This smoky chickpea tuna salad is a vegan friendly take on traditional tuna salad! The taste and texture are very reminiscent of the original thanks to the crunch of celery and the smokiness of cumin and paprika. A splash of lemon brightens up this delicious recipe. Served with rye bread, avocado and spinach, this is a healthy lunch option any day of the week. You’ll love it!
Chickpea tuna salad has been on my recipe to-do list for ages. Let me just say, lunch was so good today and I’m so happy I finally got around to making a version of this amazing plant-based lunch staple. A big thank you to Food52 and Minimalist Baker for the recipe inspiration here.
I remember really disliking tuna when I was young; the not-so-pleasant aroma seemed to penetrate every corner of the school lunch room some days. To further complicate things, one of my closest friends had inadvertently received a can of cat food for lunch which her mother mistook for canned tuna. Thankfully, it was unopened and unprepared. But good thing her mother remembered to pack her a can opener.
Don’t Like Tuna? Try Chickpea Tuna!
Ever since then, cat food and tuna were indistinguishable to me. I did, however, outgrow my tuna prejudices; several years as a fitness competitor will force anyone to suck it up for “the gains”. Nevertheless, I never really liked it. Maybe you’re the same?
Bottom line, if you want a healthy lunch option that’s vegan friendly, gluten- free and also contains a good amount of protein and fiber, you need to make this recipe.
Chickpeas are loaded with protein; combining them with whole grains provides you with all the essential amino acids. They’re high in fibre, folate (also known as vitamin B9) and manganese. Just 1 cup of chickpeas contains 1.7 mg of manganese (84% of the RDA), 13 grams of fiber, and 14.5 grams of protein.
3 Tips to make the best chickpea tuna salad around
- Don’t over-process – you want the chickpeas to be roughly processed. Over processing will give you something more like dry hummus. Keep the pieces in varying sizes, with some larger and smaller ones to mimic the right texture.
- Celery is key- the crunch and natural salinity of celery is a perfect accompaniment for chickpea tuna salad. Alternatively, you can try finely diced pickles or capers.
- Pair with Healthy Fats – traditional tuna salad is heavy with mayonnaise. For this recipe, I chose to use olive oil to add richness and body. However, you can certainly use regular or vegan mayonnaise if you so desire. Avocado also makes a great sandwich accompaniment for chickpea tuna salad.
A New Twist on Tuna Salad
The texture of chickpea tuna is so spot on; creamy, with a good “yield to the tooth” as my friend says. I only wish I had made this sooner! I decided to give this recipe a kick with the addition of smokey flavours from cumin and smoked paprika (which is one of my favourite spices); it’s just lovely in this recipe.
Finally, you can’t go wrong with the nutritional and textural components of spinach and avocado, but feel free to omit if you wish; this recipe is so good to eat straight from the bowl!
Want more inspiration for your lunch?
If you love my smoky chickpea tuna salad, try my other favourite sandwich and lunch recipes
Smoky Chickpea Tuna Salad [vegan & gluten-free]
This smoky chickpea tuna salad is a vegan friendly and gluten-free take on traditional tuna salad! The taste and texture are very reminiscent thanks to the crunch of celery and the smokiness of cumin and paprika. A splash of lemon brightens up this delicious recipe. You'll love it!
- 15 oz of cooked chickpeas canned or otherwise
- 2-3 tbsp non-dairy plain yogurt or vegan mayonnaise
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 celery stalk diced
- 2 scallions chopped
- sea salt to taste
- 4 slices of rye bread or sprouted wheat bread
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1 avocado sliced or cubed
- salt + pepper
Prepare the chickpea tuna salad:
- in a food processor, pulse the chickpeas until they resemble a coarse, crumbly texture (see below photo). Spoon the chickpeas into a medium sized bowl and add the rest of the ingredients, stirring until well combined. Season with plenty of sea salt to your own taste.
Make your sandwich:
layer the baby spinach on each slice of bread; add several heapings of chickpea tuna salad, spreading evenly. Top with avocado slices, a few grains of sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
chickpea tuna is gluten free, however, opt for a gluten free bread if wish you maintain this dietary approach. Also, this recipe is so good on toasted bread (just saying). This recipe will last 3-4 days in the fridge covered.
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