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Vegan ‘Tuna’ Salad

Total time: 20 minutes, plus 4 hours soaking

Special Equipment: Food processor with large bowl

I first made vegan ‘tuna’ salad to help Fabio with his transition to veganism, as tuna was one of his favourites. Now, I have never had real tuna, but I have a fair inkling that this doesn’t actually taste like the real thing. Never the less, Fabio is now tuna free, and this salad is a regular feature in our lunch boxes. It is darn tasty, full of good fats, protein and omega 3s, free from animal suffering, and as an extra bonus doesn’t stink like tuna. This is my current favourite sandwich filling and cracker topping.

I’ve seen quite a lot of vegan tuna recipes out there, using all manner of combinations of nuts, seeds, beans and chickpeas. I have kept my version raw optional, using sunflower seeds and walnuts. I say optional, because this recipe calls for regular non-raw vegan mayo because it’s way cheaper and tastes better. You can of course substitute raw mayo if you prefer.

This ‘tuna’ salad makes an excellent filling for a one handed sandwich on its own (I don’t know about you, but multitasking on my lunch break is a regular occurrence for me), but when I have two hands to eat with I often throw in some thinly sliced radish, grated carrot, lettuce and some extra mayo for a full sized meal, or skip the bread all together and have it as a salad. It’s also great rolled up in a lettuce leaf with sweet chilli sauce, or eaten out of the container with a spoon when I get home from work. This keeps well in the fridge for at least a week, not that it ever lasts that long at the rate we eat it.


1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked at least 4 hours

2 cups walnuts, soaked at least 4 hours

1/3 cup lemon juice

2 tbsp olive oil (or flaxseed oil if you want those extra omega 3s and don’t mind the taste)

1 handful each of fresh parsley and dill

2 sheets nori, thinly sliced

2 large sticks celery, roughly chopped

2 large scallions, sliced (optional)

1 small red capsicum, or a combination of red, yellow and green capsicum, roughly diced

1/2 cup fluffy, creamy vegan mayonnaise, or more if you feel like it :)

Salt and black pepper to taste


1. Rinse and drain the sunflower seeds and walnuts. Try to remove as much of the moisture as possible. I put them in my salad spinner and pat dry with paper towel

2. Place the walnuts, sunflower seeds, lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, dill and nori into the large bowl of your food processor. Process until you have a fine, thick paste (around 3 minutes in my food processor). You will need to scrape the sides down a few times throughout.

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3. Add the celery and pulse until very finely chopped and evenly combined. Add the scallions and capsicum and pulse until finely chopped, but not pureed into the mixture.

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4. Remove the blade from the food processor and pour in the mayonnaise. Mix well with a spatula and season to taste. Easy peasy!

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

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