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Looking for a way to use your canned chickpeas? Try our easy chipotle chickpea melts! Made with mashed chickpeas, chipotle peppers in adobo, vegan mayo and more all melted together between two toasty slices of bread.
I love a good chickpea salad
Chickpea salad is a huge staple in our house. Almost every grocery run, we end up making a round of chickpea salad sandwiches with dill, onion, celery, and more. One day I found myself short on a few ingredients to make my beloved chickpea salad sandwiches, so I decided to work with what I had in my pantry to develop these awesome chipotle chickpea melts.
With simple pantry ingredients like canned chickpeas, garlic powder, and chipotle peppers in adobo, chipotle chickpea melts are perfect for the end of grocery run meals or a simple lunch that requires minimal prep work.
A note on the vegan substitutions
Most of my recipes are light on the vegan substitutions to try to make them accessible to everyone regardless of lifestyle or location. These chipotle chickpea melts require three vegan substitutions, but hopefully, it doesn’t stop you from trying this recipe out.
The vegan products required for chipotle chickpea melts include vegan butter, mayo, and cheese. I use Earth Balance buttery sticks for my vegan butter substitution. If you can’t locate vegan butter, you can substitute it for olive oil or margarine no problem! For the vegan mayo, I use trusty Vegenaise. You can substitute another vegan mayo or use cashew cream instead (1:1 blended soaked cashews to water). Lastly, for the cheese, there isn’t really a good substitute here if you don’t like vegan cheese or cannot locate it. Worst case, you can omit it from the recipe if it’s not your jam.
What ingredients do I need to make chipotle chickpea melts?
Canned chickpeas: For this recipe, you’ll need two cans of chickpeas. You’ll need to drain and rinse the chickpeas well before pulsing in the food processor. Any brand will do. I typically buy organic chickpeas because I notice a slight difference in flavor and texture.
Canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce: A key ingredient in these chipotle chickpea melts is of course the chipotle peppers! If you’ve ever had chipotle peppers before, you’ll know they’re quite spicy and a little goes a long way. For this recipe, you’ll need four tablespoons of pulsed or finely minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
Bread: You can’t have a melt without the bread! I am a sucker for Dave’s Killer Bread and used their 21 Grains and Seeds variety for chipotle chickpea melts, but any kind of vegan bread will do.
Vegan cheese: While you can definitely make these sandwiches without the vegan cheese, I recommend splurging on a package of vegan cheese to get some nice cheesy goodness in your melt. The vegan cheese you see in the photo is Follow Your Heart American. I really like this cheese for the color, but my favorite one flavorwise is Follow Your Heart Smoked Gouda. Can’t get enough of it!
Vegan mayo: If you’ve read or made any of my other recipes, you’ll know I’m a big fan of Vegenaise. IMO it’s the most perfect mayo substitute and tastes better than real mayo. If its not your jam or you’re watching your oil, you can make a cashew cream by soaking cashews for at least 1 hour and then blending with water until the mixture is thick and creamy.
Red onion: Red onion adds a nice bite to the chipotle chickpea salad plus adds a nice crunchy texture. You will only need ¼ of the entire onion for this recipe.
Tomato: Tomatoes are a natural addition to this recipe. When I think chipotle peppers, I think salsa, and when I think salsa, I think tomatoes. For chipotle chickpea melts, you’ll need one roma tomato sliced into small pieces with the seeds removed.
Vegan butter: To make the bread nice and toasty, you’ll need some vegan butter. I use trusty Earth Balance buttery sticks but if you have margarine or another vegan butter variety that will work great. Worst case: olive oil or canola oil will work as well.
Garlic powder and sea salt: No crazy spices are required for this recipe since you get most of the flavor from the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, but for good measure, I added garlic powder and sea salt.
How to make chipotle chickpea melts
In order to make chipotle chickpea melts, you’ll need a few kitchen tools. First, if you have it, a food processor is a godsend. I use this for both pulsing the chickpeas and pureeing the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. If you don’t own a food processor, you can mash the chickpeas by hand with a potato masher or by using your hands. And for the chipotle peppers, you can finely mince the peppers with a knife and add them back to the adobo sauce.
Next, you’ll need a knife and a cutting board for cutting the onion and tomato. Then, you’ll need a strainer to run the chickpeas under water, and measuring cups and spoons. You’ll also need medium-sized mixing bowl and a silicone spatula to combine all of the chipotle chickpea salad ingredients together. And lastly, you’ll need a regular spatula and a cast-iron skillet with a covering to toast and melt the sandwiches.
To make the chipotle chickpea salad
Simply start by draining the chickpeas into a strainer and running them under cool water to drain out all of the aquafaba. Next, add the chickpeas to a food processor and pulse a few times until they are coarsely chopped. Then, add the chickpeas to a medium-sized bowl and set them aside.
Move along to the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Add the entire can to the food processor and run until the mixture is pureed or finely minced. You will only need four tablespoons of this mixture. Add that amount to the bowl, and store the excess in the refrigerator for other recipes.
Ok so now the chickpeas and chipotle peppers are ready to go. Next, finely chop the onion and roma tomato and add them to the bowl. Then measure out the vegan mayo, garlic powder, and salt and add them as well.
Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to mix the chipotle chickpea salad together until combined. If the mixture appears to be dry, add a splash of water or more vegan mayo to help hydrate.
Making the chipotle chickpea melts
Making the chipotle chickpea melts is pretty easy. Start by heating a skillet on low. Then, add a healthy serving of vegan butter to the outside of vegan bread. Then, add a heaping portion of chipotle chickpea salad to the inside of a bread slice and top with vegan cheese. Sandwich the entire thing together butter side out and carefully place on the skillet and cover. If your skillet is big enough you can work two sandwiches at a time.
The key to getting the vegan cheese to melt is to cover the skillet and cook the melts on low heat to slow down the toasting of the bread. Getting this to be perfect every time is actually really hard, so don’t be afraid to cheat a little. Sometimes I’ll microwave the chipotle chickpea salad to make sure it’s hot enough before adding it to the bread. Other times I’ll pop everything in the toaster oven for a few minutes to encourage more meltage. I find that everyone has their tricks here so if you have some, feel free to share them in the comments.
Once the first side is toasty, carefully flip the sandwich and cover again. Continue to cook the sandwich until the bread is nice and toasty and the cheese is hot and melty. Serve with tortilla chips, roasted potatoes, and more.
Substitution ideas and more
This chipotle chickpea melts recipe is just the beginning. There are a million ways to substitute out ingredients or serve this in ways other than a melt. Here are some ideas I have.
Make tacos: Use the chipotle chickpea salad as a base for tacos instead. Add a healthy layer of chipotle chickpea salad plus some lettuce and shredded vegan cheddar.
Sub green chiles: Chipotle peppers can be pretty spicy. For a more mild chickpea salad, consider substituting the chipotle peppers in adobo with a can of hatch green chiles.
Add cilantro: I tried to keep the ingredients to this recipe pretty simple, but if you happen to have some fresh cilantro lying around, I think it would taste great in these chipotle chickpea melts
Serve cold: Cut down on prep time by serving these chipotle chickpea melts as a cold sandwich instead.
Add more veggies: Make your chipotle chickpea melts with more veggies by adding chopped carrots, radishes, and more.
Chipotle chickpea salad salad: If you’re gluten free, add a hearty scoop of chipotle chickpea salad to a bed of greens and top with carrots, radishes, cabbage, and cashew chipotle ranch dressing.
Want more recipes?
If you liked these chipotle chickpea melts, you might like some of my other recipes! Check out these ones below
- Jackfruit grilled cheese
- Southwest salad with seasoned crispy tofu
- Chickpea salad sandwiches
- Oil-free instant pot refried beans
- Breakfast potatoes with soyrizo
- Chipotle corn pasta salad
In this segment, I suggest a song for you to listen to while you make chipotle chickpea melts! You can even stream it right here in your browser. Today’s recipe jam is Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You) by A Flock of Seagulls.
If you try this recipe, I want to hear about it! Feel free to post your creations to Instagram or Facebook and tag Hell Yes It’s Vegan or #hellyesitsvegan. I look forward to seeing what you make!
Easy Chipotle Chickpea Melts
- food processor
- cutting board
- measuring cup and spoons
- silicone spatula or wooden spoon
- metal spatula
- cast iron skillet with a cover
- 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- ½ cup vegan mayo, (I used Follow Your Heart Vegenaise)
- 1 roma tomato, (seeded and finely chopped)
- ¼ cup red onion, (finely chopped)
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 8 slices bread, (I used Daves Killer Bread 21 grains & seeds)
- 6 slices vegan cheese, (I used Follow Your Heart American slices)
- 4 Tbsp vegan butter, (I used Earth Balance buttery sticks)
Chipotle chickpea salad
- Drain and rinse chickpeas and add to food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped and add to medium-sized bowl.
- Add the can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to the food processor and puree. Add 4 Tbsp of the peppers to the bowl and reserve the rest for other recipes.
- Finely chop the onion and tomato and add to the bowl along with the vegan mayo, garlic powder, and salt.
- Stir to combine the chipotle chickpea salad together. If the mixture is too dry, add a splash of water or more vegan mayo. Add additional salt to taste if needed.
Making the melts
- Spread vegan butter across one side of all 8 slices of bread. Flip 4 slices butter side down and add a large amount of chipotle chickpea salad to each piece. Top with 1 ½ slices of vegan cheese and then add the remaining slice of bread butter side up.
- Bring a skillet to low heat. Carefully transfer 2 sandwiches to the skillet and cover. Cook for 5 minutes on one side and then flip and continue cooking for another 5 until the melt is nice and toasty. Repeat until you have all of the melts and serve with tortilla chips, roasted, potatoes, and more.
- If you can't get the vegan cheese to melt, try nuking the chipotle chickpea salad in the microwave before assembling the sandwich. It will help heat the cheese to ensure melting occurs. You can also try baking the sandwiches in a toaster oven instead at 300 degrees.