The Lunch Bunch: Healthy Chickpea “Chicken” Salad

asweatlife_The Lunch Bunch: Healthy Chickpea “Chicken” Salad

(Recipe and photo by WholeLivingLauren at

My recipe this week comes with absolutely perfect timing and was created by one of my favorite Registered Dietitians, Lauren Blake. Lauren and I go back to our freshman year of college at Miami University of Ohio (eek – already almost 10 years ago) and we really got to know each other throughout our four years of undergrad in Miami’s Dietetic program. Her wellness and nutrition blog is called WholeLivingLauren.

Lauren’s blog is absolutely inspiring and is full of delicious plant-based recipes. I have always found a vegan lifestyle challenging for people to follow when the right support or nutrition education is lacking. Lauren practices nutrition consulting in Columbus and provides both this great support with some of the best recipes that will convince you that you’re not even eating vegan!

As I mentioned, this recipe for chickpea “chicken” salad came at a perfect time for me. I saw Lauren’s post a few weeks ago and decided it was about time to try it out myself and share for our weekly Lunch Bunch. After experiencing some pain and discomfort while eating these past six months, I finally decided to take a food sensitivity test. I eliminated eggs from my diet over a year ago when I first started experiencing uncomfortable GI symptoms. These went away for a while until I realized that eggs are not the only culprit. Well, based on my results given to me last week, I am very sensitive to casein – the protein found in milk and most dairy products. (Yes, I have to give up cheese … wasn’t too thrilled about that one). As disappointed as I am to learn of the sensitivity, I honestly couldn’t be more motivated for a positive change and I’m excited that I have scientific results on which to base my lifestyle changes.

I’m temporarily eliminating all soy and gluten as well for the next 2-3 months until I’m completely healed and back on track; however, it’s not a bad change to incorporate long term. My nutrition philosophy focuses on whole, nutrient-dense foods and making lifestyle changes that better you and your body. I do NOT believe in diets, so let’s stop using that word right here!

I’ve worked with clients who have taken similar food sensitivity tests and have completely changed how they feel and look based on their results and subsequent food changes. I’m not simply talking weight … I mean their energy goes up, headaches and brain fog are gone, hair and nails look healthier, workouts get stronger and body composition goals are met. I’m sure you agree, but I want to feel like THAT! I want to wake up energized, feeling like I can kick ass and conquer the world each and every day!

Some people are going to be sensitive to certain foods more than others. The key is listening to your own body and knowing what makes you feel good and what doesn’t. How can you feel your best? Maybe simply start focusing on incorporating more meals with whole, nutrient dense foods like this recipe. If you are experiencing stomach problems, an elimination diet of big trigger groups like gluten/soy/dairy is a great place to start. Lastly, if you’re stubborn like I am and like some scientific facts to back you up – a food sensitivity test is a great resource and we at aSweatLife will always be here to support you.

This gluten-free/egg-free/soy-free/dairy-free lunch will have you drooling. Even if you skip the healthy description when eating with your coworkers, I promise they will want to steal it anyway! I’ve tweaked some of Lauren’s ingredients to make a bigger batch for your week of lunches and I’ve provided 5 different ways to keep it exciting each day. Feel free to pick and choose from the Lunch Bunch below based on any of your diet restrictions.

As always, happy lunching! Download your lunch prepping and packing guide here.

Lunch Bunch_The Lunch Bunch- Veggie Polenta Lasagna_15 03 04



  • 1 orange or yellow bell pepper
  • 3 green onions (small bunch)
  • 2 Stalks celery
  • Red grapes
  • 1 lemon


  • 2 cans chickpeas
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Dijon mustard
  • Dried dill
  • Salt and pepper


  • Dill pickles
  • Vegan mayonnaise (Earth Balance)

Optional add-ins:

  • Romaine lettuce (lettuce cups)
  • Whole grain or gluten-free bread



  • 1 ½ (15oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup orange bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dill pickle, finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped grapes
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced


  1. In a large bowl, mash the chickpeas with a potato masher until flaky in texture.
  2. Stir in celery, bell pepper, pickle, onion, grapes, mayonnaise, garlic, and dill. Stir until combined.
  3. Next, stir in the mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Stir again until combined.

Let us know!

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About Patty Duffey

Patty is a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Coach in the Chicago area. She is Ohio bred and received her bachelor’s degree in dietetics at Miami of Ohio, while continuing on the following year to complete her Dietetic Internship at Mount Carmel Hospitals in Columbus. Upon becoming an RD, Patty made the remarkable decision to work abroad in Australia for one year. She loved the active and healthy culture, and it seemed that most Aussies shared a common view that is was better to be proactive as opposed to reactive when it came to health and wellbeing. She knew that the health and fitness industry was exactly where she wanted to be. Since moving to Chicago three years ago, Patty has gained experience as a dietitian and nutrition coach at both Life Time Fitness and My Fit Foods. Her goal is to continue to build her health coaching skills as a nutrition entrepreneur. She currently works at Lululemon and loves working for a company where she can bring fitness and nutrition together in such an inspiring environment!

2 thoughts on “The Lunch Bunch: Healthy Chickpea “Chicken” Salad

  1. Thank you for posting! I made it for lunch this week, and it was delicious!

    1. We love being part of your lunch! Share a photo of your lunch with #lunchbunch.

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