A twist on a classic – Smashed Pimento Chickpea Sandwich (vegan pimento cheese) is hearty, flavor-packed and reminiscent of pimento cheese. Like my Smashed Chickpea Salad Sandwich, this smash comes together in ten minutes (with a little advance prep) then share it as a spread, or as a sandwich! This recipe is vegetarian, vegan and easily gluten free.
This recipe was first published September 2017. It’s was updated February 2022 with new photos and recipe notes.
Trying Something New with Chickpeas
Since making my first smash-up, the Smashed Chickpea Salad Sandwich, I knew I wanted to create a new favorite inspired by an old recipe. Oh what chickpeas can do!
Although I started making this recipe years ago, it was a visit from my pimento cheese lovin’ Ma that helped me taste test this one since she’s a big fan of the classic. I wanted her to give it a go before I shared it on the blog since, after-all, she is a pimento cheese expert.
With the help of nutritional yeast, paprika, red bell peppers and some good mayo, I’m completely smitten with this version of Vegan Pimento Cheese. I even impressed my pimento cheese expert Ma who lovingly hesitated and looked at me as if I’d lost it. Whaaa… no cheese?
Quick Guide: How to Make Vegan Pimento Cheese Chickpea Sandwiches
This spread is simple to pull together and is versatile enough to be enjoyed as a sammie, stuffed into pitas or with your favorite crackers. It’s delicious with celery and cucumber too. In summary, here’s how to make it (see recipe card for details):
- First, char red bell peppers under the broiler, gas grill or on a gas stove top range (see recipe notes). I like to use the gas stove top when roasting one or two peppers but if I have more, I turn on the broiler. It takes about and about 20 minutes under the broiler, 15-20 minutes on a grill or 10 minutes on a gas range.
- Second, place the peppers in a bowl and cover for about 10 minutes. This will help the charred skin release with ease.
- Third, mash up the chickpeas, and spices together.
- Next, peel the peppers and give em’ a good chop.
- Last, fold the peppers into the chickpea mixture.
PRO TIP: If you need a quick fix, whole roasted red bell peppers are available in a jar. They’re expensive, and not as flavorful as if you roast your own, but I use them in a pinch. Also, bell peppers can be roasted ahead of when needed, at least two days. They freeze beautifully too!
A Few Recipe Notes
- Enjoy this scrumptious spread for game day eats, picnics, on crackers, with celery, stuffed in pita bread, or simply on Multigrain Sourdough Bread.
- Spice it Up! Douse with a few shakes of Tabasco, and top with Pickled Banana Peppers for an added kick!
- Prep Ahead: Find whole roasted red bell peppers packed in water (not oil), in jars. Or, roast and peel the red peppers up to two days in advance.
More Vegetarian Sandwiches to Love
- Smashed Chickpea Salad Sandwich
- Smashed Chickpea Salad with Pecans and Grapes
- Greek Pita Stuffed Sandwiches
- Italian Pressed Sandwich
- Mushroom and Goat Cheese Veggie Paninis
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Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a comment and rating below as it helps others considering making this recipe. If you’re on Instagram, be sure to take a picture and tag me @VanillaAndBean so I can see and share in my stories!
Vegan Smashed Pimento Chickpea Sandwich Recipe
- 1 3/4 cups (280 grams) Chickpeas cooked, drained and rinsed (one can)
- 1 tablespoon Onion minced
- 1/2 Lemon juiced
- 2 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
- 1 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Cane Sugar (optional or to taste as mayo brands vary in their sweetness)
- 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- 3-4 tablespoons Mayonaise I use Just Mayo or Follow Your Heart
- 2 Roasted Red Bell Peppers patted dry and diced small* (about 1 cup / 200 grams diced)
- Fresh Ground Pepper
- Pickled Banana Peppers (optional) for an little kick!
- A few shakes of Tabasco
- After draining the chickpeas, put them on a kitchen towel and pat dry. In a large mixing bowl add the chickpeas, onions, lemon, yeast, salt, sugar (optional – but for that authentic flavor!), paprika, and mayo.
- Use a potato masher to rough-mash the mixture until most is smashed but there are still some whole chickpeas left. Stir in the diced roasted bell peppers, add a few grinds of fresh pepper and shakes of Tabasco. Taste for seasoning adjustment.
- Store in a lidded container, in the refrigerator, for up to three days.
- Serving Suggestions: Use this pimento chickpea as a spread on toast, crackers or sandwiches. Use it as a dip with sliced veggies – celery and cucumber are quite tasty.
MaryAnn | The Beach House Kitchen
Such a fan of your chickpea sammies Traci! And you know I love my pimento cheese! This is a fabulous recipe and one I’ve enjoyed several times! Shared with my girlfriends too to rave reviews!
Thank you for your note and giving this smash up a go Mare! Hooray for sharing with friends!
My husband has this “What’s for dinner?” thing. With Covid it’s also been “What’s for lunch?” So with a stash of chickpeas and black beans in the pantry, I keep looking for new ideas. This and your dill recipe are “in the rotation”. I grew up in NYC 70+ years ago with an Irish mother. So the only pimiento cheese I knew was that supermarket Kraft inlittle glass jars. But I knew it was something unlike anything Mommy made. :-) Thanks for the recipe and the memories
Hiii Lucida! LOL “what’s for lunch and dinner?!” You grew up on pimento cheese too?! We ate it all the time.. even my dedicated regular pimiento cheese loving Ma approved :D SO happy to hear y’all are enjoying the smash ups!
So so good. Thanks for such a delicious, healthy recipe. Can’t wait to try more.
Hi Susan! Thank you for your note and sending a smile! I love this sammie and so happy you do too!
Hi Traci! I loooove chickpeas and am super excited to try this and your other recipes. Thank you Pinterest for leading me to Traci’s page lol. I do have one friendly consideration…this recipe isn’t vegan with traditional mayo and you don’t suggest an alternative but the recipe is listed as vegan. Can you please update or say there’s a vegan option if you don’t use mayo?
With love and now anticipation to make these recipes lol,
Hi Cortney! Thank you for your note and stopping by! I do suggest using Just Mayo (a vegan mayo) on the recipe. But there are several different varieties of mayo, vegan or not, so use what is suitable to your specific dietary needs. My favorites are Vegenaise and Just Mayo. I’m not sure of a different option instead of mayo.. perhaps a cashew based, homemade-type mayo?
Hi- what does the nutritional yeast do in the recipe? I can’t find it and was just wondering what it tasted like?
Hi Alex! Nutritional yeast gives the smash up a cheesy taste without the cheese! It’s sold in some ‘health food’ stores in bulk or Frontier Co-Op sells it as well. I hope this helps.
I just made this and only made half a batch in case I didn’t like it…then stood here to taste it and now half of the bowl is gone. This is amazing!!!!!!!! Thanks for such a great, easy recipe!
Hi Katie! Thank you for coming back and leaving a note! Easy and so good, right? Who knew?
A lovely sandwich served on toasted sourdough with some dill pickles and roasted carrots on the side. I also love smashed chickpeas with curry, raisins, plain yogurt, cumin and lettuce on toasted whole grain bread. So many good flavour variations. Thanks for a great recipe!
Hiii Vivian! Thank you so much for your note and giving the recipe a go. Toasted sourdough…… I’m SO with you. I’ve had smashed chickpeas with curry and love it too… perhaps another smashup I need to blog about! Thank you for your tip!
I. CAnt believe how much I love chickpea sandwiches, who’d have thought?
Gorgeous sandwiches all the time and I love those mixes on top of lovely big baked potatoes for,that perfect lazy dinner at end of long day.
That is such a great idea, Pongodhall! On top of baked potatoes? Mmmmmm!
There’s nothing you could do with a chickpea that I wouldn’t love! I don’t eat pimento often, but when I do, it’s a treat…so this is a real treat! The perfect lunch! Thanks for sharing another tried and true, my friend!! xo
hehe! I hope you’ll give it a go Annie! It’s time to whip up another batch… I love having it on hand for a quick snack! :D
Tessa | Salted Plains
Bravo! I am so excited to try this! You recreated a classic and chocked it full of goodness – I’d say better than the original! :) Love it, Traci! xo
Thank you Tessa! I love it! What cant those chickpeas do? :D
OMGeee Traci, I want to install a springboard and cannon ball into this beauty. You are the queen of the smash – we love your briny dill version… (my husband says it tastes just like a tuna sandwich only, better, that’s big! :D) I’ve never heard of pimento cheese but I know we’re already friends. Cannot wait to try. Thank you for your inspiration.
hahaaaa! LOL! I’m *so with you, Kelly! So happy your hubs is enjoying the briny dill version… that one has my heart too (although Rob is not a fan). I hope you enjoy it my dear xo !!
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary
I absolutely love a good smashed chickpea salad and I adore pimento cheese, so this sandwich most definitely has my name written all over it, Traci!! This is a brilliant combination!!! Cheers! xoxo
It’s a win-win, Chey! Thank you my dear! xo
In NOLA now but I can’t wait to try this sandwich when I get back. Is it on our local Screaming Banshee bread?
Thanks for sharing!
Hey Lady… I put this on Oystercatcher’s sourdough :D ! A treat indeed! Have a fabulous trip… it’s raining again and I couldn’t be happier!
geraldine | Green Valley Kitchen
I love a good smashed chickpea sandwich, Traci – so I am definitely trying this. You are the master of smashed chickpea sandwiches – your first one is a hit on my pinterest account. PS: I’ve never tried pimento cheese!
You made me giggle, Geraldine! Never tried pimento cheeeese? I hope you’ll give this one a go. It’s pretty darn close and a good sub if you’re cutting back of dairy or are not eating any. So excited to hear my first is doing well on your pinterest account.. people love it! xo
Karen @ Seasonal Cravings
What a great idea! I love pimento cheese and ate is so much as a kid. I can’t wait to try this! Your photos are gorgeous as always!
Thaank you Karen! I know, practically bottle fed the stuff, right? LOL ! I hope you like it xo
Abby @ Heart of a Baker
Ohh pimento cheese is ALL over Wisconsin, so I’m super into this! I love that you took my favorite, a chickpea sandwich and added in even more good stuff! xo
It IS!? LOL – I didn’t know Abby! We’re twinning on the chickpea sandwich… it’s amazing!! I hope you like it! xo
Love this, I could live on chick peas…
OMGeee… me too Deb! I never tire of them. xo
Liz @ Floating Kitchen
Oh I love smashed chickpea sandwiches! And I’ve always been a little cautious of pimento cheese (lol – something about it just kind of weirds me out), so I’m totally excited about your vegan version. I gotta try this! Especially since it’s gotten the seal of approval from your mamma! Enjoy your weekend, Traci. Mwah!
Hooray! Me too Liz! So much versatility and so darn easy! Hehe.. cautious.. I totally get it! Me too. Just SO much cheese (not that I don’t like cheese) and when I was a kid, no one ever told me what a pimento was
. It’s got a unique flavor for sure, but I was so surprised at how it came through in this sandwich! I hope you like it Liz xo !
I found a Pimento plant in s nursery once, and bought it and grew pimentos, here in the Northwest! So they are doable, and taste like spicy-hot red peppers, so your recipe as usual is great and spot on. Looking forward to trying it this!
How about that, Greg! The farmer I purchase most of my produce from said the peppers that are flower shaped above, are pimentos (and he showed me in his seed book). But the pimentos Wikapedia speaks of are smaller. The pimentos from the farm taste like the ones in the original pimento cheese of my childhood. But I just don’t know! I hope you enjoy the recipe, never-the-less! :D
Hi Traci, what a lovely recipe and the beautiful pictures…Even I don’ t know the original I will give this one a try. Have all ingredients here (yay!), so I can make it tonight. Greetings! Chris
Thank you so much Christine! I hope you like it… it’s unique but those roasted bells win my heart every time! :D
The flavor profile of this recipe sounds delicious! Chickpea sandwiches are one of my favorite quick and easy meals, can’t wait to give this one a try!
Thank you Luci! I hope you like it! :D
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
You know my LOVE for pimento cheese Traci! This looks like one killer sandwich. That perfectly toasted bread, pickle, and chips on the side…my kind of lunch! Can’t wait to try this one!
I know you’re a fan, Mary Ann! I’m wondering how this one will stack up next to the real deal? It’s been SO long since I’ve had pimento cheese (not that I don’t like it.. but it was always *too much cheese), but the memory of its flavors never really go away. I hope you enjoy it!