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 (57 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 mins
Total: 10 mins
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.

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  1. I always make this delicious mock tuna salad . I chop some dill pickles in ( had no relish)and peppers . So yummy Thank you

    1. You are welcome, Kay! I’m so glad you are loving the tuna salad! Thanks for sharing your fabulous feedback and review!

  2. I’ve made this salad way too many times to count. It always hits the spot! The only change I make it to use scallions in place of the onion, just as a personal preference.

    I LOVE the blog redesign by the way 🙂

  3. This recipe is incredible! I can’t believe how similar it is to tuna salad. I didn’t use the nori and added extra celery and onion, and it turned out amazing! I made this recipe as a meal prep for sandwiches this week. I let my fiancé try some and he was very impressed. We both couldn’t stop eating it with crackers last night. I sent him the recipe and now he wants to make it for his lunches as well! Thank you for another great easy recipe! 

    1. That’s so wonderful to hear, Nicole! I’m happy to hear this is going to be a new meal prep option for you two 🙂 Thanks so much for your feedback and review!

  4. I just made this and absolutely LOVE it! I didn’t have any nori sheets, so I used Trader Joe’s Nori Komi Furikake seasoning and it’s so good! When I wasn’t a vegetarian, tuna was one of my favorite summertime foods. Thank you for letting me be able to enjoy a meat free favorite again.

  5. So GOOD! I never liked tuna fish sandwiches personally due to the fishy ness. Ever since I’ve became a vegetarian I have struggled with meal ideas but trying this today gave me hope for more recipes to come. The flavor was super good! I’m impressed. I look forward to trying more of Noras recipes. Next is the chicken noodle soup. 

  6. Delicious. Super simple. Keeps well in the fridge. Great for take-away sandwiches. No complaints!

    1. Hi Tyler. I’m happy you are loving the tuna salad! It’s one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing your feedback!

  7. ever since i went vegetarian many years ago, i’ve missed a good tuna sandwich. this is so amazing it’s actually unreal that i’m not eating fish! thank you for sharing. 

  8. I’m not sure if reviewed this the first Tim e I made it. If I could give this 10 stars I would. Hands down the best vegan tuna on the web (I’ve tried a lot). Thank you for sharing your recipes with the world. You are an exceptional cook.

    1. Thank you so much for your wonderful review and feedback, Lyn! I’m so happy you loved the tuna salad!

  9. I have to retract my previous comment. Again, it was very good as made exactly to the instructions. Half a day later resting in the refrigerator, it was very much like tuna salad. Mind blown.

  10. This is delicious! I was a little weirded out by the tamari addition but it is delicious. Thank you.

  11. I was apprehensive about making this because I didn’t think it would be a good substitute  but I could not have been more wrong…..sorry for doubting you Nora!!

    I have yet to be dissatisfied with any of your creations!! you are my go to for any recipe  Thanks for all you create!!

    1. Thank you for your wonderful feedback, and for your confidence in my recipes! I’m so glad you are enjoying them! I also love the deliciousness and freshness of this recipe! Wishing you lots of happy cooking!

  12. Hello! I was looking up your tuna salad recipe and I noticed it changed. Do you still have the old recipe? It’s our favorite and I haven’t written it down. Thank you!

    1. Hi there! So the only real change is the addition of nori for a “fishy” flavor, but you can absolutely leave it out. I think the older version called for chopped dill pickles instead of relish, but either works. Otherwise, it’s the same. 🙂

  13. Wow, so good! I did not use the nori, and I don’t think i missed a thing without it. I think the key to this recipe is the use of a potato masher for the perfect consistency, and the addition of the soy sauce. I used Low Sodium soy, and it turned out great. Thank you for another great recipe, Nora.

    1. I’m so glad you shared your ideas, and that you love the vegan tuna salad! I appreciate your fantastic review!

  14. I loved it!! Everything about this recipe was delicious.  I made the mistake of not having a level 1/2 C of Mayo and it ended up being a little too wet, but still tasty! My kids thought it was ok, didn’t rave about it, but they don’t like tuna fish to begin with, so next time I will omit the seaweed. This was super simple to make and will definitely be one of my quick go-to recipes on nights when I’m in a pinch 

  15. I’ve tried most of your recipes and they never fail! Absolutely delicious!!! Thank you Nora for making my life a little bit easier with your recipes ?.

    1. Hi Ann. Thank you for your great review! I appreciate your previous comments ! This is one of my favorite sandwiches all year round! Wishing you happy cooking!

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