Tangy, creamy and full of plant-based protein, this Vegan Chickpea Salad is the perfect tuna salad substitute!
I've always loved any kind of egg, chicken or tuna salad. So after I switched to a plant-based diet I knew I needed to find a vegan version to satisfy my cravings whenever they hit. I've shared this Spicy Buffalo Chickpea Salad, but today I wanted to share a non-spicy, more classic version of vegan tuna salad. Enter in: Vegan Chickpea Salad! This chickpea salad is tangy, creamy and hearty thanks to lots of vinegar, lemon juice and tahini. I love to pile this chickpea salad high on toasted whole wheat sandwich bread with lettuce and tomato for a hearty, flavorful lunch. This chickpea "tuna" salad also makes for a great dip for veggies or Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers.
Why You'll Love This Recipe!
- If you love tuna salad, but are trying to eat a more plant-based diet, this vegan chickpea salad is the perfect tuna salad substitute. Vinegar, lemon juice and tahini create the perfect sauce to give you that creamy, hearty tuna salad feel.
- This recipe only requires 8 ingredients, some of which can be swapped out depending on your taste preferences.
- Vegan chickpea salad is the perfect recipe to meal prep at the start of the week. It get's better the longer it sits in the fridge and it makes the perfect sandwich filling or dip for raw veggies.
- Chickpeas - To make this recipe really quick and easy, I usually use canned chickpeas and just drain and rinse them. To save some money, you can also cook dried chickpeas.
- Tahini - Tahini is what gives this vegan chickpea salad that nice, creamy texture that you usually get from mayo in tuna salad. When you add lemon juice and vinegar to tahini, you get an rich, tart, creamy sauce.
- Vinegar - White vinegar is my personal favorite vinegar to use in this chickpea tuna salad. It's super fresh and tart and really brightens up this salad.
- Lemon Juice - Lemon juice and tahini are match made in heaven. I like to add lots of fresh lemon juice to this salad. using my lemon squeezer.
- Celery - I personally love chopped celery in this salad as most chicken and tuna salads have celery in them. But if you prefer a different vegetable or just want to omit the celery, you can always do that.
- Red Onion - Red onion adds a little pop of color to this otherwise fairly neutral salad.
See recipe card for full list of ingredients and quantities.
Substitutions & Variations
🔀 Tahini - If you aren't a fan of tahini or can't find it where you live, you can also use vegan mayo. However, if you use mayonnaise, you may want to cut back a little on the lemon and vinegar.
🔀 Vinegar - White vinegar is my favorite vinegar in chickpea salad, but if you don't have it, you can use apple cider vinegar or just use more lemon juice.
🔀 Celery and Onion - Use your favorite crispy, vibrant vegetables or omit them all together.
How to Make Vegan Chickpea Salad
Step 1: Place the chickpeas, tahini, vinegar, and lemon juice into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until well combined, making sure to leave some texture in the chickpeas. Alternatively, if you don't have a food processor, you can use a fork to mash the chickpeas.
Step 2: Pour the mashed chickpea mixture into a bowl and add in the celery, red onion, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until combined.
Step 3: Taste the salad and add more salt if needed.
Step 4: Pile the salad high on toasted bread with crispy lettuce and tomato or use it as a dip for veggies and/or crackers
Whenever I make chickpea salad, I love to use my food processor. Pulsing the chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini and vinegar together in a food processor makes the entire process so much easier.
Another tip is to start this whole recipe by mincing your garlic in the food processor. Then add in some coarsely chopped celery and red onion and pulse again until the veggies are chopped. Remove the garlic, celery and onion from the food processor and then add in the chickpeas, lemon juice, vinegar and tahini and pulse until all of those ingredients are combined. Then mix both batches together!
Thanks to the fresh lemon juice, vinegar and salt, this Vegan Chickpea Salad stores beautifully. Simply place any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. The leftovers should last for about a week.
- If you hate mincing garlic and chopping veggies and have a food processor, let your processor do all the work! Place your clove of garlic in the processor and process it until finely minced. Then add in the celery and red onion and pulse until finely chopped. Pour this mixture into a bowl and then proceed to add the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and vinegar to the already messy processor and pulse until all of those ingredients are combined. Stir the two mixtures together and you're done! No chopping involved!
- This vegan chickpea salad tastes better the longer it sits in the fridge, so I love to make a double batch at the start of the week to have on hand for sandwiches and wraps whenever we need a quick and easy lunch.
Both tuna and mayo aren't vegan. So to make a vegan "tuna" salad we're going to use chickpeas for the main protein source and tahini instead of mayo. The combination of tahini, lemon juice and vinegar creates a creamy, tangy sauce similar to mayonnaise.
Yes! Chickpeas are vegan and are a great substitute for tuna and other animal based protein sources. They are inexpensive and can either be bought in a can or cooked from dry.
Chickpea salad makes the perfect filling for sandwiches, wraps and lettuce boats. It's also a great dip to pair with crackers and raw veggies. I'll even add it to vegan mac and cheese or stir a big dollop onto my green, leafy salads.
More Vegan Chickpea Salad Recipes!
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Vegan Chickpea Salad
- Pour the chickpea mixture into a large mixing bowl and add in the remaining ingredients. Stir well to combine.
- Taste and add more salt if needed.