Chickpea Tu-No: Vegan Tuna Salad

Tu-no and may-no

One thing I realized is that if you’re going to eat a boatload of plants everyday, it can’t just be the kind of boring salads most of us were raised on.

In this recipe, you’ll discover a new way to make a moist and veggie-packed tuna salad served on a bed of greens with tomatoes. You’re getting all the good stuff at once: beans, greens, lycopenes (catchy!), plus lemon, herbs, and a bunch of veggies!

Before you start chopping…

Pop the cashews into water to soak for a few minutes. Even better, soak them starting the night before or for a few hours.


I love jam packing in as many veggies as possible in any recipe. Here, the diced cucumber replaces the pickle relish in traditional tuna salad. Celery is there to give it crunch. Red peppers brighten the color. And onions give it flavor depth.

To keep the cucumbers’ crunchy, remove the seedy pulp. Slice the cucumber in half and cut out or scoop out the seeds. Set the seeds aside.

Dice the cucumbers, celery, onion and red peppers.

(I couldn’t find my dang red onion when I made this batch and was taking the photos. Next time, I’ll use red onion to get more of the flavor and color burst than green onions deliver.)

Roughly Chop the Chickpeas

Do you call them chickpeas or garbanzo beans? I love them whatever they’re called!

In this step, we’re going for a rough chunky consistency to mimic the chunkiness of tuna salad. Use a fork to partially mass or pulse them quickly with an S-blade in a food processor. Don’t overdo it or you’ll get hummus!

Put the chickpeas and diced veggies together in a bowl. Don’t stir, yet.

“From the Sea” Flavor

To catch the flavor of the sea, use kelp granules or any type of seaweed. (If using seaweed, crush and cut the seaweed into consistent pieces before adding to avoid having odd-sized, gloppy bits.)

Using seaweed, lemon and seasoning mix evokes that seafood vibe. I went with Bragg Sprinkle 24 Herbs and Spices Seasoning and loved it!

Our buddies at One Green Planet recommend using Old Bay Seasoning with lemon and seaweed for any seafood-replacement recipe. (Check out One Green Planet’s seven vegan seafood recipes!)

May-no Sauce

In addition to replacing the tuna, we also need to replace the mayo!

To make the “may-no”, start by adding the cucumber seeds, soaked cashews, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, kelp crystals, seasoning mix and mustard into the food processor bowl. Process until smooth. Use up to 1/2 Cup of the reserved chickpea liquid (aquafaba) to thin the may-no to desired consistency.

Six small bowls with may-no sauce ingredients
May-no Ingredients: Top row: chickpea reserved liquid. Middle row: cucumber seeds, soaked cashews. Bottom row: lemon juice, seasoning mix, prepared mustard, kelp granules and apple cider vinegar.

I don’t like dry ‘tuna’ and I prefer not to buy the vegan mayo, because it’s pricey and processed. I used a full 1/2 Cup of liquid and the result was thinner than mayo. But, it seemed like the perfect amount when I mixed it in.

To serve, put a 1 Cup scoop of tu-no on 2 Cups of arugula, with one sliced plum tomato.