Vegan Tuna Salad

This Vegan Tuna Salad Sandwich makes a vegan twist on a popular, yet fishy kind of sandwich. Just another example of how you can be vegan and enjoy a variety of tasty dishes!

Vegan Tuna Salad makes for a delicious summer meal.

I never was a fan of tuna salad. In fact, I never liked fish much at all. It was just too…fishy.

Comedian Jim Gaffigan makes a hilarious point about eating fish. Here’s an excerpt from his show, Beyond the Pale:

How can you tell when fish goes bad? It smells like fish either way! “Well, this smells like a dumpster…let’s eat it!” No one really likes fish, they just won’t admit it. It’s like, “I like fish just as long as it doesn’t taste like fish.” I’ve got news for you. I don’t think you like fish. I’m almost positive that fish…is supposed to taste like fish. Actually, do you know what’s really good on fish? Anything that kills that taste of fish. How about relish and a gallon of mayo…that’ll do the job. What if we squeeze a little lemon, wrap it in seaweed and cover it in soy sauce!

Thanks, Jim, I’m glad to finally realize I’m not the only one who doesn’t like fish. So sure, this means fish was easy for me to give up, but not only because I don’t like the taste of it. Commercial fishing is such an environmentally destructive activity. Some scientists estimate over 1,000 sea mammals are killed every day as a result of commercial fishing.

Now I’ve found a way to have a “Tuna” salad sandwich without that gross fishy taste and without the heavy ecological toll on the ocean. What’s the secret? The unpretentious chickpea. I first saw the recipe for Tunaless Salad on the VegNews site posted by my friend, Allison Rivers Samson. I was a bit skeptical at first, but was soon enjoying my first of many tasty Vegan Tuna Salad sandwiches.

Here's another entry in my list of 101 Things to do with Chickpeas: Tunaless Salad Sandwiches!

I’ve made a few changes to that recipe, including finding a way to eat a gluten-free version — by spreading it between two slices of lettuce.

A gluten-free version of the Vegan Tuna Salad Sandwich.

I’m embarrassed to tell you how often I have this sandwich, but it’s just so easy to put together and so incredibly satisfying. It’s my new summer staple dish, especially for lunch. Interestingly enough, it has the same color, the same, look, and even a similar texture to a tuna salad sandwich, but (thank goodness) the vegan version comes sans the fishy taste!

Enjoy this Vegan Tuna Salad for lunch or for dinner as a nice, healthy alternative to its fishy alternative.

Vegan Tuna Salad


  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons sweet white miso paste (Miso Master is my favorite and is sold at our local grocer)
  • ½ cup vegan mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup green onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup red (or green) bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup sweet pickle, finely chopped (relish works here too)
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • fresh tomato slices (optional)


In a medium storage-ready bowl, mash the chickpeas with a fork. You don’t need them all completely mashed, but mostly.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the mustard, mayo and miso paste and stir together until well combined. Add the remaining ingredients to the mayo mix and stir well.

Combine the mayo mix to the mashed chickpeas and stir until everything is all meshed together nicely. You can place the lid on your container and let the Vegan Tuna Salad ingredients sit together for awhile, or feel free to dive right in.

Spread the salad on one slice of bread (toasted or not) and top with lettuce and sliced tomato. Or if you’re like me and looking for a gluten-free way to eat it, take that lettuce leaf and use it like a slice of bread. It can be a bit messy, but still tastes great!

Posted 3 years ago by Marly on Friday, July 8th, 2011 · Permalink

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21 Responses to Vegan Tuna Salad

  1. I used to buy these sandwiches all the time from the health food store and adored them. I never knew how they were made though, thank you!

  2. I know first hand this is good! I think I will make it tomorrow. I just need Sterzings!!!

  3. Oh my, this looks scrumptious Marly!

  4. I am a fish lover but I’m not Necessarily a lover of mayo – or at least too much of it; all that to say I’m always looking for ways to make meat substitutions so am willing to give Sammie a shot since I am a fan of chickpeas – LOL on the comedian schtick!!

    • Oh, Debra, you should watch his whole show! He had us in tears he’s so funny!

  5. Here’s my predicament. I absolutely love fish. The smell, the texture, that fantastic taste of the ocean. But I don’t eat it because I’m not evil. I guess what I’m trying to ask is… how can I make it fishy without the fish?

  6. Wow, I never knew vegan tuna was possible. Amazing!

  7. I’ve seen chickpeas used in vegan “tuna” sandwiches before but never had a recipe and now I can’t wait to try it. Love all the flavors in your sandwich from all the veggies :D

  8. Well I know what we are having for lunch. This looks and sounds so good! I hate the fishy smell that comes along with tuna sandwiches, so I’m excited to give this a try! Thank you for sharing this with me today. I hope you have a blessed week with good food, laughter and love. Hugs from Austin!

  9. i love the simplicity of this recipe! i’ve been experimenting with vegan tuna recipes for a bit now and am excited to try this one!bookmarked it with my account to experiment( ). :)

  10. I will give this a try when I get hold of some sweet miso. I make a vegan tuna sandwich from tinned braised tofu mixed with toasted crumbled nori, which is pretty nice.

  11. I love fish but not tuna sandwiches! But I love chickpeas! You found a great way to overcome the fishy smell :)
    Hope you are doing great, Marly!

  12. Marly,
    What a tasty vegan tuna salad recipe, without the fishy smell!

  13. Hi,

    These were amazing. I made them for my wife and son and they loved them. I put it on toasted squaw bread and topped it with some finely sliced peperoncinis.

    Have you ever put capers in there or used dill pickles instead?

    Thank you so much.

    • I have not tried using capers or dill pickles. My family doesn’t like either, but I do! In fact, the original recipe called for dill pickles, I just happen to like the sweet a little bit more. Maybe because my mom used sweet pickles in potato salads and things like that. You know what? I’m going to give the dill pickle version a try the next time. Great idea!

  14. What kind of mustard? The spice or the condiment?

    • Just regular condiment mustard. Of course, if you prefer you could use a dijon…

  15. Hands down, the best “untuna salad” recipe I’ve tried! Thank you!! I think the miso is key, and the celery seeds add so much too! I made it with dill pickles and also the Veganaise-like recipe (but lower fat, and cheaper!) from melomeals! It was so delicious that the omnis cleaned it out before I got seconds! Thanks for sharing!

  16. instead of white miso I use seaweed flakes, it makes it taste like fish, if you like the ‘tuna’ taste, its amazing and tastes really good


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