Chickpea Panini - This chickpea panini is for kids and grown-ups alike

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Chickpea Panini - This chickpea panini is for kids and grown-ups alike

When someone asks us for school lunch tips, we usually suggest they pick something that appeals to them as much as their kids.

After all, you are going to go to the trouble of preparing lunch for your son; I could also prepare it for you.

The trick is to find recipes that appeal to all tastes. This chickpea panini qualifies.

If you think a chickpea sandwich is off-limits for light eaters, I don't blame you. But chickpea hummus is so popular with kids that this sandwich isn't too chewy.

It was such a favorite of all three of my children that I included it in my first cookbook, Best Lunch Box Ever.

How to make a chickpea panini

The filling for this sandwich is a combination of chickpeas, grated carrots, lots of lemon juice, and soft goat cheese.

It is satisfying and flavorful and will keep for several days in the refrigerator.

It's all done in one bowl and it's no more complicated than making a tuna or chicken salad.

Here are some tips:

  • The first step is to mash the chickpeas, which only requires a fork to get the job done.
  • Use pre-shredded carrots to save time.
  • This makes a healthy lunch. Half a sandwich is likely to be enough for children and those with light appetites.

Exchanges and Substitutions

Any good lunchbox recipe is flexible, and this panini definitely is. Feel free to copy the recipe using any of the following ideas:

  • Use another crunchy vegetable instead of carrots, such as diced celery or fennel.
  • Replace the arugula with a few thinly sliced lettuce or cucumber leaves.
  • If you don't like goat cheese, use whipped cream.
  • A baguette sandwich can be a bite for younger children, so feel free to use slices of sourdough or whole wheat bread. The spread is also tasty placed on whole grain crackers as a snack.
  • Use cannellini beans instead of chickpeas.


You can make the filling in advance. Place in a covered container and store in the fridge, where it will be tasty for about 4 days.

I recommend making the sandwiches the same day you plan to eat them so the bread doesn't get soggy.

What else to take

While this sandwich is a nutritious lunch on its own, it's always fun to add a few other goodies into a lunch box, like:

  • A whole piece of fruit, a small bunch of grapes, or DIY Fruit Leather
  • Jicama, cherry tomato or carrot sticks with dipping sauce, like this Edamame Avocado or
  • Homemade Ranch
  • Something crunchy, like pretzels or toasted pumpkin seeds
  • A small container of dark chocolate chips or a granola bar
  • A bottle of water (Tip! Freeze the bottle overnight so it's cold by lunchtime.)


  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more for mounting
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for mounting
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 ounces soft goat cheese (chèvre)
  • 1 cup loosely grated carrots (from 1 medium carrot)
  • 1 loaf of bread (18 inches)
  • 1 1/2 cups lightly packed arugula
  • salt to taste


Make the chickpea filling:

Drain the chickpeas in a colander or colander and rinse under cold running water. Dry well.

Transfer to a medium bowl and add the lemon juice, olive oil, and ground cumin.

Use the back of a fork to press the chickpeas into a thick, thick puree.

Add cheese and carrots:

Crumble the goat cheese into the bowl, add the carrots and mix well.

Fill the baguettes:

Cut the baguette into 3 5- to 6-inch pieces.

If you have leftover bread, save it for another use.

Cut each piece in half lengthwise, but not completely; you want it to be connected along one edge so that you can open the baguette like a book.

Divide hummus among 3 pieces, spreading well.

Cover with arugula. Squeeze some lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt on top. Attend.

Leftovers are not good. I recommend making the sandwiches the same day you plan to eat them so the bread doesn't get soggy.

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