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This vegan tuna is an easy plant-based alternative to fish that’s ready in less than 20 minutes! Creamy chickpeas, crunchy vegetables, and egg-free mayo create a flavor and texture similar to canned tuna salad. Serve it in sandwiches, wraps, and more!

Vegan tuna.
Now that is a stacked vegan tuna sandwich

❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Healthy: Containing both plant-based fiber and protein, vegan chickpea tuna is healthy for all ages.
  • Versatile: Eat it out of the bowl, add it to salads, or stuff it into tuna melts. You can’t go wrong with this versatile recipe.
  • Customizable: Easily adapt vegan tuna to suit your needs. Mix in other vegetables, use more mayo, or add nori flakes to make it taste fishy.
  • Kid-friendly: This recipe is enjoyed by little ones and makes for great lunches at school. No more stinky fish!

If you love vegan tuna, you should really check out our vegan fish, vegan Spam, vegan fried chicken, or Ensenada fish tacos.

Vegan tuna.
Enjoy it on toast, wraps, or crackers

🐟 Wait, vegan tuna?

Vegan tuna is one of the first ever recipes we made when we decided to start eating a plant-based diet. The creamy, crunchy, and tangy elements make it a popular option for both vegans and omnivores alike!

There are a wide variety of ways to make it, but chickpeas are the most popular base ingredient (they’re also our favorite). In this recipe, we mix chickpeas, vegetables, and egg-free mayo together, then mash it until it reaches the consistency of tuna.

Serve it on toasted bread, add it to lettuce wraps, make a tuna melt, or spread it on top of crackers. If you’re someone who enjoys traditional tuna salad but could do without the fishiness, you’re going to love this version!

Pickles, celery, carrot, chickpeas, onion, vegan mayo, and mustard.
Fresh ingredients make a difference

🛒 Ingredients & substitutions

  • Chickpeas: We prefer the texture and flavor of chickpeas cooked from scratch (we just cook them in our Instant Pot). For more convenience, use canned chickpeas. Remember to drain them thoroughly before using them.
  • Carrots: Provides a subtle sweetness throughout the salad. Shred the carrots for the best texture.
  • Celery: For the ultimate crispy crunch that balances the creaminess of the chickpeas, don’t forget celery! If you don’t like celery, use more carrots or pickles, or add radishes, peppers, or cucumbers.
  • Dill pickles: The tang of dill pickles is such a classic flavor of tuna salad. We highly recommend baby garlic dill pickles.
  • Red onions: We prefer the sharp flavor and pop of color that red onions provide, but you can also use white or yellow onions.
  • Lemon juice: For brightness and a touch of acidity that prevents the salad from feeling overly heavy. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice over concentrate.
  • Vegan mayo: Use your favorite vegan variety such as Hellmann’s, Follow Your Heart, or Thrive Market. For a cheaper option, make your own from scratch!
  • Mustard: We prefer a mix of yellow mustard and Dijon, but you can use one or the other depending on your preferences.
  • Salt & pepper: Just a pinch of each to enhance the flavor of the salad.

For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.

📝 How to make vegan tuna

Step 1: Mash the chickpeas

Add cooked chickpeas to a food processor. Pulse a few times until you achieve a mashed consistency. If you don’t have a food processor, use a potato masher or a fork to achieve similar results.

Mashed Chickpeas In A Bowl.
Use a food processor or potato masher

Step 2: Add the mix-ins

Transfer the chickpeas into a large mixing bowl, then add the shredded carrots, celery, dill pickles, onions, lemon juice, mayo, mustard, Dijon, salt, and pepper.

Mashed chickpeas and vegetables.
This is the consistency you’re going for

Step 3: Taste and adjust seasonings

Combine the mixture well, then taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Happy eating!

Vegan tuna.
Add in the sauces and seasonings

If you have questions about this vegan chickpea tuna salad, check out our FAQs or leave a comment down below!

🥪 How to use vegan tuna

There are so many options when it comes to serving vegan chickpea tuna. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Sandwiches: Grab a few slices of dairy-free bread or sourdough and make a sandwich or tuna melt.
  • Salads: Add vegan tuna to a bed of lettuce for a loaded salad.
  • Crackers: Spread some over crackers or rye crisps for a quick and healthy snack or appetizer.
  • Wraps: Grab a flour tortilla and make a tuna wrap.
  • Vegetables: Use your vegan tuna salad as a dip for veggies. Some of our favorites include carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, celery, radishes, jicama, etc.

🌡️ Storage

For any leftover vegan chickpea tuna, just follow these simple storage tips:

  • Fridge: Keep leftovers in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Give it a stir before serving it again and it will taste just as good as before.
  • Freezer: For anything longer than a few days, transfer vegan tuna to a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze it for up to 3 months.
  • Thaw: When you’re ready to eat it again, thaw some in the fridge overnight and it will be ready in the morning. Again, just give it a thorough stir before serving.
Vegan chickpea tuna salad.
Enjoy vegan tuna for lunches all week long!

♻️ Variations

  • Mayo-free: Instead of mayo, try hummus, dairy-free sour cream, tahini, vegan pesto, or mashed avocado.
  • Curried: Add curry powder, dried fruits (like raisins or dates), cashews, and minced garlic to make a curried chickpea salad.
  • Different beans: Instead of chickpeas, swap in other legumes like Lima beans, Cannellini beans, or Navy beans.
  • Omegas: For the omega-3 benefit of tuna, throw in a few tablespoons of chia seeds or hemp hearts. Plus, they add a unique textural component!
  • Fishy flavor: If you miss the fishy flavor of traditional recipes, blend up some nori sheets and add the flakes to the mix.

🧑‍🍳 Top tips

  • Shred the carrots: For an even distribution of flavors, we recommend shredding the carrots rather than cutting them.
  • Use fresh chickpeas: It’s best to cook the chickpeas from scratch as it will yield the creamiest texture and buttery flavor.
  • Mash first: Mash the chickpeas before adding the vegetables so you can more easily achieve the right texture.

💬 FAQ

Is plant-based tuna healthy?

Yes, plant-based tuna provides similar health benefits as a can of tuna. However, it contains more fiber and carries no risk of mercury exposure.

Is vegan tuna gluten-free?

Yes, vegan tuna is completely gluten-free.

What is vegan tuna made from?

This recipe for vegan tuna is made from chickpeas. Other options to emulate fish are hearts of palm, TVP, or jackfruit.

🍴 More meat alternatives

If you enjoyed this vegan tuna recipe, be sure to check out some more dishes like the following:

Vegan tuna salad on bread.

Best Vegan Tuna

Mitch and Justine
This vegan tuna is an easy alternative to fish that’s ready in less than 20 minutes! Creamy chickpeas, crunchy veggies, and egg-free mayo create a flavor and texture similar to canned tuna salad.
5 from 56 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American, Gluten-Free, Vegan
Servings 4 servings
Calories 227 kcal

Equipment

  • Food processor
  • Potato masher
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Spatula

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 small carrot, shredded
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 2-3 small dill pickles, finely diced
  • ¼ cup red onions, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons vegan mayo
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • ½ tablespoon dijon
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Add cooked chickpeas to a food processor. Pulse a few times until you achieve a mashed consistency. If you don’t have a food processor, use a potato masher or a fork to achieve similar results.
  • Transfer the chickpeas into a large mixing bowl, then add the shredded carrots, celery, dill pickles, onions, lemon juice, mayo, mustard, Dijon, salt, and pepper.
  • Combine the mixture well, then taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve on toast, wraps, lettuce wraps, crackers, etc. Happy eating!

Notes

  • Shred the carrots: For an even distribution of flavors, we recommend shredding the carrots rather than cutting them.
  • Use fresh chickpeas: It’s best to cook the chickpeas from scratch as it will yield the creamiest texture and buttery flavor.
  • Mash first: Mash the chickpeas before adding the vegetables so you can more easily achieve the right texture.
  • Nutritional information is a rough estimate and should not be taken as health advice.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servings | Calories: 227kcal | Carbohydrates: 22.1g | Protein: 4.3g | Fat: 11.9g | Saturated Fat: 0.9g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 200mg | Potassium: 346.5mg | Fiber: 6.8g | Sugar: 3.4g | Vitamin A: 3390IU | Vitamin C: 5.4mg | Calcium: 190mg | Iron: 0.72mg
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Note: We’ve updated this post to include new information and helpful tips about the recipe.

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Recipe Rating




4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My partner is vegetarian so I’ve been eating more meatless meals since we started dating, simply because it was more convenient to cook one meal and I’d been wanting to try incorporating more veggies anyway. Now that we live together, it’s a little trickier so in my hunt for easy and tasty I found this. We did deviate a little based on what we had in our kitchen so it’s great on its own, super easy to modify; sweet and sour pickles for dill, and re-hydrated cranberries for a sweet kick. This is something we both see as becoming a staple in our household. The hardest part was waiting since we did the chickpeas from scratch, but after that, it came together in literal minutes. Consider this site bookmarked! <3

    1. That is amazing to hear! We love that you are incorporating more plant-based meals into your life. These variations sound delicious (we will have to try them out!). Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment. Let us know if you have any questions!

  2. I had to improvise a little cause I didn’t have all the ingredients. Added pickled red onions and some chopped bread and butter pickles. Served on toasted sourdough and fresh tomatoes for breakfast. So yummy.

  3. A great variation of a fantastic and nutritional meal! I added sunflower seeds to mine for some extra crunch and served in a large leaf of green lettuce with avocado!