A twist on a classic – Smashed Pimento Chickpea Sandwich is hearty, flavor-packed and oh so easy. Smash it up in five minutes flat (with a little advance prep)! vegan + gluten free
Y’all know the sandwich.
The classic pimento cheese.
It’s big in Texas, at least where I grew up and is familiar as apple pie…
and big hair.
I think this is the orangest thing I’ve ever photographed – okay, save pumpkin.
Since making my first smash-up, Smashed Chickpea Salad Sandwich, then following it up with Smashed Chickpea Salad with Pecans and Grapes, I knew I wanted to create a new favorite inspired by an old recipe.
Although I started making this recipe last summer, my Ma was recently here from Texas and 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 (not true pimentos, but work well because their taste is similar and they’re widely available) from the farm and some good mayo, I’m completely smitten.
I even impressed my pimento cheese hoarding Ma who lovingly hesitated and looked at me as if I’d lost it. Whaaa… no cheese?
This spread comes together with ease. First, char red bell peppers under the broiler 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 10 minutes on a gas range and about 20 minutes under the broiler.
Once charred, place the peppers in a bowl and cover for about 10 minutes. This will help the charred skin release with ease. While the peppers sweat it out in the bowl, mash up the remaining ingredients. Peel the peppers and give em’ a good chop. Then, fold the peppers into the chickpea mixture.
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’ve used them in a pinch. Also, bell peppers can be roasted ahead of when needed, at least two days. They freeze beautifully too!
Use this scrumptious spread for game day eats, tailgating or picnics, on crackers, celery, finger sandwiches, in a lettuce wrap, or simply on toasted or grilled sourdough.
Smashed Pimento Chickpea Sandwich
A twist on a classic - Smashed Pimento Chickpea Sandwich is hearty, flavor-packed and oh so easy. Smash it up in five minutes flat (with a little advance prep)! vegan + gluten free
- 2 C (348g) Chickpeas already cooked, drained and rinsed (one can)
- 1 Tbs Onion minced
- 1/2 Lemon juiced
- 2 Tbs Nutritional Yeast
- 1 tsp Fine Sea Salt
- 1/4 tsp Cane Sugar (optional or to taste as mayo brands vary in their sweetness)
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 3-4 Tbs Mayonaise I use Just Mayo
- 2 Roasted Red Bell Peppers* patted dry and diced small. See notes for roasting or purchasing
- Fresh Ground Pepper
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 and add a few grinds of fresh pepper. 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.
Two Ways to Char/Blister those Bell Peppers: 1. Gas Stove Top: set the peppers on a medium open stove top flame turning as needed until all the skin is blistered/charred, about 10 minutes. 2. In the Oven: set oven rack to top and heat oven to broiling. Cut the peppers in half and turn flesh side down on an unlined sheet pan. Broil for about 15-20 minutes or until blistered/charred.
Once blistered set the peppers in a covered bowl to sweat for about 10 minutes. This will allow the skin to be removed easily. Once cool, peel, remove the stem and seeds. Holding the pepper under a bit of running water helps release the seeds and skin. Pat dry. Use as needed in the recipe or for longer storage place on a sheet pan and freeze (this will keep them in whole form/shape without sticking to other frozen peppers). Transfer to a lidded container and store in the freezer.
Time Saving Tip: Find whole roasted red bell peppers packed in water (not oil), in jars.
Spice it Up!: Traditionally, pimento cheese has a few drops of Tabasco and/or worcestershire added to the mix. I've not tried it in this recipe, but would love to hear if you do give it a go!