I love a versatile recipe, and this vegan tuna salad is just that. It can be eaten in a sandwich, on cucumber slices for a quick, lighter snack, or with crackers as a dip. This mock tuna salad looks, feels, and tastes incredibly realistic to the real thing. It is also easy and quick to make, which I know we can all appreciate!
What do you use in place of the tuna?
For the tuna, I tear hearts of palm into small chunks to replicate chunks of the meat and mix it with smashed chickpeas. The chickpeas act as a filler and a slight binder for the salad. Hearts of palm might sound like an exotic ingredient, but it’s just the edible bud of palm trees and can be found in most grocery stores. These two ingredients together make a perfect canned tuna-like look and texture!
How do you make the vegan tuna salad taste fishy?
I combine the chickpeas and hearts of palm with rice vinegar, lemon juice, miso paste, old bay seasoning, and dulse granules. Dulse is a red seaweed and is the main ingredient that gives this salad its fishy flavor. If you cannot get your hands on dulse granules, you could always substitute it for equal parts nori powder. Take a sheet of nori and blend it in a coffee grinder to create a powder! This combination of ingredients replicates the flavor of fish, and then I add in staple tuna salad ingredients: vegan mayonnaise, celery, red onion, sweet relish, and garlic!
What do I pair with this vegan tuna salad?
One of my favorite ways to eat this vegan tuna salad is to add it to a sandwich! I like to use good quality bread or a croissant. Then I will fill it with lettuce, the mock tuna salad, tomato, and pickled banana peppers or dill pickles! It is SO tasty. For a lighter, fresh snack, I will pop the salad onto thick slices of cucumber. And if I’m feeling ultra lazy, I will scoop crackers into the salad and eat it like a tuna dip!
If you make my realistic vegan tuna salad recipe, don’t forget to post a picture to Instagram, tag me @chefsummerstorm, and #gardengrub so I can see your recreation!
How to Make the Best Realistic Vegan Tuna Salad
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp mellow white miso paste
- 1 tsp old bay seasoning
- 1 tbsp + 2 tsp dulse granules
- One 15 ounce can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed off
- One 14 ounce can whole hearts of palm, drained and rinsed off
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp sweet relish
- 1/3 cup celery, small diced
- 1/3 cup red onion, small diced
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
- To a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the rice vinegar, lemon juice, miso paste, old bay seasoning, and dulse granules. Mash with a fork until smooth.
- Now add the chickpeas into the bowl and smash them with a fork. You want to smash all of the chickpeas, so there are no whole chickpeas in the salad, but also avoid over-mashing them as you do NOT want this to turn into a puree.
- Then, using your hands, break the hearts of the palm into the bowl. The pieces should resemble chunks of tuna meat, so aim for about 1-inch pieces.
- Add the rest of the ingredients into the bowl and stir until well combined.
- Enjoy this salad in a sandwich, on slices of cucumber, or as a dip for crackers!
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