Swap out tuna for chickpeas in this mouthwatering vegan tuna salad sandwich. An easy & satisfying lunch that takes only minutes to make!
I still remember the first tuna salad sandwich I ever ate. I was over at my aunt’s house, sitting at her kitchen table. I couldn’t have been more than four or five.
She was making sandwiches for me and my cousin. I took a bite and was instantly taken with the creamy sandwich, soft white bread, and then the occasional crunch of garlicky dill pickle.
When I got home that afternoon, I couldn’t wait to tell my mom about it.
“You ate what?” she said.
I was known as being a picky eater. And that sandwich fell outside the range of what she thought I’d eat.
A few years after that, tuna salad sandwiches became one of the first things I ever learned how to “cook.”
Just open a can, add a spoonful or two of mayo, the tiniest dollop of mustard perhaps, chopped dill pickle and celery. Then add my mom’s secret ingredient – celery seed – for a little celery explosion in your mouth. Stir and slather it between two slices of bread.
It couldn’t get much easier. It was a lunch of pantry staples. Even if there was nothing else in the house to eat, there were probably ingredients for that.
Vegan tuna salad sandwich
It’s fitting then that vegan tuna salad sandwiches made with chickpeas were one of my go-to’s when I first went vegan. I ate them almost daily.
I’d have vegan tuna salad in sandwiches, scooped onto crackers, or right out of the bowl!
The process of making chickpea salad sandwiches is virtually the same as making tuna salad.
There’s one obvious exception, of course – the fish. Instead, homemade or canned chickpeas are a wonderful vegan tuna substitute.
Just like tuna salad sandwiches of yore, I always have ingredients for chickpea salad.
I pull out the vegan mayo and stoneground mustard, jar of dill pickle slices, a stalk of celery, and a pinch of my mom’s secret ingredient. Then a sprinkling of fresh or dried dill amps up the pickled flavor.
How to make vegan tuna salad
Drain and rinse chickpeas – either canned or homemade.
Then put all of the following into the food processor:
- Chopped dill pickles
- Vegan mayonnaise
- Stoneground mustard
- Celery seed
- Dried or fresh dill
- Pinch of salt
Pulse the food processor a few times, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides. You want everything to be evenly mixed.
Make sure not to over blend. You don’t want it to become hummus. You want it to still have some of its form, just crumbly and in flakes.
If there are a few whole chickpeas left in the mix, that’s fine.
Make it your own
- If you like raw onion, add a Tablespoon or two of chopped onion to the food processor as well.
- If you like fishy flavors, add dulse flakes to the food processor.
- Add more mayo if you prefer a creamier salad sandwich.
- Have the chickpea salad plain on a sandwich. Or add spinach, onion slices, and pickle planks.
- Eat chickpea salad in dollops on top of crackers.
- Roll it into a tortilla.
- Wrap it into romaine leaves or endive.
- Stuff it into a hollowed tomato.
- Or eat it straight out of the bowl with a fork!
Vegan tuna salad sandwiches are great when you’re late but need something quick to make on your way out the door. (For another easy lunch idea, vegan egg salad sandwiches are also divine!)
And the great thing is, it can be tweaked to suit your tastes and preferences, no recipe necessary. It’s so easy, even a kid could do it.
That said, here is my favorite way to make vegan tuna salad!
Vegan tuna salad sandwiches (Made with chickpeas!)
- 1 1/2 cups chickpeas 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 stalk celery chopped small
- 2 heaping Tablespoons dill pickle chopped small
- 2 Tablespoons vegan mayonnaise + extra for slathering on sandwiches (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon stoneground mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
- Pinch dried dill or chopped fresh dill
- Pinch salt
- 8 slices bread
- Put drained chickpeas, celery, dill pickle, vegan mayonnaise, stoneground mustard, celery seed, dried dill, and salt into a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are flaky and combined, but not to the point of becoming a creamy spread. (Occasionally stop and scrape down the sides, so that everything breaks up evenly.)
- Spread additional vegan mayo onto one side of the bread slices, if you like. Top four of the slices with vegan tuna salad, and then sandwich them with the remaining pieces of bread.
Originally posted July 2014. Content, recipe, and photos updated August 2019.