Vegan Chickpea "Tuna" Salad Recipe - Pamela Salzman Skip to content

Vegan Chickpea “Tuna” Salad Recipe

Vegan Chickpea "Tuna" Salad | Pamela Salzman
Photography by Erica Hampton

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that my meat-loving husband went vegan about 3 1/2 months ago.  He did so for health reasons and has never felt better.  I am still eating the exact same way I always have, mostly plant-based with occasional bits of wild fish or lean poultry, an egg here or there and a smidge of dairy every now and then.  But his new diet has forced me to make more satisfying, hearty vegan recipes that he enjoys.  I find lots of plant-based food very appealing, but my husband needs a little help.

Vegan Chickpea "Tuna" Salad | Pamela Salzman

I came up with this chickpea “tuna” after I served him the curried chickpea salad from my cookbook and he went crazy for it.  I knew I could do the same thing with chickpeas and treat it like a tuna salad.  He absolutely loved it.  My whole family did!  I am a huge fan of legumes (beans and lentils) which contain loads of protein and loads of fiber, providing a slow release of energy for the body, as well as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  Legumes are cheap (even cheaper if you cook them yourself) and you probably have them in your pantry.  In fact, you probably have all of these ingredients laying around which makes it the perfect default meal if you have no idea what to make but you need something fast (like on a Saturday at lunch before my son’s game or if you are stuck at home in the middle of a blizzard!)

Vegan Chickpea "Tuna" Salad | Pamela Salzman

I photographed this as a sandwich on sourdough bread with typical sandwich fixings, but you could easily serve this in an avocado half or in a bowl on top of salad greens or in lettuce cups.  This also is perfect for kids who love tuna but don’t want the fish smell in their lunch boxes.  🙂  I am not following any cleanse, diet, elimination, Whole30, etc. right now (or ever.)  I ate a little more than usual over the holidays, but now I’m back to my routine of working out 6 days a week and eating the way I normally like to eat.  However, if you have eliminated any ingredients mentioned here, feel free to leave a comment below and I would be happy to offer you suggestions.  Also, if you need to serve more people than indicated, this recipe doubles and triples very easily.  Happy weekend!

Vegan Chickpea "Tuna" Salad | Pamela Salzman

If you make this salad, please tag me on Instagram with an image of your creation.  I’d love to see it! @pamelasalzman #pamelasalzman

5.0 from 6 reviews
Vegan Chickpea "Tuna" Salad
Serves: 2-3
  • 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas or 1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ of a lemon
  • 1 stalk celery, diced, about ½ cup
  • 1 small shallot, diced, about 2 Tablespoons
  • 2-3 Tablespoons mayonnaise (I like soy-free Vegenaise) or half Greek yogurt* and half mayo
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional, but I like it)
  • ⅜ teaspoon Herbamare (my secret ingredient in tuna salad) or sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Place 1 cup of the chickpeas in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork until chunky puree. Squeeze the lemon on top.
  2. Add the un-mashed (about ½ cup) chickpeas, celery and shallots to the mashed chickpeas. You can also mash all the chickpeas if you like.
  3. In a small bowl, combine yogurt/mayonnaise, mustard, herbamare and pepper.
  4. Pour on top of the chickpeas and salad ingredients and combine to coat well with dressing. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  5. Store leftover in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
other additions can include diced apple, diced sweet bell pepper, sliced manzanilla olives (the ones stuffed with pimentos), chopped nuts, chopped water chestnuts, fresh dill

*Kite Hill makes a vegan almond milk Greek yogurt


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  1. How do you cook the chickpea?

  2. I love this chickpea salad! I am not one for mayo anymore but used yogurt mixed with a tbsp. of creme fraiche since that’s what I had.
    This will go on regular rotation in my kitchen. Thanks Pamela for sharing your delicious recipes!

    • Great swap!

  3. A colleague brought this into work and we could not believe how delicious it was!!! Insisted I get the recipie for it. I will make for my family this weekend.

    • I’m delighted to hear that! Thank you for letting me know. 🙂

  4. Thank you for this recipe! I messed around with it a bit–I am vegan and did not have any veganiase or non- dairy yougurt on hand, so I mashed up an avocado which was very ripe (I always buy them if they are on sale and then find myselfy trying to use them before they are too ripe! This was perfect!) i also used chopped scallions instead of shallots, a bit more lemon, pepper and fresh basil. The salad turned out wonderful, great alone, on greens or multigrain bread. And just a thank you for the inspo!

    • So great to know all these adaptations! I am one to try to use things up, too. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  5. This is super delicious!! Have made it twice.
    Added fresh cilantro and lime juice instead of lemon this time.
    Absolutely love it!!

    Thanks for the fantastic recipe

    • Oooh, I must try it with cilantro and lime. Great idea, thanks!

  6. I have been WAITING for this since you posted on your stories and am excited to try it =)

    • I hope you love it!

  7. I was skeptical to try this at first…chickpeas instead of tuna? No way! Then today I saw it again in my email and I had all the ingredients so I gave it a shot. So glad I did! It’s delicious! I never would have tried this if I didn’t already love so many of your recipes, thanks for opening this meat-eating girl’s mind to another yummy option 🙂

    • Thanks for having faith in me LOL. Kudos to you for going for it!

  8. Love the idea of a chickpea smash as an alternative “tuna” sandwich! I’ve been using Herbamare in my tuna salad for years along with finely diced cucumber, red onion, fresh basil, fresh dill and a little vegannaise – good stuff!

    • So many tasty ingredients in your tuna salad! You should use the same things but swap out the tuna for chickpeas and see what you think!

      • Great idea. Will try it with chickpeas!

  9. Best place in MB to find Herbamare? Checked Grow but no luck. Amazon only? Thanks! Can’t wait to try it out!

  10. loving all this vegan joy – what a wonderful new year

  11. Already made a batch for lunch at work today. Thanks so much for this…I am loving the vegan recipes!

    • Wow! How awesome you got right to it! 🙂

  12. I’m confused…you say mash all but 1 cup chick peas ….but next step is add unmashed peas (about 1/2 cup) …what about other 1/2 cup??

      • Yes! Kite Hill makes one now! Woo hoo!!

    • The recipe states 1 1/2 cup of chickpeas in total but you are first mashing only the 1 cup of chickpeas, later you add in the other 1/2 cup of chickpeas (not mashed).

      Looks delicious! Definitely trying it this weekend.

      • Just clarified the instructions. Thanks!

    • Sorry for the confusion. I meant mash 1 cup and then leave the other 1/2 cup unmashed. I also added in a note that you can mash all of them if you want. Play around with it and go for the texture that is most appealing to you! Thanks!

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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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