This vegan tuna salad with chickpeas & pasta is inspired by the classic tuna macaroni salad. It’s packed with protein and fiber and is an excellent lunch or snack.
Making this recipe is so nostalgic for me. I remember my mom making tuna macaroni salad when I was little. It was so good! When she would make it, I knew we were going to a picnic or BBQ. Even though I haven’t had it in years, I wanted to challenge myself and make a vegan version. Serve the salad as a side dish or for dinner. It also makes a great sandwich filling!
Why you’ll love this vegan tuna pasta salad
- Easy to make
- Lots of protein & fiber
- A great option for picnics, parties, & potlucks
Vegan Tuna Ingredients
- Chickpeas – Tuna replacement; To make this recipe easy, I use canned chickpeas. You can use dry chickpeas as well.
- Pepper, Salt, Garlic Powder, Smoked Paprika – These spices enhance the flavor.
- Pickle relish – I love sweet pickle relish. Feel free to use dill pickle relish or chop a few pickles up very small.
- Lemon juice – This vegan tuna recipe wouldn’t be complete without it. It adds a bright essence to the recipe.
- Capers – The flavor adds a floral tartness. Optional ingredient.
- Nori – Nori sheets are added for a seafood flavor, but this ingredient is optional.
- Dill – Love adding it for the green color and bright flavor.
- Celery – For the crunch and flavor. May omit if desired.
- Onion – Use any onion of your choice. It adds great flavor. Leave out if desired.
- Vegan mayo – I use Follow Your Heart vegan mayo for that creamy taste. May substitute with tahini.
- Tamari – Is a gluten-free soy sauce. It adds a nice umami flavor.
How to make vegan tuna salad with chickpeas & pasta
- Firstly, prepare pasta according to package instructions. Drain. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread pasta in an even layer on a prepared baking sheet; let cool completely, about 20 minutes.
- Secondly, rinse and drain your chickpeas.
- Thirdly, combine vegan mayonnaise, relish, onion, capers, celery, dill, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika in a large bowl.
- Finally, add chickpeas and cooled pasta; stir well to combine. Keep covered. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours. Garnish with dill sprigs, if desired, and serve.
Vegan Tuna Q&A
The vegan “tuna” in this recipe is made of chickpeas, celery, nori, dill, vegan mayo, onion, tamari, relish, lemon juice, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and garlic powder.
No, tuna fish is an animal. However, there are several ways and countless plant-based recipes to replicate the flavor and taste.
You can replace tuna with chickpeas or hearts of palm.
How to prepare and store this dairy-free tuna pasta salad
- Prepare in advance: This recipe can be prepared a day in advance. It tastes just as delicious the next day.
- Fridge: Store the chickpea “tuna” salad in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Freezer: Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
Tips for making vegan tuna salad with chickpeas
- Can sub vegan mayo with tahini.
- Can sub chickpeas for black beans, kidney beans, lentils, etc.
- Add more veggies or fruit, like tomatoes, peas, bell peppers, carrots, or even avocado.
- Feel free to make gluten-free with gluten-free pasta/macaroni.
- Make oil-free by using an oil-free mayo.
More Chickpea Recipes
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Vegan Tuna Salad with Chickpeas
- 4 cups pasta (of your choice) cooked
- 1/2 cup vegan mayo
- 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish can sub for dill pickle relish; optional
- 1/2 cup onion finely chopped
- 2 tbsp capers drained; optional
- 1 tbsp fresh dill chopped
- juice of 1 lemon
- salt & black pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 can of chickpeas rinsed & drained
- 1/2 cup celery finely chopped
- 1 tsp tamari optional
- 1-2 nori sheets finely chopped; for sea flavor; optional
- Prepare pasta according to package instructions. Drain. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread pasta in an even layer on a prepared baking sheet; let cool completely, about 20 minutes.
- Combine vegan mayonnaise, relish, onion, capers, celery, dill, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika in a large bowl.
- Add chickpeas and cooled pasta; stir well to combine. Keep covered. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour or up to 2 hours. Garnish with dill sprigs, if desired, and serve.
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