Quick Chickpea Tuna | Nothing Fishy Here

chickpea tuna featured image

Chickpeas, AKA garbanzo beans, are magical morsels. They have a firm, meaty texture a nutty but subtle flavor, and they’re typically affordable and easy to find. They’re used in many vegan dishes, from classic hummus to meringue (more on that later!).

One of our favorite ways to use chickpeas is to mash ‘em up and mix in a few seasonings to create the best vegan tuna you ever had. We harness the power of dulse flakes to capture the briny taste you love. But the best thing about our Chickpea Tuna is that you can whip it up in a flash any time you want, without worrying about mercury or cholesterol. Dive in!

chickpea tuna sandwich

What’s inside 

Chickpeas/garbanzo beans: this legume is high in protein, vitamins, and minerals and it’s naturally low in sodium. We like using canned chickpeas, but if you want to make your own from scratch, feel free. The texture may be a little different.

Pro tip: Did you know you can use aquafaba, chickpea cooking water or the liquid from canned chickpeas, to make egg-free meringue? We told you they were magical! Just pour it in bowl and whip it until stiff peaks form, 3–6 minutes. 

Celery: the almost bitter herbal flavor of celery is just as important at capturing the flavors of classic tuna salad as the dulse flakes are. But if you’re in a pinch and can’t use fresh, you can add some celery seeds. Start with half a teaspoon and taste before adding more. If you want the crunch of celery as well as the flavor, you can add a mild crunchy veggie like green bell peppers.

chickpea tuna ingredients

Lemon juice: this version doesn’t have any mayo in it, vegan or otherwise. Instead, we dress it with lemon juice, which brings out the fresh flavors of the veggies and brightens everything.

Dulse flakes: the not-so-secret secret ingredient. This flaky powder is made from dried dulse seaweed. It has the benefit of adding a light briny ocean flavor while also being a natural source of iodine, which our bodies need for thyroid health.  

Let’s make Chickpea Tuna 

We use a food processor, but it’s totally optional. 

Start by putting your drained and rinsed chickpeas into your food processor and pulsing a few times to break them up. You’re going for a rough, mashed texture here similar to canned tuna, so don’t over-process or you’ll have hummus. Transfer your mashed chickpeas to a mixing bowl.

vegan chickpea tuna recipe

If you don’t have a food processor or don’t want to fool with digging it out of the cupboard, you can mash your chickpeas with a fork. This is easiest to do in a wide container with a flat-ish bottom, but use what you got. Push the flat backside of the fork down into the chickpeas to mash. You don’t need everything evenly mashed. We generally aim to mash about half the chickpeas finely and leave the other half more coarsely mashed. Transfer to a mixing bowl.

Add your celery, onion, parsley, green onion, lemon juice, dulse flakes, and salt to the bowl. 

no mayo chickpea tuna

Give it a good stir to combine everything and then taste for seasoning. 

vegan chickpea tuna

That’s it! Easy peasy.

easy chickpea tuna

Chickpea Tuna

Makes about 4 cups
Author: Molly Patrick


  • 3 cups canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed (450 g)
  • 1 cup celery, chopped (100 g)
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced (40 g)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped (3 g / any variety)
  • 2 tablespoons green onion, finely chopped (15 g)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dulse flakes or powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • Drain and rinse the chickpeas and place them into a food processor. Pulse several times, just until the beans are mashed up. Do not over process or you'll have hummus.
  • Transfer the beans to a large mixing bowl and add the celery, onion, parsley, green onion, lemon juice, dulse flakes, and salt.
  • Stir everything to mix and taste for seasoning.
plant based chickpea tuna

Ways to eat Chickpea Tuna

This recipe makes about four cups and leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for about five days. 

Make Chickpea Tuna Salad

This quick and easy Chickpea Tuna is delicious as-is, but it’s right at home with a generous scoop of Oil-Free Vegan Mayo to transform it to a tasty and cholesterol-free salad that’s perfect for sandwiches. Add it to lettuce boats or serve with crunchy veggies for gluten-free yums. 

Stuff it

If you’re feeling fancy, hollow out a few tomatoes or half a cantaloupe and stuff with Chickpea Tuna. Stuffed tomatoes or melons are an easy, but impressive, brunch dish your guests will love.

Dip it

Homemade Whole Food Plant Based Crackers have this recipes name allll over them. Cucumbers are also perfect for dipping and take a fraction of the time.

Are you a Plant Fueled Life member? Save or love this recipe so you can find it fast next time you’re craving a protein-filled snack or a quick meal.

chickpea tuna

Have you tried our Chickpea Tuna? Has it become your new go-to? Let us know in the comments below.

Here’s to a little kitchen magic.

Team Dirty

This recipe was originally featured on our blog with this interview with Dr. Michael Greger, author of How Not to Die. Check it out!

Get a weekly dose of inspiration to eat more plants and celebrate imperfection

Our Sweary Saturday Love Letters are written by our ex-boozer, ex-smoker, plant-loving co-founder, Molly Patrick.

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating

You may also enjoy...

New? Download your free Beginner's Guide and start the most delicious and rewarding journey of your life, fueled by plants.

Our mouthgasmic plant based meal plans are designed around batch cooking. Get your free Batching Handbook and dive in.

Stop junk food cravings and glow from the inside out with our easy-to-follow program. Give me the juicy details.

Love the food that loves you back

Get instant access to thousands of plant based recipes and meal plans, no credit card or perfection required.