Vegan tuna is perfect in sandwiches, wraps or with crackers and is ready in 10 minutes or less! Mashed chickpeas have a flaky texture that mimics tuna. It’s a plant based recipe that everyone will love.

sandwich filled with vegan tuna and lettuce, stacked halves on top of each other

Chopped nori sheets add a sea flavor to chickpea tuna that mimics real tuna. When chickpeas are mashed, they become delightfully flaky, becoming the perfect base for vegan tuna salad.

This mock tuna will be a hit with all types of eaters, and is sure to satisfy any tuna sandwich craving.

I love how it’s ready in about 10 minutes. Talk about a quick and easy weeknight meal! Serve with air fryer fries, chips, fruit or a simple salad.

Ingredients for vegan tuna (with substitutions)

  • Chickpeas – No substitute here! I used canned, but you can use from-scratch chickpeas as well.
  • NoriSheets of nori are added for a sea flavor, but leave them out if you don’t want that taste. I love it both ways!
  • Pickle relish – I used dill pickle relish, but sweet pickle relish is good, too. Or simply chop a few pickles up very small.
  • Celery – May omit if desired.
  • Red onion – I like the flavor added with a little chopped red onion, but you can leave it out.
  • Vegan mayo – Homemade vegan mayo or store bought, for that creamy taste.
  • Soy sauce – May use tamari for gluten free.
  • Black pepper

How to make it

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Drain and rinse your chickpeas and add them to a large bowl. Mash the chickpeas with a fork or a potato masher. You don’t want any whole beans left, or very few.

bowl of chickpeas being mashed with a potato masher

Chop the nori finely. You can also use a food processor or blender, but I found it easiest to simply chop it with a sharp knife. Add the nori and all other ingredients to the bowl.

bowl of ingredients including chickpeas, pickles, celery, onion and mayo

Stir well. Taste, and add salt as needed.

bowl with mixed ingredients for vegetarian tuna with chickpeas

That’s it! It really couldn’t be easier or faster to make.

My whole family loves this recipe! It’s great for packing in a lunch box, bringing to a picnic, or just as a quick and easy 10 minute meal on busy weeknights.

More chickpea recipes to love

Do you love chickpeas as much as I do? They are so delicious and versatile! Try any of these recipes:

How to store leftovers

Store leftover chickpea tuna in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 days. It makes a great meal prep recipe for lunches! I do not recommend freezing it.

Vegan tuna melt

To make a tuna melt, spread vegan butter on two slices of bread. Add some vegan tuna and a slice of vegan cheese, then pan fry until warm and melty. Enjoy!

close up of a sandwich with creamy tuna filling

Want more classic sandwiches made vegan?

sandwich stacked on a plate
5 stars (66 ratings)

Vegan Tuna Sandwich

Vegan tuna is perfect in sandwiches, wraps or with crackers and is ready in 10 minutes or less! Mashed chickpeas have a flaky texture that mimics tuna. It's a plant based recipe that everyone will love.
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • (2) 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 sheets nori, finely chopped or blended optional, for a fishy flavor
  • 4 tablespoons dill pickle relish
  • 1/4 cup celery, chopped small
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion optional
  • 1/2 cup Vegan Mayo
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, or tamari for gluten-free
  • few shakes black pepper
  • salt, to taste


  • In a large bowl, mash the chickpeas with a potato masher (or fork) until they are mostly mashed.
  • If using nori for a fishy flavor: Finely chop 1-2 sheets of nori, or use a blender/food processor to chop it up into very small pieces. I found it easiest to simply chop it up with a sharp knife on a cutting board.
  • To the bowl with the chickpeas, add the nori, pickle relish, celery, onion, mayo, soy sauce and black pepper. Stir well to combine and add salt, to taste.
  • Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes if you can, to let it get cold and let the flavors come together. You can also enjoy it right away.
  • Serve on sandwiches, with crackers, on salads on make a tuna melt with some vegan cheese. Enjoy!
  • Leftovers: Keep chickpea tuna in a covered container in the refrigerator for 4 days.


  1. If you don’t want any fishy flavor, just leave out the nori. I like it both ways!
  2. For gluten free, use tamari instead of soy sauce.
  3. Nutritional information is for the vegan tuna only, not including bread or whatever you serve it with. 
  4. For vegan tuna melts, spread vegan butter on two slices of bread. Add some tuna and a slice of vegan cheese, then pan fry until warm. 


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 281kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 316mg | Potassium: 440mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 77IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

*This recipe was originally published in May 2018, and has been republished with new photos and writing.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Read my full disclosure here.

Posted In: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

you may also like:


  1. Excellent recipe! I did tweak it. I dried the drained and rinsed chickpeas with paper towel. I lightly toasted Nori sheet, as it crumbles nicely in hands, instead of chopping.
    I eat tuna salad a couple times a week, and found this recipe a very good close second to the real thing. Thank you and well done!

  2. On thé vegan journey for about 6 months and still fining recipes for foods I really enjoyed before and OMG this chickpea tuna is amazingly delicious. Looking forward to trying out other recipes

    1. I’m so glad you loved the recipe, Robin! I hope you enjoy exploring my recipes and find lots more you love! I love creating them! Thanks for sharing your wonderful feedback!

  3. I’ve missed tuna sandwiches for far too long. This recipe, as with all of Nora’s recipes, hit the mark!!! It was so satisfying and yummy. Confession… I ate half of a tuna sandwich and half of a tuna melt in one sitting. I’m stuffed but so happy 🙂
    Question – Nora would this work in a tuna noodle casserole?

    1. I’m thrilled you enjoyed the recipe so much! It’s on repeat at my house and has been for years. I’ve never tried making a vegan tuna casserole, but it might work!

  4. So good! I don’t know if it taste like tuna, since I didn’t like tuna even before going vegan, but it reminds me of a fish roe salad my mom used to make. It’s definitely a keeper – Thank you!

    1. You bet, Shirly! I love this stuff! Thank you for your wonderful review and feedback!

  5. I just put a batch of this together about 2 hours ago and put it in the fridge do the flavors will blend. I did take a fork full an OMG I can’t wait to have it on a sandwich for lunch tomorrow! Oh I also put some on a cracker to try, yummy, yum, yum! Thanks Nora. Oh also do you have a way to finely grind or chop those nori sheets. I tryed the food processor and that didn’t work, I have one of those little spice/coffee grinder and that did ok. Seems there should be an easy way to do it?

    1. I’m glad to hear you like the vegan “tuna” salad! It’s been one of my favorite recipes for years and I make it often. Sometimes I just leave out the nori sheets, but to grind them up you can try breaking them into smaller pieces before you put them in the food processor or a blender. Sometimes just a large knife and a cutting board is easier.

  6. I’ve been meaning to make this for a long time. As a tuna fish lover, I’d normally just make tuna salad. But I’ve been trying to work with what I have in the pantry lately since grocery prices have become so horribly expensive.

    I only had one can of chickpeas, so I cut the recipe in half. The only change was no nori (I don’t think it needed it but I’ll try it next time I have some), and I used regular Mayo.

    This was so scrumptious! On some levels I preferred it to regular tuna salad. I was lucky to have fresh bakery rye bread, so I had an open-faced sandwich of this delicious salad with finely shredded carrot and sliced tomato.

    Simply, budget-friendly, adaptable, VERY tasty!

    1. Thank you for taking time to share your fabulous review and feedback! I’m thrilled you loved the vegan tuna salad! Your sandwich sounds delicious!

  7. Nora, you hit it out of the park again. I always turn to you for the best cakes and I have been looking for a vegan chickpea tuna recipe for a while and thought – I’m going to see if Nora has one. This recipe is delicious! Better than any other I have had. I made it exactly as you directed and we are blown away. This will be a regular staple in our house. Served it on Everything Bagels with melted cheese, romaine and sliced tomato. Can’t wait to eat another one tomorrow! Thank you!!!

    1. You bet,, Hilary! Your serving idea sounds amazing! I’m so glad the salad was a hit for you! Thanks for letting me know by sharing your fabulous review and feedback!

  8. This is amazing! I used onion powder because I didn’t have an onion and added some dill. Can’t wait to make it again. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.