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Out Of Tuna?

Sometimes an idea grabs you and you simply have to down tools and run with it.

In amongst the plethora of food blog posts that showed up in my browser today, something quite simple stopped me in my tracks, namely this post for mock tuna salad on Nomadic Gourmet. What grabbed me wasn’t the recipe per se but the idea of it, which was simply this: make a salad from lightly mashed chickpeas and then dress it as you would a tuna salad. Just that.

Now, I have cooked and eaten veritable truckloads of chickpeas in my time, but this was actually an entirely new one on me. I should also explain that it’s a long time since I’ve eaten tuna. Not only that, but tuna salad sandwiches were one of the things that I imagined I would really miss when I took up a vegetarian diet. I was going to have to give this a whirl and soon.

So, as lunchtime beckoned, I got me some chickpeas into the pressure cooker post haste. I mashed and dressed the results and thought fishy thoughts. Some lemon juice and parsley were added to the chickpeas, along with mayo, yoghurt, celery, and lots of black pepper and sea salt. A bit of chopped tomato went in there too for good measure. It was simple and yum and a reminder of the old tuna salad sandwich days. On this day of St. Valentine, I both found an old love and turned it into a new flame. It doesn’t get much better than that!

mock tuna salad

Nothing fishy about this salad

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Mock Tuna Salad with Chickpeas

This is not so much a recipe as a guideline. Use tinned chickpeas for convenience or cook up some dried chickpeas in a pressure cooker if you’re so inclined.

For 1 generous lunch portion I used:
  • 150g cooked chickpeas, mashed roughly
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • approx 1 tblsp mayo (I used Hellmans)
  • approx 1 tblsp natural yoghurt
  • freshly ground black pepper and coarse salt to taste (I used Maldon sea salt)
  • 1-2 tblsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • good splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice
The Steps:
  • Mix all of the ingredients together, adjusting quantities to your taste.
  • Serve on lettuce, crackers, pita bread or whatever else takes your fancy.
The Variations:
  • I meant to add some finely chopped red onion to this, but I forgot. I’ll do that next time.


  1. Ange

    She allowed me a morsel wrapped up in a crispy iceberg lettuce leaf and it was indeed very yummy. I had, quite by chance, gone for the fish option on this fairly mild I-feel-a-bit-salady-after-all-those-necessary-winter-warmers kinda day. Feck the fish! Pretendy fish much nicer than my cheapo supermarket prawns. You know you are thwarting every chance that I will move away in utter disgust at the available fare.Don’t let it be said that I didn’t warn ya! ;-)

  2. zerrin

    I love tuna salad in the version of lettuce and some more greens because this is the only tuna salad recipe I know. Making a salad with chickpeas and tuna is totally new to me, and you make me so curious about it. Sounds wonderful! The only thing I’m not sure is adding yogurt in it as we don’t eat yogurt and fish together here. But maybe I should try.

  3. Stacey

    This sounds so good! I am looking for chickpeas as soon as I get off this computer. I hope I did not use them all in hummus last week…. Love different sandwich fillings. Thanks for the great recipe. Keep them coming!

  4. Tangled Noodle

    Darn! Chickpeas and I can’t quite connect – our mutual friend, Allergic Reaction, gets in the way. But, as you say, the ‘idea’ is wonderful: I simply need to find a suitable sub!

  5. Natasha - 5 Star Foodie

    What a creative idea! It sounds so healthy too. I will definitely try it for lunch!

  6. Jenni

    That is a great idea! I’m not a vegetarian, but I do love my chickpeas. I could bathe in hummus. If it weren’t so thick. Anyway, I can definitely get behind this idea! Yay, chickpeas!

  7. Dana

    Tuna fish is the last thing I gave up – now 14 years ago! I never am satisfied with veg sandwiches so this is a great idea. Plus chickpeas are probably my favorite food.

  8. Daily Spud

    Ange: right, no chance you’ll be moving out anytime soon, then, I see…

    zerrin: well, you could certainly try adding a yoghurt based dressing to tuna and see what you think!

    Stacey: hope you found some chickpeas! this is, I think, a great idea for a sandwich filler

    Tangled Noodle: what a pity about your allergic reaction to chickpeas, thats a damn shame, that is

    Natasha: it’s so simple that it’s definitely worth giving it a try

    Jenni: Yay for chickpeas indeed. I’m a big fan. Really big fan. But I think you trump me with your hummus bath. I’ll just stick to wallowing in the dirt with me spuds, then, shall I? :)

    Dana: Welcome! It is a great idea for a veg sandwich, I hope you enjoy :)

  9. Maggie

    This sounds great! I bet it would be good with other canned beans, cannellini, etc as well.

  10. Chef E

    I used to make a mock salad at my cafe, but have not tried this and just bought dried chickpeas at the Indian grocer, so thinking about a new creation, this does look yummy!

  11. kickpleat

    yum, i love this salad idea!

  12. The Nomadic Gourmet

    Hey nice pic and thanks for mentioning me!

  13. Daily Spud

    Maggie: definitely worth a try with other beans I would think

    Chef E: it is yummy as I’m sure your own creations will be!

    kickpleat: it’s a good one indeed

    Nomadic Gourmet: thanks, no prob on the mention, was very happy to because it struck me as such a great idea!

  14. shane

    This seems like a great variation on an already great dish. I will definitely have to try it. It looks awesome in the photo!

  15. Daily Spud

    Thanks for the lovely comment Shane and thanks for stopping by!

  16. noble pig

    Sounds fabulous with the chickpeas!

  17. Daily Spud

    noble pig: yep – chickpeas are a winner every time!

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