Plant-Based Cooking: No Tuna Tuna

With all the media surrounding sustainable fishing practices and the safety of tuna, it might be a good idea to take a look at alternatives to the Chicken of the Sea. No tuna tuna. It’s sounds a bit cray, I realize, but I was actually really surprised at the likeness this recipe had to actual tuna. And it tasted yummy. So yummy, that I would say it’s my most favorite recipe in this class thus far.


This delicious “tuna” contains no tuna, egg or dairy, but is made with chickpeas, red onion, celery, pickles and nori seaweed (for that “from the sea” taste). This completely vegan mixture may not be full of fish, but it sure is full of flavor.

  • Serves: 3 to 5
  • Active Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins
mise en place
mise en place


  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas (1-28oz can)
  • 2 to 3 tbsp red onion, (or to taste)
  • 2 to 3 celery stalks (approx. 1/2 cup)
  • 2 to 3 pickles (approx. 1/4 cup)
  • 2 tbsp nori seaweed flakes*
  • 1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise or Cashew Sour Cream
  • Bibb, butter or head lettuce
  • tomatoes (optional)
  • bread for sandwiches (optional)

Making the “Tuna” Salad

For this recipe, you will need one 28-ounce can of chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) or two smaller cans. Alternatively, you can cook your own, which is even better. If using canned, drain and place into a large bowl.

Using a pastry cutter, potato masher or a fork, mash the chickpeas to break them up.

mashed chickpeas
mashed chickpeas

Next, finely dice the onion, celery and pickle and add them to the chickpeas. Add the nori flakes, salt and pepper and mix to combine.


*NOTE: If you do not have nori flakes, you can grind up one or two sheets of nori (the kind used to make sushi) in a spice grinder. The mineral-rich nori adds a nice “from the sea” flavor and look to the mixture.

Lastly, add the vegan mayonnaise or Cashew Sour Cream. Mix to combine and taste for seasoning

To serve the “tuna” salad, place into a lettuce leaf and serve with sliced tomatoes, if desired. Alternatively, toast some bread and make into sandwiches or serve with crackers. Enjoy!


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