Chickpea “Tuna” Salad


Depending on what kind you buy, tuna can be unethical, and dangerous to eat. Like many other fish, tuna contains mercury, which is toxic to humans. The FDA recommends limiting the amount you eat, especially if you’re pregnant. It’s environmental impact can be quite disturbing as well. If fished improperly, large amounts of bycatch result in capturing and discarding a staggering volume of non-targeted marine life.

However, there is always a yummy real food alternative! Chickpea “tuna” salad uses delicious, healthy chickpeas (garbanzo beans) instead of tuna mixed with chopped veggies. The nori sheet introduces a seafood-like flavor reminiscent of true canned tuna and can be found in any well stocked grocery store.

This recipe is based on one that I had during a PAN Vegan Pledge meeting in which I volunteered as a mentor. PAN pairs up pledges with mentors to help them transition to a vegan diet while providing tips, recipes and support during the month long experience. Pledge groups are popping up in several cities if you are interested in checking it out.

Side note: There are still many processed vegan food choices, so always read labels. This is why I predominantly promote a real food, plant-based diet. Now for that recipe…


Chickpea "Tuna" Salad
Recipe type: Lunch
Prep time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 can of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans-I like Eden Organic brand. No salt, BPA free cans)
  • 1 sheet nori (sushi seaweed sheet)
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • ¼ onion, finely diced
  • ¼-1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used Veganaise for a quick alternative-not a perfect choice-but try making your own mayo with this recipe)
  • ½ tsp spicy mustard (or Dijon works fine too)
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • ¼-1/2 cup purple cabbage (optional)
  • Handful of parsley, chopped (optional)
  • Red bell pepper, finely diced (optional)
  1. Drain and rinse beans.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and mash with a potato masher or pulse in a food processor. Leave some larger chunks of chickpeas for texture.
  3. Crumble and tear nori sheet into small pieces and add to the beans.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and stir together.
  5. Serve with whole grain crackers, on a sandwich using Ezekiel bread or inside lettuce cups. Enjoy!
  6. Tip: If you own a Vitamix, wet chop all your veggies and this will come together in a flash.

chickpea-tuna-salad-2If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and tag us @realfood_life or hashtag it #realfoodlife. I’d love to see what you make!

Until next time, keep it real.