Sunday, January 16, 2011

Vegan "Tuna" Salad

One of the things I thought I would miss after going vegan was tuna sandwiches. Fortunately, there is a vegan substitute that is just as delicious and, unlike tuna fish salad, which I grew up erroneously believing to be a health food, the vegan version is actually not that bad for you.

There are a ton of vegan "tuna" salad recipes out there on the internet, and I've tried quite a few different variations, but for me, they were all missing something.  I grew up on tuna salad with chopped boiled eggs in it, which I guess is a regional thing, and that was the flavor I have been missing.  So since I have been cooking with black salt quite a bit lately, I decided to add it to my mock tuna salad, and it worked!

Vegan "Tuna" Salad

1.5 cups cooked chickpeas (if canned, drain & rinse)
1 tbsp vegan mayonnaise (I use Vegenaise, but Nayonnaise could work just as well)
1 tsp mustard
2 tbsp sweet pickle relish
3 generous pinches black salt (Kala Namak - salt with a sulfurous smell/taste; can be purchased in some health food stores or online)
1/2 tsp kelp powder (optional)

Using a fork, coarsely mash chickpeas.  It is okay to leave a few chickpeas whole, as it gives the mixture a nice texture.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Serve on a sandwich, over lettuce, or even alone, if you like.  Makes about 3 servings.

I'm a sandwich girl myself.  I usually add tomato right before eating.

If you didn't grow up on the tuna & egg salad like me, then you could use the basic mashed chickpeas and vegan mayo and customize it to your own taste, by adding chopped celery or other ingredients that say "tuna salad" to you.  Whatever your veggie add-ins, you will be avoiding the problems with the original, like mercury-laden tuna and eggy, fatty mayo, while still getting a delicious, high protein lunch.  

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and that most of you are off tomorrow.  I'm not, but at least I'll be earning a floating holiday and having a fantastic sandwich!


  1. Hi, Georgia!

    My paternal grandmother always made a tuna & egg salad (and she was an 11th generation New Englander!), but served it as a salad on a bed of lettuce rather than in sandwiches. I'd forgotten about that till I read this post! Clever of you to find another good use for your Kala Namak and great that you can enjoy a favorite dish from your childhood, now cruelty and toxin-free! :-)

    Like you, I'd thought I'd miss my tuna sandwiches (tuna was one of the last things to go when I went vegan), but quickly discovered a vegan tuna salad that I loved, and have made changes to it over the years so that now I love it even more. I'd planned to post it in November during Vegan MoFo (I wasn't officially participating but was posting occasional recipes from the sidelines), but couldn't squeeze it in. I'll post it and my eggless egg salad recipes one of these days. (So much to blog about, so little time!)

    Enjoy your holiday and your sandwich tomorrow! :-)

  2. That's funny, I guess it's not regional after all then. I did some googling and found some people complaining about egg in tuna salad, and the midwesterners and southerners were responding saying, what's the problem? Haha.

    Can't wait to see your recipe and the "egg" salad. I haven't had egg salad for years, but I remember loving it as a kid also. I must have phased it out because I thought it was too high calorie/high fat. Those two "salads" were really the only thing I ever ate with mayonnaise, because I hated it so much. But Vegenaise, on the other hand, I could probably eat straight out of the jar!

  3. Great use for the black salt.. I am cooking up a pot of chickpeas tomorrow.. I just need to get some relish (although I do have pickles I could add some stevia to).. I am soo making this!

  4. Oh good, let me know how it goes for you! I made a big pot of chickpeas last week and this was one of my uses for them. Tomorrow, I'll use the rest in the chickpea piccata from Appetite for Reduction.

  5. I'm sorry it's taken me this long to reply to you! I feel like I walked out on a wonderful conversation! :-)

    That same grandmother made another dish that I don't remember as well, but I'm pretty sure it also had tuna (if not, then it was canned salmon), along with hard boiled egg slices and a white sauce, served hot over toast. I've never seen nor heard of any dish like it since, but obviously she, at least, dug the tuna and hard boiled egg combo. She used white sauce a lot too, and that, I'm pretty sure, is very much a New England thing. I suppose I could try to create a vegan version of that particular dish of hers, but I wasn't fond enough of it to go to the trouble!

    I always loved mayo (my mom and I loved to eat peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches, which always grosses everyone out when either of us mention it!) :-) And I loved Vegenaise even more (the Grapeseed oil version was our fave). It was one of the very few things I found hard to give up as a McDougaller, but now I make my own oil free mayo out of cashews and tofu. Though not nearly as tasty as Vegenaise, it works well in something like my eggless egg or tuna-less tuna salads.