This vegan tuna salad sandwich is the perfect alternative to tuna salad and is completely mayo-free. Avocado makes up the creamy base for this salad that includes chickpeas, celery, onion, pickles, and dijon mustard. It’s perfect with your favorite sandwich bread or to add to a wrap or a salad. 

Close up view of a chickpea salad sandwich with onion, lettuce and sprouts.

Chickpeas make a great alternative to tuna salad because they are dense, flavourful, and high in protein and fiber. They’re great in this recipe for a quick lunch, dinner, or snack that will keep you satisfied. 

With ingredients like celery, onion and dijon, the flavours in this dish are reminiscent of classic cold tuna or egg salad, however, instead of mayo, avocado is used to make the salad deliciously creamy.


Features

  • Great plant-based recipe vegans and omnivores will enjoy. 
  • Quick and easy to make with just a few simple ingredients.
  • Avocado as a replacement for mayo adds a creamy texture and added fiber and healthy fats which makes it a healthy alternative.
  • Canned chickpeas are an inexpensive main ingredient making this recipe budget-friendly and convenient.
  • You can add vegan tuna salad to wraps, bread, or eat on top of any green mixed salad with your favorite dressing. 

Ingredients You’ll Need

Complete list of ingredients with amounts and instructions is located in the recipe card. Scroll down or use the Jump to Recipe button at the top for quick access.

Visual of ingredients needed for making chickpea salad, each ingredient labelled with text.
  • Chickpeas – Drained and well-rinsed canned chickpeas work great but you can use cooked from scratch too, you’ll need about 3 cups.
  • Avocado – Used to replace mayo, which would traditionally be used here. Make sure you use ripe avocado!
  • Celery – I love celery in “tuna” salad but if you’re not a fan you can leave it out.
  • Red Onion – If you don’t have red onion on hand, shallots, white onion or yellow onion are also fine.
  • Dijon Mustard – Any dijon or yellow mustard works well.
  • Pickles – I like dill pickles best but any kind of pickle works. Relish would also do the trick!
  • Salt & Pepper – Added to season the chickpea salad properly. 
  • Sandwich Bread – Any kind works so use whatever you enjoy!

How To Make Vegan Tuna Salad

Step 1. Pulse the garbanzo beans in a food processor a few times until they have a flaky texture. Depending on your food processor you may need to scrape down the sides once or twice to full incorporate all the chickpeas.

They don’t need a lot of processing, just enough to get a flaky canned “fish” texture. Pulse 3-4 times, then scrape down the bowl if needed and pulse 1-2 more times.

What if I don’t have a food processor? It’s a little more work but i you don’t have a food processor, mash the chickpeas in a bowl using with fork. You could also carefully use an immersion blender in a large bowl, just be careful so chickpeas don’t go flying all over the place!

Blended chickpeas in a food processor.

Step 2. Mash the avocado using a fork in a large mixing bowl.

Mashed avocado in a large glass mixing bowl.

Step 2. Add the chickpea mixture and the rest of the ingredients to the avocado and stir to fully combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

  • add more salt and pepper if needed, I like a fair amount of sea salt here!
  • add more pickles for texture and flavour, a bit of the pickle juice also works well
  • add more mustard for tanginess
  • add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime for acidity
  • add kala namak salt to make it like egg salad

Step 3. Serve as is or spread it between two slices of your favourite sandwich bread.

Chickpea salad spread on a piece of bread.

It’s delicious as is or dressed up with onion, lettuce, sprouts, onion, pickles, dijon and any other sandwich fillings you enjoy.

Front view of a chickpea salad sandwich with sprouts, pickles and red onion on it.

Serving Ideas

FAQ


What’s another mayo substitute besides avocado?

Plain dairy-free yogurt, tahini and hummus all work well to create the creamy base. Check out this curried chickpea salad for an example of using yogurt.

Can I use mayo instead of avocado?

Sure! You can swap the avocado for 1/2 cup of your favourite vegan mayonnaise. Check out these spicy chickpea wraps for an example of using mayo,

Does vegan tuna salad taste like fish? 

Vegan chickpea salad does not have any trace of fish taste. You can add some by chopping up nori or any roasted seaweed snacks and mixing that in.

Can I use a fork to mash the chickpeas?

You can, but it may take a lot longer and the chickpeas may not break down as much. If you don’t have a food processor, try using a potato masher or immersion blender.

Two halves of a chickpea sandwich with sprouts and lettuce stacked on top of each other.

Storing & Freezing

  • The recipe makes a fair amount and because of the avocado, it’s best consumed within 1-2 days. I would recommend making half or even quarter of the recipe for a smaller serving if you won’t be eating within a day.
  • Storing: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days.
  • Freezing is not recommended.
Print
Front view of a chickpea salad sandwich with sprouts, pickles and red onion on it.

Vegan Tuna Salad Sandwich

  • Author: Katie
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Handheld
  • Method: Food Processor
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

A delicious chickpea “tuna” salad, made with chickpeas and avocado! This tasty, versatile recipe is vegan, mayo-free and easy to whip up in minutes.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 15 oz. cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed (3 cups)
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and mashed (120 g)
  • 2 celery stalks and leaves, minced (1 cup, 140 g)
  • ½ red onion, minced (1/2 cup, 70 g)
  • 12 tbsp dijon or yellow mustard (30 g)
  • 2 tbsp minced dill pickles (20 g)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • sandwich bread, for serving

Instructions

  1. Pulse the garbanzo beans in a food processor. They don’t need a lot of processing, just enough to get that flaky “fish” texture. Pulse 3-4 times, then scrape down the bowl and do a few more, if needed.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mash the avocado into a paste using a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients, including the blended chickpeas and stir until fully incorporated.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  4. Enjoy as is or scoop onto your favourite sandwich bread topped with sprouts, pickles, onion and lettuce!

Notes

Nutrition facts are estimated for chickpea filling only and do not include bread.

Leftover salad is best consumed within 1-2 days due to the fresh avocado. The recipe makes quite a lot so feel free to half or even quarter it if you won’t be eating it all within 1-2 days. It would be find to eat after 3-4 days but note it will brown due to the avocado. This recipe is not suitable for freezing.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/6th of recipe
  • Calories: 181
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 24 g
  • Fiber: 9 g
  • Protein: 8 g

Keywords: vegan tuna salad, vegan chickpea salad sandwich

Originally published December 14, 2014.