Updated: Jul 13
All I want all summer long (besides air conditioning in this godforsaken country during a climate-emergency-caused heat wave) (and for people to realise how urgently we need to act to address said climate emergency, but you know, they love meat!) is chickpea tuna salad. I used to be, all those decades ago, someone who had tuna salad a lot. A lot a lot. Kinda gross thinking about that now! Luckily for us, vegan versions are easy, flexible, and delicious as well as cruelty-free (honestly that sentence can apply to virtually anything you can think of; go vegan).
I have to explain more about what we are making here: American-style tuna fish salad. I say I have to specify because when I googled 'tuna fish salad' on the BBC website, it gave me endless recipes for actual salad salads, like with vegetables, with like seared tuna on top. That is not what's happening here, folks! American tuna fish salad, that old-school lunch counter and deli staple, is a mayo-filled goopy mixture that fills sandwiches in obscene amounts, and is shockingly amazing even if you aren't George Constanza. (This is the 'TOO MUCH TUNA!' kind of tuna referenced throughout Nick Kroll and John Mulaney's (masterpiece) "Oh, Hello!" which you can find on Netflix.)
The key here is...a lot of mayonnaise. I'm sorry, because mayo is gross and I never, ever eat the stuff because it makes me do this:
But we gotta use it, because that's the key ingredient for that classic tuna fish salad texture and taste. Vegan mayo is, of course, less gross than its original counterpart, because you aren't eating a blob of oil and egg yolk (ump there's that face again), and it has been incredibly easy for me to find now in the UK. In one Tesco, I found Heinz, Tesco Free From store brand, Tesco Plant Chef store brand, Wicked Kitchen, Follow Your Heart's Vegenaise (the original and the best), and Hellman's. (Legal info in case you're interested: I refuse to buy Hellman's because in 2014 its parent company Unilever sued the maker of Just Mayo for using the word 'mayo' in its product, alleging that was false advertising because the word 'mayo' can only be used for an egg-based product. They also complained about Just Mayo taking market share away. But then shortly after Hellman's lost the suit, it debuted its own vegan mayo...so...FISHY, RIGHT? YEAH. UNLIKE THIS RECIPE.)
For this recipe, I'm going to say in the directions that you 'mash chickpeas with a fork'. But, guys, I'm lying. Mashing chickpeas with a fork does not work, unless maybe you've cooked them from the dried beans and they are super duper mushy. For canned beans, I'm gonna be straight with you: you need to squeeze each one with your fingers. I'M SORRY but that's the only way to get the best texture. You can do the mashing with the fork thing, but it will be like a very cursory overview of mashing. You can use a food processor, but then you run the risk of the mixture becoming TOO uniform. You want it somewhat mushed but with some visible chunks for texture. And the only way to really get that is to...squeeze each chickpea with your fingers. Think of it as pre-hab for wrist and hand strength. If you're a rock climber or a yogi you'll love this!!
VEGAN CHICKPEA TUNA SALAD
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3-4 ribs celery, chop that crap up finely
1/3 cup vegan mayo (I KNOW UGH)
Salt and pepper to taste
Squeeze of a lemon
Optional: dash of garlic powder; pinch of nori or dulse flakes
Get a big bowl and throw your chickpeas into it, one by one (just kidding).
Mash them with a fork (LIES BALDFACE LIES).
When you realise that the above did not work great, squeeze the whole ones with your little fingies.
Add the chopped celery and the mayo and mix mix mix till all combined. You can't overmix here, it's not cake (next time).
Add salt and pepper to taste. I like a lot of pepper and a little salt. You might be the opposite! Squeeze just a bit of lemon.
Add your optional ingredients to taste! I love adding the seaweed flakes for a bit of that fishiness, but this week I was out of them, and I enjoyed it just as much without the seaweed.
Take a gigantic scoop of this shiz and put it between two slices of amazing bread (the sandwich pictured is on Dave's Killer Bread, which I finally got to try!) along with some crispy lettuce. (By 'some', I mean all the lettuce you can fit on a sandwich, ugh it's so good.)
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do! You can see it's very simple to make, and it's also very flexible. Go nuts adding your own twists to it to taste. Maybe you throw in a little nooch! Maybe a little bit of chopped pickles, or maybe jarred capers and their juice! I'm not fancy so I'm set with my perfectly mashed beans and that goopy junk in excess that give me that nostalgic flavour, but make this yours! Happy weekend!