If you're looking for the BEST vegan tuna salad recipe, you've found it! With all of the classic flavors and textures you want and none of the stuff you don't. This chickpea tuna incorporates jackfruit for the most real-deal-convincing, creamy, delicious, satisfying tu-no spread. Perfect for sandwiches, salads, and scooping up with crackers and veggies!
This recipe is a meal prep favorite and FREE from oil, gluten, refined sugar, and soy.
Why It Works
We've been enjoying this Oil-Free Aquafaba Mayo so much, I figured a vegan tuna salad recipe was in order!
Instead of using 100% chickpeas like this Curried Chickpea Salad, I wanted to incorporate jackfruit for a flaky, fish-like texture. Jackfruit is a great seafood substitute, and I love that it helps add volume to the recipe. So you have the protein and fiber of the chickpeas with the amazing texture of low-calorie jackfruit.
Trust me, it's rare that I call a recipe "the best," but you don't have to take my word for it! Check out the reviews below the recipe.
The addition of dulse (seaweed) gives this tuna salad a very mild hint of the sea, but you can leave it out if you don't have any. I included dulse since I had some in the fridge, but you can also use toasted and crumbled nori sheets. Seaweed not only tastes great but is a good source of iodine, too.
UPDATE: I've had such amazing feedback from you all on this tuna salad, I decided to make a Vegan Chicken Salad using the same base of chickpeas and jackfruit. So good!
Red onion and celery provide extra nutrition, crunch, and flavor! Honestly, this vegan tuna salad gets tastier overnight as the flavors mingle.
I highly recommend whipping up a batch on Sunday or Monday, whenever you do your weekly meal prep, and then enjoying this healthy treat over the next few days anytime hunger strikes. It has quickly become my new favorite afternoon snack!
This recipe is totally versatile! You can add other veggies, sub store-bought mayo, experiment with the spices, and add dill pickles or sweet relish.
The basic ingredients you'll need for vegan tuna salad are:
- cooked chickpeas - for convenience the recipe is written to use one 15 ounce can.
- canned jackfruit - usually called "young" or "green" jackfruit. Make sure it's packed in brine, not syrup.
- vegan mayo of choice - I highly recommend my oil-free mayo; it's rich and flavorful but made from whole foods and has half the calories of store-bought!
- red onion - make sure it's fresh for the best flavor.
- Old Bay seasoning - if you don't have Old Bay, use a pinch of celery seed, paprika, black pepper, and cayenne.
- lemon juice
- dulse granules - if you can't find dulse, crumbled sheets of nori are also delicious.
- cayenne, optional
How to Make Vegan Tuna Salad
A food processor makes prep super easy, but if you don't have one you can mash the chickpeas with a fork and roughly chop the the jackfruit before combining everything in a bowl.
Be sure to watch the video below to see how easily the recipe comes together!
- Preheat a saute pan over medium heat.
- First, drain the jackfruit, and place on a tea towel. Gather up the ends of the towel, hold it over the sink, and squeeze the jackfruit VERY well to remove as much liquid as possible.
- Cook the jackfruit for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with Old Bay and cook for another minute, then add juice from half a lemon. Stir again, and remove from heat. Transfer to a plate to cool.
- In the bowl of a large food processor combine the cooled jackfruit, chickpeas, and ½ cup vegan mayonnaise. Pulse 5 or 6 times. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the dulse, cayenne, and more mayonnaise, if desired (I used an entire batch of my Aquafaba Mayo). Pulse to combine.
- Taste and adjust seasonings, then add the red onion and celery. Transfer to a lidded storage container, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Making this fishless tuna salad is super easy! There are a few tips I recommend for the best flavors and a rich, spreadable texture.
- Drain the canned jackfruit then soak it in fresh water for a few minutes. Drain again, and place on a lint-free tea towel. Gather up the ends of the towel, hold it over the sink, and squeeze the jackfruit VERY well to remove as much moisture as possible. This helps get rid of the brine-y, canned flavor.
- Don't skip the step of quickly sautéing the jackfruit. It helps evaporate any remaining moisture and enhances the Old Bay seasoning.
- Use a food processor to break down the chickpeas and jackfruit. You'll end up with a really meaty, spreadable, pâté-like texture that most closely resembles traditional tuna salad.
- Taste and adjust lemon, salt, and spices at the end, keeping in mind that the onion flavor will mellow and spread throughout the dish as it sits.
As far as substitutions go, you can take this basic combination of chickpeas, jackfruit, and mayo in so many different directions!
- Keep it tuna-esque, but add other veggies, like yellow, orange, or red bell pepper, fresh jalapeno, or shallots.
- Switch up the flavors by adding chopped olives or pickle relish.
- Make it extra spicy with hot sauce or harissa!
- Try it with the curry flavors of this Curried Chickpea Salad.
- Add sweetness with dried fruit, fresh apple, or grapes.
- Switch up the seasonings and make Vegan Chicken Salad!
RELATED: 18 Vegan Sandwiches That Travel Well
This vegan tuna salad is so good I found myself scooping it up by the spoonful! Maybe you'll have more self control than I did and manage to make a proper meal of it.
Pile it on toasted bread or make lettuce wraps. Enjoy a big scoop on top of a green salad or baked potato. Or just scoop up your vegan tuna salad with chips (I do a lot of that, too!), crackers, or raw veggies like carrots, celery, and peppers.
And make an epic Vegan Tuna Melt with it!
You might like:
- Vegan Egg Salad
- Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup
- Vegan Chicken Salad
- Homemade Vegan 'Chicken' Broth Powder
- Nut-Free Vegan Ranch Dressing
- BLT with Tempeh and Carrot Bacon
I hope you enjoy this Vegan Tuna Salad recipe as much as we do. If you give it a try be sure to leave a comment and a star rating below to let others know how it turned out. I'm off to whip up another batch!
Watch how easy it is to make this tasty mock tuna!
The BEST Vegan Tuna Salad
- 1 (20 oz.) can green/young jackfruit in brine
- 1 large lemon, cut in half
- 3 ribs celery, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 small red onion, diced (about ¾ cup)
- 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
- 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 batch Oil-Free Vegan Aquafaba Mayo - Or ½ to ¾ cup vegan mayo of choice.
- 1 to 2 teaspoons dulse granules - Sub crumbled toasted nori, if desired.
- a few dashes cayenne pepper, optional
- salt, to taste
- Drain the jackfruit and place in a shallow bowl or dish. Cover with water and let soak for a few minutes while you prep the onion and celery and gather the other ingredients. Preheat a saute pan over medium heat.
- Drain the jackfruit, and place on a clean, lint-free towel. Gather up the ends of the towel, hold it over the sink, and squeeze the jackfruit VERY well to remove as much liquid as possible.
- Transfer the jackfruit to the pan, and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.* Add 1.5 teaspoons Old Bay to the pan and stir. Cook for another minute or so, then add juice from half a lemon. Stir again, and remove from heat. Transfer jackfruit to a plate to cool.
- In the bowl of a large food processor combine the cooled jackfruit, chickpeas, and ½ cup mayo. Pulse 5 to 8 times. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the dulse granules, cayenne, and more mayonnaise, if desired (I used the entire batch of Aquafaba Mayo to make the tuna salad nice and tangy and rich). Pulse to combine.
- Taste and add more salt, lemon juice, Old Bay, dulse, and/or cayenne, as desired. Add the red onion and celery, and pulse to incorporate. Transfer vegan tuna salad to a lidded storage container, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.
I’ve made this many times and just love it! I omit the dulse/nori—not a fan of that flavor—and add a bit of dill relish. Super tasty and filling! Thank you!
This looks awesome! I have strange question: I am allergic to latex, so jackfruit is a no-no for me. Any suggestions as to what might be used in its place? Many thanks!!
You could experiment with hearts of palm if you want varying texture (assuming there’s no allergy issue), or just use 100% chickpeas. The step of sautéing the spices and lemon enhances the flavor. So instead of jackfruit you could add some of the chickpeas to the pan to give the seasonings something to grab onto. 🙂 Hope that helps!
This is the most amazing Faux Tuna Salad I have ever eaten!!! I made it last week and even served it to my omnivore friend and she loved it and couldn't stop raving about it! I used your mayo recipe and that is so good I could eat it by the spoonful! I just made another batch today for lunch tomorrow. I have friends coming over to sew and it will be our lunch! I can't wait. Oh and so good on crackers for a snack! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it.
I haven't had tuna in 10 years but my non vegan husband has it weekly so I know what it looks like. This recipe is delicious and looked like the real deal. Even my husband thought the same and actually ate it! I even made the mayo and it was delicious and like you... i am not a big mayo fan. This will be made many more times! Thank you for sharing!
This is a staple of my 100% plant based diet...it is so good! I serve it to people and they have no idea its not 'real' tuna. Love it! Thanks for the great recipe.
Outstanding recipe!!! Now that Caju (cashew fruit meat) has just debuted) I used it for added protein rather than jackfruit and there’s no need for the sauté step with this. TY for sharing!! Truly delicious and would fool anyone!! 💗
I am allergic to peppers (all kinds) so how do you suggest I go about making this without the seasoning? Of course it is a big part of it, and I could season it with other things, but no peppers. Looks great and I would love to try it!
Hi Magy, if it's just the Old Bay and cayenne that you can't use, even if you don't replace them it will still have great flavor from the mayo, lemon, onion and celery. Peppers don't play that large of a role in seasoning the dish overall. But if you'd like to add other seasonings in their place, you could try a little cumin. It would add nice smokiness. Celery salt or plain ground celery seed is another option.
I hope you enjoy it!
Looks amazing! How do you think it would be without those granules? I do have Furikake if that would help.
You can skip the dulse/nori. Most of the flavor comes from the other ingredients. I would taste it first, then decide if you want to stir in a little furikake. Since that's stronger in flavor it wouldn't take much! Hope you enjoy. 🙂
Hi Priscilla, I use a 14 cup Cuisinart food processor.
This recipe is soo good. It tastes amazing and can be eaten alone, with cracker or chips, with lettuce or as a sandwich. My non vegan husband and brother love it too. Thank you so much for creating/sharing. It’s better than any other vegan tuna I’ve had at restaurants or made myself.
Hooray! So glad to hear it, Charlotte. Always great when the non-vegans love a recipe, too. Thank you for letting me know! 😀
This is an amazing recipe! Just made it and cannot believe the convincing tuna flavor and especially the texture! What a find! We are vegetarians and really missed our tuna sandwiches. We've tried a number of "tuna" recipes, most of which were ok. But you've knocked this out of the ballpark!!!
Amazing feedback, Robert. Thanks so much! 😀
Hi! I’m allergic to chickpea. Do you have any alternative suggestions?
Yes, cannellini or any other white bean would be nice. I also think cooked, shelled edamame would be amazing. They're firmer and would provide nice texture.
I am in the UK so we don't have Old Bay seasoning. Is there anything you can use instead?
Yes, definitely. The main ingredients in Old Bay seasoning are paprika and celery salt (or ground celery seed + salt). Try adding a few dashes, to taste.
Hope you enjoy!
Thank you! 🙂
Definitely a keeper! The texture of the jackfruit is perfect and the chickpeas hold everything together. I add a little dill relish for tang. My non-vegan husband likes it too!! Thank you!!
Oh my goodness! This recipe is delicious! I’m not sure that anyone could tell it really isn’t tuna.
This is awesome, have tried a few "tuna" salads before but this is by far the best! Thank you so much!!! 🙂
You're very welcome. I'm so happy you enjoyed it, Varpu!
This is delicious as written. We love the texture combination of jackfruit and chickpeas. Thank you for sharing!
Fantastic! Thanks, Deb.
Thank you so much for a very tasty recipe. I know I will be making it frequently - husband is a fan!
Ah, that's great to hear! So happy you all enjoyed it, Jan.
I made this today and used it for a Tuna melt. It was oh so good! I added jalapeños, red peppers and Cayenne and mustard in the food processor. I’m already excited about having it for lunch with a salad tomorrow.
Ooooh I LOVE those spicy additions. Fantastic idea, Cynthia! Thanks so much for sharing. 😀
Even my husband loved this! Definitely a keeper!
Fantastic! Thanks for the feedback, Kathy. 😀
Love it! So easy and delicious. Completely customizable (I added sweet relish) and easy to whip up. Just what I need when I am hankering for a sandwich or wrap. This will be a new go-to for me this Summer. Thanks for posting, Lori!
Mmmmm, sweet relish is a great addition! So happy you enjoyed it, Sally. 😀