Chickpea “Tuna” Salad (A Flavorful Plant-Based Alternative)

Personally, I’ve always been a fan of classic tuna salad sandwiches. There’s something satisfying about the creamy texture and savory flavor.

However, as I started exploring more plant-based options, I stumbled upon a fantastic alternative that has become a staple in my kitchen: Chickpea “Tuna” Salad.

Chickpea “tuna” salad is a delightful and nutritious plant-based twist on traditional tuna salad.

It captures the essence of the original while offering a lighter and more sustainable option.

Whether you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet or simply want to try something new, this recipe is worth a taste.

In this article, we’ll dive into the world of chickpea “tuna” salad.

We’ll explore why it has gained popularity, discuss the key ingredients involved, and guide you through the process of preparing and assembling this delicious dish.

Along the way, we’ll also share some serving suggestions, variations, and the many benefits of incorporating this recipe into your meal rotation.

So, get ready to embark on a culinary adventure as we explore the wonderful realm of chickpea “tuna” salad.

Let’s discover how this plant-based alternative can bring a burst of flavor, nutrition, and versatility to your table.

Essential Ingredients for Chickpea “Tuna” Salad

To create a flavorful and satisfying chickpea “tuna” salad, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Canned chickpeas: 1 can (15 ounces) of chickpeas will serve as the base for this salad. Ensure they are drained and rinsed before using.
Chickpeas in a can
  • Celery: 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped, will add a refreshing crunch to the salad.
Chopped celery isolated on white background
  • Red onion: 1/4 cup of red onion, finely diced, will provide a mild onion flavor and a hint of color.
Top view of white bowl full of diced red onions
  • Pickles: 1/4 cup of pickles, diced into small pieces, will contribute tanginess and a delightful briny flavor.
Top view of pickled cucumbers isolated on white
  • Mayonnaise (or vegan alternative): 1/4 cup of mayonnaise will lend creaminess to the salad.

    You can choose traditional mayonnaise or opt for a vegan mayo substitute.
Mayonnaise in a small ceramic bowl, on a white wooden cutting board
  • Mustard: 1 tablespoon of mustard, preferably Dijon or whole grain, will add a tangy kick and depth of flavor.
Different types of mustard and mustard seeds on a rustic wooden board
  • Lemon juice: 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice will bring a refreshing citrusy note.
freshly squeezed lemon juice in small bowl
  • Salt and pepper: To taste, add a pinch of salt and pepper to enhance the flavors of the salad.
Natural sea salt and black pepper (peppercorns) isolated on white background

Personally, I find these ingredients work harmoniously together, but feel free to adjust the quantities or add additional seasonings according to your taste preferences.

Now that we have the ingredients ready, let’s move on to the preparation and assembly of this scrumptious chickpea “tuna” salad.

Mastering the Preparation and Assembly of Chickpea “Tuna” Salad

Chickpea “Tuna” Salad (A Flavorful Plant-Based Alternative)

Recipe by Teal NotesCourse: Lifestyle, Recipes


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1 can (15 ounces) of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

  • 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped

  • 1/4 cup of red onion, finely diced

  • 1/4 cup of pickles, diced into small pieces

  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise (or vegan alternative)

  • 1 tablespoon of mustard (Dijon or whole grain)

  • 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • In a mixing bowl, mash the drained and rinsed chickpeas using a fork or a potato masher until you achieve a chunky texture resembling flaked tuna.
  • Add the finely chopped celery, diced red onion, and diced pickles to the bowl with the mashed chickpeas.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, and lemon juice. Mix well to create the dressing.
  • Pour the dressing over the chickpea mixture. Gently fold all the ingredients together until they are well coated with the dressing.
  • Taste the Chickpea “Tuna” Salad and season with salt and pepper according to your preference.
  • Serve the salad as a sandwich filling, in lettuce wraps, or over a bed of mixed greens. Get creative with additional toppings and enjoy!

Now that we have gathered all the ingredients for chickpea “tuna” salad, let’s dive into the preparation and assembly process.

Follow these steps to create a delightful plant-based salad:

  1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas: Open the can of chickpeas and pour them into a colander.

    Rinse them under cold water to remove any excess brine or residue.
  2. Mash the chickpeas: Transfer the rinsed chickpeas to a mixing bowl. Using a fork or a potato masher, gently mash the chickpeas.

    Aim for a chunky texture, resembling the flakiness of tuna.
  3. Chop the vegetables: Take 2 stalks of celery and finely chop them into small pieces. Dice 1/4 cup of red onion into fine cubes.

    Similarly, dice 1/4 cup of pickles into small pieces. These vegetables will add texture and flavor to the salad.
  4. Mix the dressing: In a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup of mayonnaise (or vegan alternative), 1 tablespoon of mustard, and 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

    Stir the ingredients together until well combined. The dressing will add creaminess and tang to the salad.
  5. Combine all ingredients: Add the mashed chickpeas, chopped celery, red onion, and pickles to the mixing bowl containing the dressing.

    Gently fold all the ingredients together, ensuring the dressing coats the chickpeas and vegetables evenly. The mixture should be well incorporated.

Once you’ve completed these steps, your chickpea “tuna” salad is ready to be enjoyed!

Feel free to taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper according to your preference.

In the next section, we will explore various serving suggestions and variations to help you make the most of your chickpea “tuna” salad.

Serving Suggestions and Variations

Chickpea “tuna” salad offers a wide range of serving options and versatile variations. Here are some creative ways to enjoy this delightful plant-based dish:

  1. Traditional sandwich option: Spread the chickpea “tuna” salad onto slices of your favorite bread.

    Layer it with crisp lettuce leaves, sliced tomatoes, and avocado for a classic and satisfying sandwich.

    You can also add a dollop of vegan mayo or mustard for an extra kick.
  2. Lettuce wraps or salad bowls: For a lighter and gluten-free alternative, use large lettuce leaves, such as romaine or butter lettuce, as wraps.

    Fill them with the chickpea “tuna” salad and add crunchy toppings like shredded carrots, sliced cucumbers, and sprouts.

    Alternatively, serve the salad over a bed of mixed greens for a refreshing salad bowl.
  3. Adding additional toppings: Get creative and personalize your chickpea “tuna” salad by adding additional toppings.

    Consider ingredients like sliced ripe avocado, juicy cherry tomatoes, grated carrots, or sliced radishes.

    These toppings will enhance the flavor and texture of the salad.
  4. Substituting ingredients: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients to suit your taste and dietary preferences.

    For example, you can swap the red onion for finely diced shallots or scallions.

    If you’re not a fan of pickles, try adding chopped fresh dill or capers for a tangy twist.
  5. Flavor variations: Customize the flavor profile of your chickpea “tuna” salad by incorporating various seasonings and herbs.

    For example, you can add a sprinkle of smoked paprika or cayenne pepper for a smoky or spicy kick.

    Fresh herbs like dill, parsley, or cilantro can provide a burst of freshness.

Remember, these serving suggestions and variations are just a starting point. Feel free to get creative and adapt the chickpea “tuna” salad to your liking.

It’s all about making a dish that suits your taste buds and dietary needs.

5 Important Benefits of Chickpea “Tuna” Salad

Chickpea “tuna” salad not only offers a delicious and satisfying meal, but it also comes with an array of incredible benefits.

Tuna salad with chickpeas, arugula, tomatoes, red onion and capers.  Delicious, low-fat healthy eating.

Here are some of the advantages of incorporating this plant-based alternative into your diet:

  1. High in plant-based protein: Chickpeas, the star ingredient of this salad, is an excellent source of plant-based protein.

    They provide the essential amino acids your body needs to build and repair tissues.

    By opting for chickpea “tuna” salad, you can enjoy a protein-packed meal without relying on animal products.
  2. Heart-healthy and cholesterol-free: Unlike traditional tuna salad, which may contain high levels of cholesterol and unhealthy fats, chickpea “tuna” salad offers a heart-healthy alternative.

    Chickpeas are low in saturated fats and high in dietary fiber, which helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels and supports cardiovascular health.
  3. Suitable for vegan and vegetarian diets: chickpea “tuna” salad is a fantastic option for individuals following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.

    By replacing animal-based ingredients with plant-based alternatives, you can enjoy a satisfying and flavorful salad that aligns with your dietary choices.
  4. Customizable to individual preferences: One of the great things about chickpea “tuna” salad is its versatility.

    You can personalize the recipe to suit your taste preferences by adjusting the seasonings, adding extra vegetables, or incorporating different toppings.

    This adaptability allows you to create a salad that resonates with your unique palate.
  5. Rich in fiber and nutrients: Chickpeas are a rich source of dietary fiber, providing a range of health benefits.

    Fiber aids digestion, helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels, and promotes satiety, keeping you fuller for longer.

    Additionally, chickpea “tuna” salad contains essential nutrients like iron, magnesium, and folate, supporting overall well-being.

Incorporating chickpea “tuna” salad into your meal repertoire allows you to enjoy a nutrient-dense, protein-packed, and heart-healthy dish that caters to a variety of dietary preferences.

Now that we’ve explored the benefits, let’s move on to the practical aspects of meal-prepping and storing this delightful salad.

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Can you eat chickpeas straight from the can to a salad?

Many people choose canned chickpeas since they are pre-cooked, making them a much quicker and more convenient option. 

You can even eat them straight from the can without heating them up, which is great for salads or making hummus.

Are chickpeas carbs or protein?

Chickpeas boast an impressive nutritional profile. They contain a moderate number of calories, providing 269 per cup (164 grams). 

Approximately 67% of these calories come from carbs, while the rest comes from protein and fat.

What pairs well with chickpeas?

Chickpeas work in everything from tomato-based sauces to olive oil, broth, or wine-based sauces.

Pair them with caramelized onions, fresh herbs, spices, and an array of vegetables for a burst of color, flavor, and nutrients, and toss them with pasta or cooked rice.

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