This Vegan Chickpea Tuna Salad recipe is an excellent plant-based alternative to a chicken salad sandwich or tuna salad. It's an easy to make recipe that the whole family will enjoy!
This flavorful and filling Vegan Chickpea Tuna Salad is a healthy and simple lunch recipe that's ideal for busy days and when you're on the go. Since you can make it ahead of time, it's also great for meal prep.
If you're looking for a tasty plant-based alternative to a tuna sandwich, look no further! This absolutely delicious Vegan Chickpea Salad sandwich is a nourishing lunch that is sure to become a favorite.
This vegan tuna sandwich is great for a quick lunch or easy meal. It's perfect for taking along to picnics during the summer or make it ahead of time for a healthy vegan lunch on the go, or take it to work or pack it for school lunches during the rest of the year. Make a batch of Watermelon Water to go along with it!
My love for chickpeas inspired this sandwich; I really love garbanzo beans and wanted to create a chickpea sandwich filling as an alternative to my tasty Vegan Pink Beetroot Hummus. I adapted this recipe from Rouxbe as well as other "no tuna" recipes I came across such as this one from Forks Over Knives.
For a vegan version of egg salad sandwich, try my tofu salad sandwich.
You can make the best chickpea tuna salad with simple ingredients you likely have on hand. Read on for notes on the ingredients.
- Canned chickpeas - I like to boil dried chickpeas, which are also known as garbanzos, but it's handy to have a few cans for convenience. I prefer unsalted canned chickpeas. Chickpeas are an excellent source of plant-based protein and fiber. They also contain manganese, minerals, zinc, vitamins, including B vitamins and amino acids.
- Toasted Sushi Nori - This edible seaweed adds the "tuna" or seafood taste. Crumple up a nori sheet with your hands - this amounts to a half-cup, approximately. You can also buy the Toasted Nori "Krinkles".
- Capers - There is no need to rinse them. I love the tang and brininess that capers add to this recipe.
- Mustard - I love classic Dijon, although the whole grain version is delicious as well!
- Red onion - For added flavor and bite, I use half of a medium red onion. Dice into small pieces.
- Celery- Finely chopped, for a satisfying crunch.
- Relish - I love Bubbie's Kosher Dill Relish, although whatever you prefer will work well in this recipe.
- Lemon - It has to be fresh; please don't use lemon concentrate or anything that comes from a plastic lemon. It's just not the same! Thank me later.
- Vegan mayonnaise - I like Follow Your Heart Vegenaise Grapeseed Oil or feel free to make your own.
See the recipe card for the quantities.
How to make Vegan Chickpea Tuna Salad
This Vegan Chickpea Tuna Salad filling is so easy to make; it comes together in about 10 minutes.
Follow along for step by step instructions:
In a medium mixing bowl, place the chickpeas and mash with a potato masher until only a few whole chickpeas remain, about a quarter-cup.
Add the red onion, celery, vegan mayo, nori, relish, lemon juice, capers, Dijon mustard, pepper, and sea salt.
Mix all of the ingredients in the bowl until well combined. If you want to wash more dishes, you can mix everything in a food processor; pulse for a few seconds. Avoid overprocessing to retain texture.
Assemble the sandwich by spreading the mixture onto toasted sourdough bread and top with greens or a tomato slice. Here I added sprouts and baby spring mix, plus whole-grain Dijon mustard.
Hint: This vegan "no tuna" sandwich filling is perfect for meal prep, so you can enjoy it several times throughout the week. If you're going to enjoy a sandwich later, keep the bread and the filling separate so you don't have to deal with a soggy sandwich.
If you're making sandwiches a few hours ahead, I suggest placing the sandwich filling on top of lettuce, then putting more lettuce on top before you add the bread. Wrap the sandwiches tightly.
You can customize this Vegan Chickpea Tuna Salad in many ways, with or without a sandwich!
- Lettuce - Instead of green leaf lettuce, you can use baby spring mix or spinach, or any greens of your choice.
- Sourdough - Use gluten-free bread instead to make this gluten-free, or use 100% whole wheat sandwich bread for more fiber. Or try a wrap!
- Dill Relish - Try chopped pickles instead.
- Red onion - Try a large shallot instead.
- Nori - You can skip it if you don't have it, or try dulse flakes (taste as you go, I would start with a tablespoon), but the nori is my favorite for the sea flavor.
- Vegan mayo - Try tahini (thin it out if it's too thick) or cashew sour cream.
- Lemon juice - try pickle juice or apple cider vinegar.
- Chickpeas - Use Northern beans or cannellini beans instead.
- Gluten-free: Use gluten-free bread, or replace the bread with a gluten-free wrap or lettuce leaves.
In the photo below, I omitted the nori as a variation, added sprouts, and baby spring mix, plus whole-grain Dijon mustard.
Be creative - taste as you go and adjust the seasonings. Try this Vegan Chickpea Tuna Salad filling on an open-faced sandwich with toasted sourdough. Or try this pink beetroot hummus on one of the bread slices or as a dip with carrot or celery sticks!
Here are some more ideas:
- Fresh - Add sprouts or micro greens, shredded carrot, sliced radishes, chopped red bell pepper, chopped parsley, fresh dill, fresh basil, or sliced tomato to your sandwich.
- Spicy - Add hot sauce or sriracha to the mayo, or pickled jalapeño. You can try spicy mustard, too.
- Deluxe - Add sliced avocado, pickled onion, coconut bacon, or sunflower seeds.
- Kid-friendly - Skip toasting the sourdough or use 100% whole wheat sandwich or multigrain bread.
- Add curry powder or garlic powder to change up the flavor, or nutritional yeast.
How to serve
- Try adding this vegan tuna salad on top of crackers, make lettuce wraps, or try it as a dip with vegetables.
- Make a chickpea tuna melt by making an open-faced sandwich and putting vegan cheese on top (without the greens) and broiling for a couple of minutes. Serve with a dill pickle if you like.
- Cutting board for vegetable prep
- Chef's knife for dicing the celery and red onion
- Mixing bowl to put it all together
- Can opener for the can of chickpeas, unless you made your own
- Colander for draining the canned chickpeas
- Measuring spoons for measuring the condiments and flavorings
Store the Vegan Chickpea Tuna Salad filling in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
If you're making it ahead, I recommend keeping the wet ingredients (the sandwich filling) separate from the dry ingredients (bread slices) in the fridge, and mixing again when ready.
I don't recommend freezing the Vegan Chickpea Tuna Salad filling, although chickpeas by themselves and bread will freeze well. The fresh vegetables will not hold up well in the freezer.
- Place the chickpeas in a bowl of water, agitate a bit with your hands, and skim the skins off the top of the water, then drain.
- If you have the time, let the Vegan Chickpea Tuna Salad sit for approximately 15 minutes to let the flavors meld and develop.
Related Vegan Recipes
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Vegan Chickpea Tuna Salad
- chef's knife
- can opener
- mixing bowl
- Measuring spoons
- 29 oz canned organic chickpeas, no salt added rinsed and drained, or 3 cups cooked garbanzos (chickpeas)
- ¾ cup red onion diced
- 3 slim celery stalks diced, approximately ¾ cup
- ½ cup vegan mayo
- 1 nori sheet crumbled (approximately ½ cup loosely packed)
- ¼ cup relish
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice approximately ½ a lemon
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Sourdough slices optional
- Green leaf lettuce optional
- In a medium mixing bowl, place the chickpeas and mash with potato masher until only a few whole chickpeas remain.
- Add the red onion, celery, vegan mayo, nori, relish, lemon juice, capers, Dijon mustard, pepper, and sea salt.
- Stir until well combined.
- To assemble a sandwich (highly recommended), spread mixture onto a toasted sourdough bread slice, top with green leaf lettuce, then another slice of toasted sourdough. Enjoy!
- Nutritional data is calculated without bread.
- To prep the chickpeas, place them in a bowl of water, agitate a bit with your hands, and skim the skins off the top of the water, then drain.
- If you have the time, let the Vegan Chickpea Tuna Salad sit for approximately 15 minutes to let the flavors meld and develop.
- Store the chickpea salad in refrigerator for up to four days.
Resplendent Kitchen offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site as a courtesy. Although resplendentkitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information from online calculators, these figures are estimates.
Love the look of this sandwich. Even before I became vegetarian I never liked fish, but I feel I need to try this because, looking at the ingredients, I reckon it will be awesome.
Thank you for your review, Choclette! I'm glad to hear that the ingredients and look of this sandwich caught your eye. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
This sandwich is so appetising! The perfect tuna alternative. I especially love the addition of nori which I've been trying to include in my diet more. The perfect lunch on the go. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you for your review, Lucy! It sounds like you are a fan of my vegan chickpea tuna salad sandwich and I'm so happy to hear that.
I love hearing when people incorporate new ingredients into their diet - nori is a great addition with many health benefits!
Love pic #2! It's so healthy and delicious!
Thank you, Erica, I really appreciate it!
Thanks! I hadn't had a proper "tuna" sandwich for so long... I tried this, and don't miss it anymore. this is becoming a staple on our kitchen!
Thank you for your review, Tavo! I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying our "tuna" salad and it's becoming a staple in your kitchen!
Delicious sandwich, easy directions. Will be making it again!
Thank you Ruth for your review! I'm so happy to hear that the recipe was easy and delicious.
Wow, this vegan chickpea tuna salad was amazing! Adding the nori was a great idea and really helped to give it that fish flavor. Plus, I just really love eating nori! This delicious sandwich is a new lunchtime fave.
Thanks for sharing your experience with my vegan chickpea tuna salad recipe, Anaiah. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
This is a great and much healthier alternative to using tuna in sandwiches! It's easy and simple to make so I'll be eating it often.
Thank you for your review, Joshua. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed this recipe and found it easy to make! It's always great when people find new ways to incorporate healthy food into their diet by making simple substitutions like using chickpeas rather than tuna in sandwiches!
Simple, healthy and I bet it tastes delicious. I'm adding this to my menu. Lovely lunch idea.
Hi Natalie, thank you for your review and I'm so glad to hear that you're adding our healthy lunch idea to your menu! We hope you find it tastes delicious!
I am not vegan but who knew chickpeas could taste this delicious! Thank you for sharing
Thank you for your review, Daniela! I'm glad you found this recipe to be tasty. I hope you'll give some of our other recipes a try too and let me know what you think.
This is wonderful! Great recipe!!
Thank you for your review Stefanie! When you get a chance to try it, I'd love it if you would leave a star rating. I hope you try it soon!
This recipe is amazing plus the post is full of helpful tips! I haven't had tuna in a long time and this recipe is exactly what I was looking for to make a good substitution. Thanks so much Emily!
Thank you, Ana! I'm so glad you found the recipe helpful and enjoyed the post!
Wonderful flavors, and beautifully photographed. This is a must-try recipe.
Thank you for the great feedback, Brian! I'm so happy to hear that!
I love that chickpea filling and actually make it to add to everything!
Hi Nancy, I'm so happy to hear that you like our chickpea filling recipe! This is one of my personal favorites too!
Nice and light dish for summer!
Thank you, James!
My husband, mom and dad all loved this recipe. We used an Everything Seasoning Sourdough Bread. I also crushed the nori sheet with my hands; next time I will pulse in my food processor before I add it.
Thank you for trying this recipe, Shantel! I'm glad to hear that all of you enjoyed it. Pulsing the nori sheet in a food processor should help distribute the flavor evenly. Thanks again for trying my recipe and leaving feedback!
Absolutely loved this. Made half regular and the other half I added Red Hot to give it a kick. I might try it with buffalo sauce next time. Thank you for the recipe!! Budget-friendly and fulfilling.
Thank you for trying out my recipe, Meagan! I'm glad you enjoyed it and that it was budget friendly and filling. If you have any other suggestions or modifications, please let me know. I love to hear feedback from my readers!