Mock Tuna Salad


  • 1 16-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 1 teaspoon kelp powder
  • 1 rib (stalk) of celery, minced
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
  • 1/4 of an apple, diced (is about 1/4 cup)


  • Put the chickpeas in a large bowl, then mash them well.  (I used a potato masher, but a fork would likely work, too – though it would probably take a little longer.)
  • Once the chickpeas are sufficiently mashed (they shouldn’t be the consistency of a puree, but just broken into small-ish bits), add all of the remaining ingredients to the bowl.
  • Stir everything together until well-blended, then taste.  If you like what you have, refrigerate the mixture until chilled.  If you want to adjust the seasonings, tinker until you get something you like, then refrigerate until chilled.
  • The mixture can be served in a variety of ways: as a sandwich filling, amid a bed of greens, stuffed into a hollowed-out tomato (or apple), with crackers, or just eaten straight.  And there are probably several other creative serving ideas I haven’t thought of… So experiment, and find the one(s) you enjoy.  (And then let me know about them, so I can enjoy them, too!)  ;)

Makes 4-5 servings.

Nutritional information per serving for 4 servings [1/2 cup each] (approximates):
155 calories, 5 g fat, 21 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 9.5 g protein.

Nutritional information per serving for 5 servings [1/3 cup each] (approximates):
125 calories, 4 g fat, 17 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 8 g protein.

Starting at the top of the bowl in the “12-o’clock” position and moving to the right, we have: celery, mashed chickpeas, hard-boiled egg, apple, Greek yogurt and mayo. In the middle is a dollop of pickle relish, and the kelp powder.

Here’s the salad all mixed together. And yes, this is exactly how it “should” look. :)

A lovely serving of the salad. I enjoy it so much that I eat it straight – no bread, no crackers, nothing to hinder or mask its’ goodness.

The ratings:
Mental Cost (ingredient availability): Low (The kelp powder might be tricky to find, but everything else is super-common.  Most natural foods stores do sell kelp powder.)
Financial Cost (ingredient cost): Penny-pinching low
Emotional Cost (cooking skill level): Peacefully low
Time Cost (recipe preparation): Egg-timer low
Life Cost (clean up time/effort): Roomba-low
Worth It? (rate from 1-5): 4.655

The Bottom Line: Will I make this recipe again?

You know how when you’re a kid, you just assume that everyone lives the same way as your family does?  Imagine my surprise, then, when one of my little first grade friends made a face when I brought a tuna salad sandwich to school.  She was appalled that my tuna sandwich had apples in it!  And eggs?!  Ewwww, gross!

That is, she was appalled until she took a bite.  Then she got to see how awesome (and delicious) my mama’s tuna salad was, and how her crummy tuna sandwich absolutely paled in comparison.


I’ve since had the opportunity to share my mom’s tuna salad recipe with friends of all ages, and the reaction is surprisingly similar among them: They first react with aversion, then curiosity, moving to wonder, and finally resting in delight.  Who knew such a combination of ingredients could be so good?!  (Answer: My mom, of course.)

When I started to eat a vegetarian diet, I didn’t miss too many foods; but one recipe I really did long for was my mom’s tuna salad.  Every single time I eat it, I think of her; whenever I’m feeling a little homesick, or whenever I want for simpler times, I only need to take a bite or two of her tuna salad, and I genuinely feel better.  It’s one powerful recipe.

But when I omitted animals from my diet, tuna had to go as well.  Bye tuna.  I miss you…

However.  Last week’s completely revelatory mock-chicken-salad recipe infused me with unexpected hope.  If that recipe could fool my co-workers into thinking I was eating chicken salad (which it did – it was awesome), then perhaps I could try using the same core methods to create a tuna-less version of my mom’s tuna salad?

The results were pretty good – but it wasn’t quite a 100% match.  I think I need to use more kelp powder and more relish, but I’m nervous about doubling those quantities (as too much of either one can render a recipe completely inedible).  Still, that might be just what this recipe needs…. On the positive side, the celery and egg ratios were spot-on.  The apple situation is flexible; some people like the salad on the sweeter side, whereas I prefer it just-this-side of savory.  The good news is that the meal is crazy-easy to make; and it can be tweaked over and over and over, until each person finds the magic combination that pleases their taste buds best.

So while this specific recipe isn’t a 5 yet, I imagine I’ll have many more opportunities in the coming months to play with it, and get it to that place that’s perfect for me.  And every time I do, I’ll get to feel that wonderful bond with my mom – and that is worth a 10.


About Stef

A "serious" gal who is trying to remember to lighten up and smile.
This entry was posted in "tuna", chickpeas, picture step-by-step, postaweek2011, vegetarian and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s