Mock-Tuna Chickpea Salad Sandwich

As a longtime vegetarian, people sometimes ask me what I miss the most about my meat-eating days.  It’s an easy answer.  I miss turkey sandwiches…and seafood.  All seafood.  Shrimp, lobster, clam strips, scallops, swordfish, steamers, haddock, salmon…and yes,  tuna fish. 

A few years ago I heard about a “mock” tuna salad recipe using mashed chickpeas.  It’s eerie, but the chickpeas do have a bit of a tuna taste and aroma.  You wouldn’t mistake it for the real thing, but it’s still delicious.  I have updated the recipe over the years to suit my taste based on the way I used to make tuna salad.

The basics are chickpeas (aka garbanzos), mayo, spicy mustard, celery, and red onion.

Mix everything together and then get out the potato masher to break down the chickpeas.  You can mash them first if you want, or pulse them a few times in a food processor, but I like mashing everything together the old-fashioned way.

Once the consistency is to your liking, get your bread of choice, lettuce, and potato chips ready.

Yes, I said potato chips.  For saltiness and crunchy texture, I love a few kettle-cooked potato chips on this kind of “salad” sandwich.

Not too many, mind you, and make sure you press down on the top slice of bread a bit to break the chips before you bite.

Then, my friends, you are ready to eat a mock-tuna salad sandwich.  The chickpeas lend a hearty, nutty flavor while the mustard gives it a kick.  The celery, onions, and potato chips provide the crunch.  You bring the appetite.

Mock-Tuna Chickpea Salad

1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas/garbanzos, drained
2 celery ribs, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise (I use a light version)
2 Tbsp. spicy brown mustard

Combine all ingredients and mash the chickpeas with a potato masher or fork.

I suggest enjoying chickpea salad on a bed of lettuce, topped with potato chips.  I am sure, however, that it would taste just as great if you made substitutions based on however you normally enjoy tuna salad.

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21 Comments on “Mock-Tuna Chickpea Salad Sandwich”

  1. June 24, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    Loving your summer sandwich series! And I love that you put potato chips on your sandwich. I agree, they give a perfect amount of crunch and saltiness.

  2. June 24, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    WHAAAT!? I love chickpeas and this is the best idea ever. I think it would go really well with those spicy thai Kettle Chips

    • June 24, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

      that….is an amazing idea, erin! next time i will try it with a more flavorful chip!

  3. June 24, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    I actually think I might enjoy this more than a tuna sandwich. I love this idea!

    • June 24, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

      it’s so good megan! even my tuna-loving boyfriend loves it.

  4. June 24, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    I must make this now! I am so glad you put chip on your sandwich!! I do that too. Happy weekend!

    • June 24, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

      i want to make EVERYTHING you make, jen!! haha! happy weekend to you, too!!

  5. June 25, 2011 at 8:23 am #

    I just made a variation of this as well :) It was fabulous, and now I can’t wait to make more!!

  6. June 25, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    This sounds amazing!! I love chickpeas, and I’m intrigued about using them in place of tuna :)

  7. June 28, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    YAY! I LOVE chips in sandwiches- My sister and I totally thought we invented that idea when we were kids- obviously not :-) Loving the series Aim!

  8. June 29, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    When I first became vegan for a little while in high school, this was one of the first recipes I came across. I still make similar versions of it today because it’s just so good. Crunchy romaine is crucial, I’ve never put chips on it though!

  9. Anonymous
    August 8, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    It sounded strange, yet compelling. I tried it. I loved it! Thanks for the idea!


  10. March 22, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    THIS IS SO GOOD! It is super quick to make and I am obsessed with eating it on sandwiches or as dip. :) I use non-fat, plain Greek yogurt instead of mayo, and its still amazing. Loads of mustard makes pretty much everything taste amazing though :) Thanks for the idea!

  11. August 1, 2012 at 5:17 am #

    this looks so very very yummy!!

  12. September 18, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    I have to try this!!! I came across it from Whole Food Mommies. I am so excited. :) :) I love Tuna fish and it has been the only “meat” I serve on a regular basis (meaning an occasional lunch for me and the kids), so happy to have found its replacement. Thanks for sharing.

  13. October 8, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    OMG … I tried this recipe and love love love it!! It’s a keeper. I reposted it on my blog today. Thank you!!

  14. anathus
    January 21, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

    This is a great sandwich starter. I made a batch and for 1/2 I added dry seaweed for a ‘tuna fish’ flavor. the other 1/2 I added diced dill pickles.


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