoire AND a fabulous new dressing, Brandi!
    • PS- There are so many wonderful ways to use the artichokes; putting them on homemade pizza is one of my favorites, and adding them to pasta as you recommended, Brandi. But I don’t think you’ll mind me sharing my absolute favorite; spinach artichoke dip. There are many vegan recipes but this one is fabulous- https://dreenaburton.com/creamy-artichoke-spinach-dip-without-the-junk/
      • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
        Hi Colleen! Oh, I'm so happy to hear you loved these sandwiches! Thank you so much for making them so quickly :) Stay tuned for the Hot Baked Cream Cheese Spinach Artichoke Dip in my cookbook too, it is absolutely the best one I've ever had and will fool non-vegans easily! Thank you for sharing Colleen :)
        • Oooh, I can’t wait for your recipe!! (or your book, for that matter:) I just have to tell you how versatile your dressing is; I was out of yogurt to make your ricotta cheese last night so I subbed 2TBS Caesar dressing and YUM!! Today I wanted to make some kind of potato salad but hate vegan mayo, mainly due to all the oil, so I used what was left of the dressing and added a bit of plain almond yogurt, mustard, spices, etc and mixed in baby potatoes, chopped pickle, carrot and red onion. Holy smokes! Is there anything you can’t do with this dressing?!? Another 5 stars for the dressing!!
          • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
            That is so amazing to hear how versatile it is Colleen! That potato salad version sounds sooo good right now!! I'm starving at the moment, haha! Thank you for sharing :)
  16. I always love your recipes and this is going to be one of my favorites. I didn't have all the ingredients so I made it using the chickpeas, salt, and onion, and I added a nut cream made with cashews, black walnuts, pecans, and evaporated soy milk. I also added lemon juice, a little "pickle juice," and a little chopped dill pickle. Made a sandwich with homemade spelt bread, the chickpea mix, avocado, and tomato. Yum! I gave half the sandwich to my vegan adult son and told him it was a vegan chicken salad sandwich. Later I asked what he thought and he said, "I really never liked chicken salad very much. I preferred egg salad." "Then it's a vegan egg salad sandwich!" I look forward to trying it with the right ingredients. If it's better than what I did today, it's going to be scrumptious! My other vegan son and I are going to a 4-day conference in July and I'm pretty sure this will be one of the foods we take with us. Thank you so much!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Charlotte! Glad to hear! Yeah, that sounds completely different, haha. Definitely try it again as listed with the artichoke brine and Dijon etc, it really gives a specific Caesar flavor! Thank you!
  17. I’ve already made this recipe 5 times this week. It’s so good!! My 17 yo daughter absolutely loves it. It’s her new go to quick, easy and satisfing meal. We love everything about this recipe and how versatile it is. We added apples so it would taste more like my old chicken version. She already plans to take this to the July 4th pool party. Thanks for creating this delicious recipe.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Yay Nicole! That is the best feedback! SO happy to hear you've made them so much already and loving them! Thank you for the lovely review!!
  18. I've never had Caesar salad before, but love this! It's a nice spin on the usual chickpea salad recipes. I can see leftovers with crackers, mixed into pasta or quinoa, in a wrap. And I love how it really all sticks together so that it doesn't fall out of the bread and can be portable for work or picnics! Love it!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Laura! So happy you loved this!
  19. I must say this was so good!! My 17 yo daughter had me go to the store to get more chickpeas and cashews so we could make this again. We could not get enough. We've made this so many times already it's embarrassing...lol She already has plans to take this to the July 4th pool party.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Haha, that is so awesome Nicole! So thrilled you and your daughter are loving this sandwich so much! That makes me happy to hear. Thank you for the feedback!
  20. Just made! Delicious!😍😍😍. Can't wait to receive your book! You're awesome! 🤗
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      yay, thank you so much Platty! I'm so happy you loved it! And thank you for ordering my book, I really appreciate it!
  21. Smashed chickpea sandwiches and salads were a huge staple in my diet before I had to ditch legumes, BUT I have never tried or even stumbled across a recipe that uses caesar dressing! What an awesome, unique twist! Who would have thought artichoke brine?!? But then again, you were the first to introduce me to the magic of pickle juice in recipes, so I really shouldn't be surprised. While I may not be able to make this intended recipe, but I'm definitely making the dressing next week to change up my obsessive use of your ranch dressing! I LOVE that you use red onion in your chickpea recipe because it adds such a great flavor punch! Oh, and olive bread?!? Yes, please! Josh would love this sandwich - I can't wait to share it with him! xo
    • OK, so while I can’t eat chickpeas, I couldn’t pass up giving this dressing a try and OMG!!! I’m here to report that it is INSANELY delicious!! Like lick the blender clean good. You know it’s good when Willow eats it! The first night I added it to my salad and tonight I used it in collard wraps. Willow has eaten it two nights in a row with lentil noodles! Ha! Not how I envisioned her using it, but I’m happy she loves it!! She’s insisted we keep making it! I love the rich flavor and saltiness of it - crazy how adding the artichoke brine just amped up the intensity!! It’s so easy to thin down for a pourable dressing, but perfectly thick to coat noodles with. So excited to have a new favorite (obsession) dressing!! This is just amazing! And I look forward to using it in the future for chickpea mash! Hopefully way sooner than later! SO dang yummy!!!! XO
      • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
        Awww yay!! So happy you and Willow both loved it! I know Willow is picky, so that is the best news! That is hilarious with noodles too, but hey, whatever works, right :) I love how it gets super thick overnight because it's totally spreadable as mayo or a dip! Thank you so much my friend for making it!! And I'm totally trying it in collard wraps, sounds amazing!
  22. WOW! This is delicious. The whole family loved this recipe :) :) :) :) 4 smiling faces! Thank you!!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Yay!! So happy to hear that Tanya! Thank you for the amazing feedback!!
  23. Absolutely delicious! Made this yesterday and its been demolished already. Can i ask, how long will the dressing last in the fridge if i make a big batch? Thanks! X
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Haha that’s awesome Jenny!! So glad you loved it! I’d say 1-2 weeks it’s still good!
  24. Have made this 3 times now and it is my favorite go to recipe. I love making the sandwiches and also having a great dressing for salads. I wanted to cut through the sweetness the cashews give the dressing for a little more punch and did my own tweaking. I used the artichoke brine but cut it to 2 Tablespoons and substituted 2 Tablespoons of dill pickle juice. I also took 2 of the artichoke hearts and blended them with the dressing. And it turned out great and also made use of the artichoke hearts. The rest I chop up for salads. The smashed chickpeas with the red onion and the dill flavor make this such a close substitute to tuna salad. Thank you for the amazing recipe. I keep telling all my friends and family being vegan doesn't have to be boring!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      I’m so happy you love this recipe so much Tammy and gave it your own spin!! Thank you for the lovely review!
    • p.s Brandi, I just wanted to let you know that I made a potato salad with this dressing. Turned out great. My family didn't even know it was a vegan dish. You don't even miss the eggs! Thank you again :)
  25. This was outstanding! Delicious I even added a little artichoke to it. Turned out famtastic. We stuffed it in a pita pocket. Great recipe! I cant wait to get your cookbook.
  26. Hi there! Am so happy to have found your site recently! We have nut allergies in our home, so are there any non-nut substitutes I could use in place of the cashews? I saw your response to one of the comments, advising to use 1/2 cannellini and 1/2 cashews to reduce the cost, but cost is not our issue. What do you think?
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Wendi! You can try all beans if you like, just know that the flavor and texture will be much less creamy and rich (more runny) but might be okay since it will be mixed into the chickpeas anyways, so it might not be as detectable. I'm just not typically a fan of all bean sauces since the texture is not creamy and it does taste a bit like beans. Or, you could possibly try raw sunflower seeds?
      • Hi Brandi! So I wanted to circle back and let you know how it all turned out. I substituted 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds and 1/2 cup cannellini beans for the cashews, and it turned out great! There was a bit of a sunflower seed-ish taste to the dressing (which makes sense, as sunflower seeds are not nearly as mild as cashews), but it did not detract in any way from the flavor. And I didn't feel that the texture was runny at all. Probably not as thick as it would be with cashews, but it was chunky and creamy, and everyone (including my 13 year old and my 15 year old) gave it 5 Stars! We used up all of the dressing making MORE chickpea sandwiches the next day! I think next time I'll try with 1/3 cup sunflower seeds and 2/3 cup cannellini beans next time, just to see how it turns out with a slightly less sunflower seed-ish flavor. But this was great on its own and I wanted to share, for those who can't do cashews!
        • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
          So awesome to hear it worked out well, thank you so much Wendi for the review!
  27. This recipe looks amazing. Can’t wait to try it. Do you have any nutrition or macro information on it?
  28. Oh Brandi!! Your mastery of cooking with the plant kingdom is down right amazing! This is by far the best one-a-fish two-no-fish I have ever had! Made the simple recipe last night and then enjoyed it for lunch the next day! As usual, it was simple and spot on! Will use the artichokes tonight with zucchini noodles and the roasted red pepper sauce! I can’t wait to get your cookbook!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Awww yay Stuart! You are so very kind, thank you so much for the lovely words and amazing review!!
  29. Dear Brandi, I really love Caesar dressing....but NOW I only love YOUR "Caesar" dressing!! I cannot adequately express how deliciously craving-satisfying and delightfully easy your recipe is!! I followed it exactly and, even though I only have a tiny inexpensive food processor, it turned out scrumptious!! Thank you for being such a wonderful role model by caring for your family through delicious, healthful food! ( and thank you for being so gracious to share the recipes! Sincerely, Mary I wanted to give you 10 stars!!
    • So true! Very grateful!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Awww yay, what a wonderful review Mary! Thank you so much for taking the time to make it and leave such a kind comment! So happy to hear!
  30. I've made this three times for lunch already, and the extra dip is wonderful as an appetizer to dip cucumbers and pepper in! We love it!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      So awesome Nancy, so glad you love this!
  31. This looks so yummy! Do you know how long the caesar dressing keeps? thank you
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      It keeps about a week or so!
  32. Wondering if fresh garlic could be substituted for powdered garlic? I find powdered garlic leaves a strong after taste.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Joan! Sure, you can add 1-2 cloves or as much as you want. This doesn't have a strong aftertaste at all because of all the acidity but you can certainly use fresh cloves.
  33. Is this dressing better than old? Your old dressing has been made in my home every week for the last year or two. Keep up the good work. :)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Britt! I think it's better and more authentic tasting and you can see from all the reviews above how much everybody loves it, haha! But since you love the original one so much, I'm not sure. Try it and see :)

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