This vegan tuna salad recipe can be made into a vegan tuna melt or used in a tuna salad sandwich. It’s creamy, delicious comfort food that will bring you back to your childhood days of tuna sandwiches packed in school lunches.
A tuna sandwich is one of those recipes that reminds me of my childhood, and for some reason, I just feel like my vegan kids need to know what one tastes like as well.
Vegan chickpea "tuna" salad sandwiches are delicious and I make them frequently as well. However, I craved the taste and texture of that classic tuna sandwich that I ate as a child.
I fiddled around with ingredients and proportions until I came up with something pretty darn close to the taste and texture that I remember! This basic recipe for vegan tuna can be used to replace canned tuna in any recipe and works great in a vegan tuna casserole too!
❤️ This recipe is
- quick and easy to make.
- packed with protein.
- gluten-free if you use GF bread.
🧾 Ingredients and substitutions
- TVP (textured vegetable protein) or Butler Soy Curls - this is a dehydrated soy protein that will absorb the flavor of any broth that you rehydrate it in. (If you use soy curls, you will have to break them into smaller pieces.)
- Water - to make the broth.
- Kelp Flakes - to give it the fishy flavor. You can also use crushed-up nori.
- Oil - to give it a little moisture and mouth feel of tuna. Any neutral-flavored oil will work or you can leave it out for an oil-free tuna.
- Salt - to give it the saltiness of tuna.
- Vegan Mayo - to make it creamy. You can use any vegan mayo that you want or easily make your own with my vegan mayo recipe. For a lower-fat version, you can use my homemade vegan sour cream instead. You can even spice it up by using vegan Chipotle mayo instead.
- Pickle Relish - for added texture and flavor. You can also use sweet relish if you prefer.
- Vegan Cheese - Use any vegan cheese that you want for a tuna melt. I like my homemade vegan mozzarella.
- Bread - Any vegan bread that you like will work.
🥄 How to make vegan tuna
Step 1 - Add 1/2 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of oil, 1 teaspoon of kelp flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to a small saucepan.
Step 2 - Heat until it boils, then turn off the heat and add 3/4 cup of TVP (or Butler Soy Curls). Stir, cover, and let it sit for about 5 minutes until it absorbs all of the water.
Step 3 - Fluff with a fork and let it cool for about 15 minutes.
Step 4 - Add vegan mayo, chopped celery, pickle relish, salt, and pepper, and stir.
Step 5 - Spread it on your choice of bread, toast, or crackers.
To make a vegan tuna melt
Step 1 - Add a meltable vegan cheese-like, vegan mozzarella, and butter on the outsides of the sandwich.
Step 2 - Grill it over medium-low heat for about 3-4 minutes on each side until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted inside.
👩🏻🍳 Pro Tips
- Be sure to allow the TVP mixture to cool down before adding the mayo.
- Put the tuna salad on toast, on a lettuce wrap, or eat it on quinoa crackers. Whatever way you choose, it will be delicious!
🥡 Storage and reheating
Refrigerate: The vegan tuna salad will keep well in the fridge for 3 - 5 days in a sealed container.
Freeze: If you don't think that you can use up all the vegan tuna salad in a few days, store it in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
🌟 More vegan sandwiches
- Tofu Egg Salad
- Vegan BLT
- Chickpea Salad Sandwich
- Vegan Buffalo Chicken Sandwich
- Vegan “Fish” Sandwich
- Vegan Chicken Salad Sandwich
- Tofu Wrap
- Falafel Gyro
📌 Be sure to follow me on Pinterest for new vegan recipes!
📋 Vegan tuna melt recipe
Vegan Tuna Salad - Vegan Tuna Melt
For a tuna melt
- 1/4 cup vegan cheese like Tofutti or Daiya shreds or slices optional
- 16 slices bread of choice
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter optional (for tuna melt)
- Add 1/2 cup of water, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon kelp flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to a small saucepan.
- Heat until it boils, then turn off the heat and add 3/4 cup of TVP (or Butler Soy Curls).
- Stir, cover, and let it sit for about 5 minutes until it absorbs all of the water. Fluff with a fork and let it cool for about 15 minutes.
- Add vegan mayo, chopped celery, pickle relish, salt, and pepper then stir.
- Use as you would tuna salad.
- Store unused tuna salad in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
For tuna melt
- Put 2-3 tbsp of tuna salad mixture and vegan cheese of choice between 2 slices of bread.
- Spread vegan butter on the outsides of the bread and grill in a skillet on medium low for a few minutes on each side until golden brown and cheese is melted.
- Make sure to allow the TVP mixture to cool before adding vegan mayo.
- To make a tuna salad sandwich, put sliced tomatoes and lettuce and 2-3 tbsp of tuna salad mixture between two slices of bread.
- Vegan tuna salad will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Click the stars above or leave a comment! I'd love to hear from you!
*This recipe was originally posted on July 11th, 2017. It was updated on August 31 2021 to include new images and more detailed instructions.