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‘CHICKPEA OF THE SEA’ TUNA SALAD SANDWICH

Chickpea Tuna Salad – This classic vegan ‘tuna’ salad is the BEST and so easy to make! It’s a fan-favorite that’s loved by all types of eaters!

head on view of vegan chickpea tuna salad.

This ‘Chickpea of the Sea’ Vegan Tuna Salad Sandwich is easy, healthy, delicious and sustainable!

Of course, it’s not going to taste exactly like tuna, but it will give you the mouth feel and fullness that its predecessor, the ‘tuna salad’ sandwich, gave you. Add some nori sheets or flakes to add more of a sea flavor.

This is a wonderful simple mock vegan ‘tuna’ salad that can be served many ways!

  • It’s great alone.
  • Served on whole-grain artisan bread for a hearty sandwich.
  • Add a scoop on top of a bed of leafy greens with a squeeze of lemon.
  • Scoop it up with crackers or pita chips.
  • To add freshness, cut bell pepper strips or cucumber slices, they make great scoopers.
  • Pairs well with fresh fruit too!

I have been enjoying trying all these different foods and sharing them here in hopes to inspire others looking to make changes seeking new inspiration. I find it’s not difficult eating a plant based diet, in fact – it’s a joy!

Simple recipes like this I never tire of and I hope you like this easy, vegan chickpea tuna salad as much as I did!

top down view of ingredients used to make vegan chickpea tuna salad.

Ingredients + Substitutions

Here is everything you’ll need to make the best chickpea tuna salad. Includes optional add-ins as well.

  • Chickpeas – canned or fresh cooked
  • Onion – use red or green (scallions) both work great
  • Celery – adds a nice texture, but can be optional
  • Vegan Mayo – this will be the binder, can sub with thinned hummus as well
  • Salt + Garlic Powder – salt brings out the flavors and garlic powder is a flavor booster
  • Nori Sheets – an optional way to add ‘sea flavor’
  • Chia Seeds – will add a dose of heart healthy omega’s that’s also found in tuna

top down view showing the process of mashing chickpeas with items surrounding.

How Do You Make Vegan Chickpea Tuna Salad?

  • Roughly mash the chickpeas, about 3/4 of them is good, with the back of a fork or potato masher. Mashing the chickpeas helps hold the salad together, once the binder is added and ingredients are all mixed it will be a nice thick mixture.

top down view of ingredients added to mashed chickpeas with squeeze of lemon being added.

  • Next, add the celery, onion, garlic powder, vegan mayo (or hummus mix), lemon juice, salt and pepper, and mix well. Adding any extra ingredients you like, to taste. Alternatively, you could use a food processor starting with the beans, pulse a few times, add remaining ingredients, pulsing again a few times until desired consistency.

And that’s all it takes to make this delicious recipe. It’s healthy, versatile, quick, easy and delicious!

This vegan chickpea tuna salad sandwich is my kind of wonderful!

Top Tips

  • Change up the binder. I love using thinned plain hummus in place of vegan mayo. If using store bought hummus that is thick, add a couple heaping tablespoons of the hummus in a small bowl and whisk in 1 tablespoon water at a time until desired thinness. It works perfectly!
  • Add a sea flavor. Try adding a little seaweed, such as a sprinkle of dulse flakes or crushed nori sheet, to the mix for a taste of the sea.
  • Add heart-healthy omegas. Tuna is full of omega’s, add 1 tablespoon or so of hemp hearts or chia seeds to the no-tuna mix for added nutrients.
  • Recipe can easily be doubled. Recipe shown is a double batch. Feel free to double up, you’ll be glad to have leftovers.

top down view of bowl with freshly made vegan chickpea tuna salad.

How To Store + Meal Prep

  • Refrigerator: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, in a covered container. Stir well before using.
  • Meal prep: For meal prep, make the salad as directed and store in the refrigerator. Meal prep with leafy greens, or make sandwiches or wraps.

head on view of two halves of vegan chickpea tuna salad stacked.

Serving Suggestions

This vegan tuna salad is versatile and can be served as is or used as a filler. Here are a few of my favorite options:

  • Salad: Serve with leafy greens as a salad.
  • Wraps: It’s great for making tortilla wraps, tucking into pita bread or made into lettuce wraps.
  • Sandwiches: It’s perfect as a sandwich filler or served as an open-faced sandwich.
  • Crackers: Scoop up with a variety of crackers, pita chips, or rye crisps.
  • Veggie sticks: It’s delicious with fresh veggies sticks for scooping. Use red bell pepper, celery or carrots, cucumber, zucchini, etc.

More Easy Chickpea Salads

Because you can never have too many variations of creamy mashed chickpea salads, try these other wonderful recipes. You may just find a new favorite for the meal rotation!

top down view of healthy vegan chickpea tuna salad wraps on a plate.

If you try this vegan tuna salad recipe, please let us know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.

Print

‘CHICKPEA OF THE SEA’ TUNA SALAD SANDWICH

This is a great mock ‘tuna’ salad sandwich using chickpeas. Alternately, serve this as lettuce wraps or use sliced vegetables like bell pepper and cucumber as scoopers.

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 10 min
  • Yield: Serves 3
  • Category: Salad, Entree
  • Method: mix
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 can (14 oz) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • juice of 1/2 lemon + some zest if you like
  • 1/41/3 cup of vegan mayo (or 3 – 4 tablespoons hummus or white bean hummus + 23 tablespoons water)
  • 1/4 cup celery (about 2 small stalks, leaves ok too), chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion (about 1/2 small), chopped
  • 1/41/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • himalayan salt & cracked pepper, to taste
  • dash of cayenne, optional

Other optional ingredients:

  • crushed nori sheets or dulse (seaweed)
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds or hemp hearts for some omega 3 & 6
  • sweet or dill pickle relish

To Serve

  • 6 slices whole grain, sprouted whole grain flourless or artisan bread, to serve
  • leafy greens, to serve
  • nori sheets, to serve (optional)
  • pickles, optional

Instructions

Mash chickpeas: Drain and rinse chickpeas, place in medium size bowl and roughly mash about 3/4 of the chickpeas with the back of a fork or potato masher, until desired consistency.

Assemble salad: Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well, adding any extra ingredients you like. Alternatively, you can use a food processor starting with the beans, pulse a few times, add remaining ingredients pulsing again a few times until desired consistency.

Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Ways to serve:

  • Serve on bread of choice, along with some leafy greens and the optional 1/4 sheet of nori.
  • You can also serve on bibb or romaine lettuce like a wrap, instead of using bread, for a gluten-free meal like shown below.
  • Try serving with sliced fresh scoopable veggies like cucumber, red bell peppers, zucchini, etc.
  • Lastly, pair with your favorite crackers.

Salad serves 3 generously.

Store: Leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 – 6 days. Stir before serving.

Notes

If using store bought hummus that is thick, take a couple heaping tablespoons of the hummus in a small bowl and add 1 tablespoon water at a time to thin to desired consistency making for a really nice, creamy binder. And if using the hummus recipe link in the ingredient list, omit the cumin.

The chickpea of the sea salad is great on leafy greens as a wrap (pictured below). Cool and crunchy!

Nutrition facts is for the salad only (bread not included). Using the right bread may add another 10 grams of protein. Not too bad for a vegan sandwich!

Updated: Vegan Chickpea Tuna Salad Sandwich was originally published in September 2012. It has been retested and updated with new photos in July 2020.

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chickpea of the sea salad sandwich

115 Comments

  1. I’ve been vegetarian for a few years now and trying to find a good tuna replacement. This recipe Is the one! Wow so quick and easy to make yet so delicious! My new favourite sandwich/baked potato filler! I did it without the nori as didn’t want too much of a ‘fishy’ taste and it was so nice! 10/10

  2. Debra McFadden says:

    I make this using organic kelp powder in place of the Nori to get that taste of the sea. Delicious, either way. Thank you.

  3. Christina says:

    This was delicious! It actually reminds me more of an egg salad sandwich than tuna salad (but I admit, I did not put in the nori because I enjoyed the taste so much before I got to that part and didn’t want to hinder it…so maybe that will play a part in the tuna type taste if that’s what you’re looking for). Whatever the case. It was a really delicious sandwich! Thank you! :)

    For reference, I used:
    Stop & shop brand chickpeas, Ithica brand original hummus, Daves Bread brand thin sliced whole grains & seeds. Used a couple of leaves of lettuce from my garden for a little crunch. Omitted the nori, salt/pepper & cayenne pepper.

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Thanks for sharing, Christina! I agree it very much reminds me of an egg salad sandwich too. It’s so versatile to be used as both. So glad you enjoyed it, and your tips on what you used are very appreciated! :)

  4. Sue Anstey says:

    This was divine. I didnt have lemon so I left that out but added some garlic spinach hummus with some water as well as a pesto vegan mayo. Put on a GF wrap with some leftover curry sauce and topped with kale. Amazing!

  5. delicious! I added a generous squeeze of dijon mustard and used sweet pickle relish and crumbled roasted seaweed (the snack pack kind).

  6. I just made this & it will be one of my future ‘go tos!’ So fresh & flavorful! An easy, yummy recipe!

  7. My family LOVED this – even my mom who tries to be vegan-friendly (but often falls short). I stuffed this into avocado halves, which made this especially decadent and dreamy.

    Nori sheets can get gummy when wet, so I subbed kelp granules instead and they really did the trick. I recommend them! I also added just a pinch of onion powder along with the garlic. They are just so good together.

    I will be making this again. Thank you so much!

  8. Delicious!! Ive been vegan for several years & have really missed tuna on toast. I used hellmans vegan mayo, 3 heaping spoons of pickle relish, few shakes of old bay. OMG…its so good.

  9. Used a seaweed, lemon & salt mill as well to season, vegan chipotle mayonnaise and pickles. Amazing!! 💕 thank you.

    1. Delicious! I’ve tried a few recipes and this is, by far, my favorite! Used all ingredients except the chia seeds, vegan mayo for binder and sweet relish, not dill. VERY reminiscent of tuna sandwiches from my youth. Thank you!!

  10. This was amazing! I used kelp flakes instead of nori and added some minced dill pickle. Thanks for this tasty- and easy- recipe!

    1. M.Yucelen says:

      So fresh and healty. One of the best vegan recipie blog. Practical and delicious… I’ll definately try to cook. Thanks a lot!

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