This Vegan Chickpea Tuna Salad Recipe is a close vegan replacement to actual tuna salad. It’s tangy, thick and makes a delicious and healthy sandwich.
I give this vegan chickpea tuna salad recipe an 8/10 in the “fooling someone” category and a 9.5/10 on the flavor matching. It tastes ridiculously close to the real thing.
My husband, who can reach for a real tuna fish salad sandwich whenever he’d like to, says it’s a 10/10 on flavor matching. So you be the judge! I just wanted to be super honest that it’s really, really close.
Why This Recipe Works
It helps with cravings – If you eat vegan or vegetarian but you crave tuna, this is a wonderful alternative. It will totally take care of your cravings!
You can throw it together fast – There aren’t any long, complex steps to making this recipe.
It’s low in calories – Each serving is 141 calories! It’s super filling and you will enjoy every single crumb.
Just because you’re eating vegan, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a good old fashioned tuna salad sandwich. The best part is there’s no actual tuna in this recipe at all. Let’s talk a little bit more detail about some of the main ingredients.
Chickpeas: You will need both the cans of chickpeas as well as the chickpea liquid for this tuna salad. So, make sure not to drain the fluid and accidentally toss it out because you will need it later.
Vegetables: You need a combination of bell peppers, celery, red onions, and a little drizzle or two of dill pickle juice. Pickle juice isn’t technically a vegetable, but it sure adds to the flavor of this sandwich mix.
Vegan Mayo: Pick up vegan Mayo at any of your local grocery stores. You can easily order it online if that works better for you. Using vegan Mayo makes this recipe even more delicious than if you were to use regular mayonnaise.
Step One: Begin by draining the can of chickpeas into a bowl and add back in 1/4 cup of the liquid. Put the chickpeas and liquid in a large bowl.
Step Two: Get out a potato masher and mash the chickpeas. I mashed them twice to get a finer texture.
Step Three: Add the bell pepper, celery, onion, dill pickle juice, lemon juice, vegan mayonnaise, spicy mustard, dill, salt, and pepper.
Step Four: Toast a piece of bread, add lettuce and a tomato slice, and spread the salad mix on it. Add another piece of bread and enjoy it!
🥘 Meal Prep
Prepare this tuna salad ahead of time so you can eat it as part of your meal plan. It will last 3-4 days when kept refrigerated.
📌 Expert Tips
- Skip the bell pepper and celery without it affecting the flavor too much, those are mainly for the crunch.
- Don’t skip the red onion. It’s very important to make a convincing “tuna salad” flavor.
- If making this a day or more ahead, add a little more mayo the day of serving just to mellow out the flavors a bit since the flavors intensify as the salad sits.
- The skin separates from the chickpeas. That helps produce a texture similar to an actual tuna fish salad. The hand mashing takes a few minutes but is definitely worth the effort to mash them well so you get the right texture.
Honestly, this salad mix is so yummy that I can eat it with a spoon and never think twice about it. Sometimes I feel like changing up the ingredients, so I wanted to share those with you.
- Lettuce Wrap – Skip the bread and use large pieces of lettuce instead. Fold it up like you would a burrito and dig in. It’s a nice little added crunch, tastes excellent and saves some carbs.
- Capers – If you want a big bang for your buck, toss in a tablespoon or two of capers. They will add some zip that’s amazing!
- Tomatoes – Chop up some cherry or grape tomatoes and add to the mixture. Or just lay a slice of tomato on your sandwich. It’s a great way to add more nutrients and flavor.
- Cucumber – Dice up a cucumber (removing the seeds) and toss it into the chickpea tuna salad mixture. It’s mind blowing good!
- Pickle – Cut up a dill pickle and mix in the tuna salad. My recipe already has pickle juice and dill weed, so it makes sense to stick an actual pickle in there too.
- Seeds – Add in some sunflower seeds for some extra crunchy goodness or sprinkle them on top right before serving.
- Avocado – If you don’t have access to vegan mayo, no problem! Swap it out with mashed avocado instead. It’s creamy, smooth, and a complement to the other ingredients.
Keep in mind if you add in or omit any of the ingredients, the nutritional information will be different.
Vegan chickpea tuna salad is my spin on a traditional tuna salad, but with vegan ingredients. It is made with chickpeas instead of tuna and compliant alternatives for mayonnaise as well.
While I will still have tuna here and there, I wanted a much lower cost version too. So, with my quest for more meatless meals, this salad mix was born. And boy oh boy, am I glad it was. It’s packed with flavor and really has a texture similar to actual tuna.
You’ll be happy to know that chickpeas are loaded with lots of good-for-you nutrients that your body needs. It has iron, protein, folate, copper, phosphorus, and manganese. Plus, studies show that they are ideal for keeping you full longer.
Yes, canned chickpeas have already been cooked, so they are completely safe to eat right out of the can. They do not need to be cooked or even warmed up.
Refrigerate the leftovers when you are done with it. Keep it in a container that has a tight fitting lid. It will last 3-4 days in the fridge and, in some cases, even longer. Thankfully, you can whip up a new batch in minutes.
Tried this recipe? Please leave a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. You can also stay in touch with me through social media by following me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook!
Vegan Chickpea Tuna Salad
- 2 cans Chickpeas 15 oz cans
- ¼ cup Chickpea Liquid reserved from can
- ½ Orange or Red Bell Pepper thinly diced
- 1 Individual Stalk Celery thinly diced
- ¼ cup Red Onion chopped
- 2 tbsp Dill Pickle Juice
- 3 tbsp Lemon Juice fresh squeezed
- ¼ cup Vegan Mayonnaise
- 1 tsp Spicy Brown Mustard
- ½ tsp. Dill Weed
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Lettuce of choice for serving, optional
- Sandwich Bread for serving, optional
- Sliced Tomato for serving, optional
- Drain chickpeas but reserve 1/4 cup liquid from can. Add chickpeas and reserved liquid to a large bowl.
- Mash with a potato masher, pressing firmly and using a rocking motion to mash chickpeas. Then use a fork to mash chickpeas more finely.Tip: This step can take about 8 minutes to get a good mash. It's worth taking the extra time to make sure the chickpeas are mashed thoroughly. The skins separating from the mashed chickpeas is what gives it a "tuna fish" type of texture.
- Once mashed, add all other ingredients and mix well. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- Optional: Lightly toast bread. Place enough lettuce to cover a slice of bread. Smear a portion of chickpea tuna salad over lettuce. Top with bread.