In need of a quick fix for lunch that’s full of protein and flavor? This chickpea tuna is a healthy vegan twist on an old classic.
Chickpeas are one of the more versatile legumes, starring in various hits like pastas, tacos, hummus, falafel, the list goes on. But don’t forget their lesser known performance in chickpea tuna salad. It’s a cult classic that you should definitely check out if you haven’t already.
PS – for a comprehensive list of all of my recipes that use chickpeas, check out this handy meal planning guide.
Why should you try vegan tuna?
This salad is a great tuna alternative if following a vegan diet or trying to cut down on mercury in general. It’s recommended to eat no more than two cans of tuna per week due to high mercury levels. Do you know how many cans of chickpeas you’re allowed to eat in a week? The limit does not exist.
Chickpeas have a ton of fiber, which is crucial for so many reasons. Fiber can help reduce and prevent Diabetes, as it helps reduce inflammation of the blood vessels and helps maintain sugars while your’re digesting. It’s also great for reducing bad cholesterol, plus chickpeas also boast lots of calcium, potassium, and protein, so you can feel good about making this healthy swap.
Meal Prep Benefits
I’m such a fan of chickpea tuna since it’s a really easy meal to prepare and stays good for a few days in the fridge. I often double or triple this recipe and then eat it once on a salad, once on a sandwich, and once on a baked potato or bed of quinoa. It has an excellent crunch thanks to the celery and onion, but you can omit if you’re not a fan. Swap in diced cucumber, radish, etc. I always say that recipes are guidelines: they’re flexible, so make this salad your own, especially if you’re planning to eat it for a few different meals this week. Leave me a comment and let me know what worked for you!
This recipe is:
Easy Swaps to customize
White beans can be used in place of chickpeas if you have them on hand. For instructions on how to cook white beans, check out my link here.
Many folks have a hard time digesting chickpeas. Sub in jackfruit, super firm tofu, or seitan if legumes aren’t your thing.
Swap out the may for whipped aquafaba, mashed avocado, or even vegan plain yogurt.
Toppings: this sandwich would be amazing with sliced avocado, garden fresh tomatoes, julienned carrots, vegan cheese, or even a cream cheese and chive spread.
To make a tuna melt, add the chickpea tuna to one slice of bread, and top the other with a slice or two of vegan cheese. Place face up in the toaster oven or conventional oven for about 6 minutes. No toaster oven? No problem. Place the slices in the regular toaster and add the ingredients after, or even grill in a pan like a grilled cheese.
Steps to make chickpea tuna
First, Pick your chickpeas
You can used canned chickpeas or the dried variety for this meal. For more information about how to cook your own chickpeas from the dried variety, you can check out my chickpeas 101 post. Open and drain a can of chickpeas, and then rinse.
Second, Mash and add veggies
Mash in a bowl with a fork, and then add in vegan mayo. Dice celery and onion and add to the bowl. Another optional add in could be 2-3 pickles, some dill or chives. Mix with kelp granules for an authentic ocean flavor, and add salt and pepper to taste. Kelp granules definitely seem like a weird thing to have on hand, but I promise, once you snag a bottle, you’ll be sprinkling that stuff on everything. Turn white bean patties into crab patties in an instant, and make vegan tuna like it’s nobody’s business. These are actually just tiny pieces of dehydrated kelp that are ground really finely. They are a great source of iodine and provide a subtle but noticeable ocean flavor.
Spread chickpea tuna onto a slice of bread or on a bagel. Add your choice of vegan cheese, or thinly sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, dill, sprouts, etc. There’s really no wrong way to serve chickpea salad, but if you’re looking for other ideas, you’ve come to the right place.
Ways to eat chickpea tuna salad
There plenty of ways to dress up chickpea tuna salad. Here are a few of my favorites:
You can make a sandwich, like the one here. Change up the toppings to include whatever is handy in your kitchen, and get creative with the bread. I used potato bread that I made in a cast iron skillet, but this would be good on rye, soft farmhouse oatmeal bread, a whole wheat bagel, or a spinach wrap. Sub in some Romaine lettuce boats if you want to skip the carbs.
Why not add it to a healthy green salad? It would be great over a bed of baby spinach with some fresh cherry tomatoes, avocado, olives, and cucumbers.
Eat it on it’s own with crackers, celery sticks, or cucumber slices. This is a perfect meal prep option for a busy work week.
Even opt for a tuna melt if you’re feeling adventurous. Top with capers and olives for a fun twist.
More recipe ideas:
As always, if you make this vegan tuna recipe, tag me on Facebook or Instagram, and let me know how it goes! You can also check out my Pinterest page for more easy weeknight dinner or meal prep inspiration.
If you liked this recipe, you might also enjoy some of my other quick dessert and appetizer recipes to match! See some of my favorite recommendations below: