This is a great time of year for sandwiches and wraps. They’re quick and easy, which means that they free up time for me to take a walk on my lunch break, rather than staying in and fussing over my lunch. They don’t demand an oven, a stovetop, or any other heat source, which is attractive in a New York City August. And they’re portable, so I can carry them with me if I’m working outside of the home. I can even make the most of my lunch hour and take a sandwich or a lunch wrap to the park near my apartment, getting a taste of green space and some nourishment at the same time.
When I was in grad school, my go-to sandwiches were one of the following:
1. Hummus and veggies
2. Tempeh and avocado
3. Vegan deli meats and veggies
They’re all great. They did, after three straight years, become a little boring.
Now that I can prepare a sandwich or a wrap from home, albeit with the desire not to spend too much time on lunch, I’m trying to experiment with slightly more creative options. This vegan chickpea Caesar wrap is my latest favorite.
The wrap uses a slightly simplified version of the Caesar dressing from Power Plates. I sometimes double the amount I make so that I can also have some nearby for sandwiches and bowls, because it’s so good: creamy, savory, with a little umami. It’s cashew based, and I throw in some capers and nutritional yeast for authentic flavor.
Making the dressing is actually the most time-consuming part of making this wrap, so if you’re really in a hurry, you could use a store-bought vegan Caesar instead (Follow Your Heart and Daiya both make them).
Once the dressing is ready, the wrap is as simple as throwing chickpeas, greens, and a few more capers together and wrapping it all up. I like to use a combination of Tuscan kale and romaine for texture contrast, and sometimes I’ll throw in some extras, like grape tomatoes or vegan bacon (tempeh and seitan bacon are especially nice because they add protein to the meal, but shiitake bacon is also delicious).
You can chop all of the greens up well with your chef’s knife, of course: that’s how I usually do it. If my food processor happens to be out because I’ve been making hummus or something, I often pulse all of the filling ingredients together. It’s ridiculously fast, and I like how well chopped everything gets (it’s a handy trick for stuffing pita pockets with veggies, too).
I’m listing the recipe to serve two, because I rarely prepare this kind of meal more than two servings at a time, and the filling will only keep about two days in the fridge once it’s mixed. But if you’re prepping lunch for a bunch, you can of course double the quantities. Here’s the recipe.
For the vegan cashew Caesar dressing
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours and drained
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
For the wraps
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 3 cups roughly chopped romaine lettuce
- 2 cups Tuscan (lacinato) kale, washed, stemmed, and torn into strips or pieces
- 1 tablespoon capers, mostly drained (a little of the liquid is fine)
- 2 large, whole wheat or regular wraps (I recommend at least 8-10" diameter for easy wrapping!)
- optional additions: cherry tomatoes, 1/4 cup chopped vegan bacon, a handful of chopped, sun-dried tomatoes, or additional veggies of choice
First, prepare the dressing by adding all of the dressing ingredients to a powerful speed blender or food processor. Blend or process till smooth (1-2 minutes). You should have a scant cup dressing; you won't need all of it for two wraps. Dressing will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Chop the greens well with a chef's knife (or pulse them in the food processor to make chopping fast). Throw them in a bowl. Add the chickpeas, capers, and anything else you'd like to add to the wrap, along with 1/4-1/3 cup of the dressing. Mix well.
Divide the filling along the center of two wraps (or save half for tomorrow). The filling should be arranged vertically. Tuck the top and bottom over the filling, then cover it with the right side of the wrap. Tuck the wrap over the filling well, then roll it up from right to left. Slice in half and serve.
Don’t have any chickpeas at home? White beans of any kind (cannellini, navy, Great Northern) will also work really well in the wraps. And at some point I’d like to try replacing the beans with chopped vegan chick’n (like my chick’n style soy curls).
As I continue to ease back into a steady work routine and study for my exam, I love having lunches that give me something to look forward to without demanding too much of my time. This one is perfect, and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.