Sea-sational Chickpea Salad

by on September 8, 2010
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Sea-sational Chickpea Salad

Eaten any good algae lately?  Chances are you have, even if you didn’t know it.  Algae, or sea vegetables, are used as stabilizers or thickeners in everything from mayo to ice cream, and even if you avoid processed foods, you’ve probably enjoyed sushi wrapped up in nori or miso soup flavored with wakame.  But if you aren’t a fan, there are several good reasons to start developing a taste for them.  Besides providing the “broadest range of minerals of any food,” sea vegetables contain phytonutrients called lignans that protect against cancer, iodine that promotes healthy thyroid function, and folic acid that prevents birth defects and heart disease.  But perhaps the best reason to eat them is for the unique flavor and texture they add to dishes.

For me, a little bit of “sea”soning goes a long way.  I can’t stand food with a strong fishy taste, so I use sea vegetables very carefully and have come to know which ones are mild and which ones can be overpowering if misused.  (I once had to triple the liquid in a miso soup because the wakame I sprinkled in too generously made it too fishy to eat.)  I’m very careful with hijiki and wakame and even know which brands of nori will be too strong, but I’ve found that I can’t add too much arame:


If you’re just learning to cook with sea vegetables, arame is a good one to start with.  It has a much milder taste than other seaweeds, and its long, thin strands rehydrate in just five minutes.  Arame adds a delicate flavor and interesting texture to burgers, “crab” cakes, or salads, like this one, and once it’s rehydrated, it can be stir-fried along with other vegetables or used as a garnish on salads, sandwiches or just about anything.  Try it in this chickpea salad, and feel free to add more if you like your salad to taste more “tuna-y.”

Sea-sational Chickpea Salad

More Salads to Consider:


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{ 84 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elessar Tetramariner September 8, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Gosh darnit, Susan, this looks delicious. The last meat I ever at back in ’72 was tuna (I had to spit it out because it tasted wrong, as a new vegetarian. I knew then I could never turn back to being a meat eater.) You cannot get either arame or Old Bay Seasoning here in the wilderness. I have wakame, nori, kombu…and have been carrying them around for YEARS hoping someone would be interested…


2 Ricki September 8, 2010 at 3:07 pm

I love arame–it’s absolutely my favorite sea veggie–and I an just taste how delicious this salad must be! I love how the chickpeas and tofu together are used as a kind of mayo/binder, too. 🙂


3 Tess September 8, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Always looking for new ways to incorporate sea veggies. This looks delish!


4 Magda September 8, 2010 at 3:58 pm

I have arame but I don’t use it very much, sometimes with edamame. More often I eat kombu or wakame with a miso soup. I make a broth for miso with kombu soaked in water and I also try not to use a lot of sea vegetables because their strong flavor might bother me sometimes.


5 dhyana September 12, 2010 at 6:35 pm

a macrobiotic cooking teacher gave me the sea-veggie tip of a life time — use fresh ginger — it neutralizes the fishy taste — works every time! bon apetite!


6 Maria September 8, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Yum! This looks amazing but alas, all I have ever had is the sheets of nori in a veggie roll. I may have to venture out a bit to find such yummies now. Question — How does one keep these items, in the refrigerator, pantry shelf, and what is the general shelf life of such items?


7 SusanV September 8, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Since they’re dried, they’ll keep almost indefinitely if you keep them sealed tightly. Plus, you can find them in bulk at natural food stores, allowing you to just buy a little at a time.


8 Carin September 8, 2010 at 6:14 pm

Hi Sue:
This recipe sounds very good! I’m definitely going to try it. Can you tell me about your MyPoints program you use to do the nutritional analysis of your recipes and where it is found?


9 SusanV September 8, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Carin, I use a program called Living Cookbook that enables you to set a formula to use when calculating points. The Weight W@tchers’ formula is patented, but if you search you can find it online and use it to figure out the points as long as you know the number of calories, fat grams, and fiber in a serving.


10 Carin September 9, 2010 at 7:13 am

Thanks Sue for the info.


11 Carin September 9, 2010 at 7:22 am

Wow!! Sue the software for Living Cookbook is awesome. I’m definitely getting it. Once again.


12 Maria September 8, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Thanks for the info Susan.


13 Connie September 8, 2010 at 6:25 pm

I really want to incorporate more sea vegetables into my diet and I’ve found that the Asian grocer down the street stocks quite a bit of it- problem is all the labels are in Japanese or Korean. And well, dried sea veggies can look an awful lot like dried parts of animals or other weird things.


14 JL Goes Vegan September 8, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Another gorgeous recipe! Thank you!


15 Amber Shea @Almost Vegan September 8, 2010 at 8:50 pm

I too am averse to fishy flavor, though I want to find ways to include sea vegetables in my diet. Do you think dulse would work in this? I happen to have a bag lying around here somewhere…


16 SusanV September 8, 2010 at 8:57 pm

I would just rehydrate the dulse and then chop it and add it to taste. I hope you enjoy it!


17 Veronica (lifewithnature) September 9, 2010 at 8:18 am

It looks delicious. The texture really reminds me of tuna salad. I’m slowly starting to get used to seaweed taste. It’s sooo healthy that I convinced myself to acquire this taste.


18 Lori September 9, 2010 at 11:54 am

I love that this doesn’t have any mayo in it – definitely going to give it a try. Thanks, Susan!


19 Ms_Min September 9, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Made this for dinner tonight. After the first bite, my 15 year old son (not a vegan), said, “Hey, this is like tuna salad!” Both kids and DH loved it. We made sandwiches with it and slices of garden tomatoes and cucumbers…a really good, quick and easy weeknight dinner. It was a little thin to put on a school-lunch sandwich (it would goop out the side), but for a sandwich at the dinner table it was perfect. We’re having it again soon.
Nice job!


20 JillS. September 10, 2010 at 8:57 am

I am just starting to try sea vegetables. Thanks for the info on arame – sounds just like what I need to dip my toe in the water. Recipe looks great!


21 Maggie September 10, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Made this last night and just had it for lunch today — AMAZING. I’ve been missing tuna salad so this hit the spot. I used Wakame instead of Arame because I already had some at home. I didnt have smoked paprika or old bay seasoning so instead I used spike, salt, lots of black pepper and some cayenne.

So delicious, I cant thank you enough for sharing this!


22 Jessica September 11, 2010 at 7:03 am

Hi Susan. If I use ground nori instead of arame, will I need to soak it first? Thanks.


23 SusanV September 11, 2010 at 7:08 am

No, I would just sprinkle it on to taste. The salad will moisten it enough.


24 nicole September 11, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Hi Susan..I just wanted to check first, is 1/2 C of the tofu equal to half a package of the silken tofu? Or would it be more like a 1/3 of the block? Thanks!


25 SusanV September 11, 2010 at 10:27 pm

It’s closer to 1/3 of a package. Enjoy!


26 Sheryl September 11, 2010 at 11:07 pm

The dish looks great and I was wondering if is it possible to use a term other than ‘birth defects’. It implies that people with disabilities are “defective” and that’s kind of offensive. How about ‘birth disabilities’ instead? It’s clear and direct without being demeaning. Thanks!


27 Allison October 6, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Are you high?


28 VeganInTheKitchen September 12, 2010 at 7:53 am

I can’t wait to try this!


29 carol - ley de atraccion September 12, 2010 at 4:31 pm

it looks great! thanks for the contribution!


30 Liz September 12, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Thanks for the link. Your recipe is such a creative combination of flavors, I don’t think I ever would have thought to mix arame and Old Bay!


31 Kelly September 13, 2010 at 9:43 am

Sounds yummy! I love chickpeas and have chickpea “faux tuna salad” at least once a week if not every day 🙂 I’ve just started using nori (broken unto pieces) and like the more real fish flavor it gives. You have such beautiful photography on here!


32 Lavern September 15, 2010 at 9:36 am

thanks for sharing this recipe. i really love it. i tried it once and i can’t wait to have it again. everyone should have to try this. it’s healthy food. good for everyone. enjoy! 🙂


33 kensington cooker September 15, 2010 at 7:30 pm

I’ve been enjoying your delightful recipes for months. For a person who follows the Ornish plan to keep cholesterol in check, your site is perfect. High time I expressed some appreciation. I’ve had some nori languishing on a shelf for months, so I used that instead of arame. I hadn’t seen your reply about using nori dry so I soaked it, but that worked out well because adding the soaking water enhanced the sea taste. I don’t have a food processor but it was easy to mash/chop the ingredients the old fashioned way, by brute force ( don’t worry, it was fairly gentle brute force). And no smoked paprika around so I used regular pap and a drop of liquid smoke. It came out yummy despite all those deviations, another thing I like about your recipes. PLUS, it was easy. No more tuna envy! You have become an indispensable presence in my kitchen, Susan. Thank you so much.


34 KadyM September 16, 2010 at 7:10 am

Those look absolutely delicious… I often throw chickpeas in stews/pasta bakes so now I’ve found a new use for them! Thanks for sharing…


35 moonsma September 16, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Made it for lunch. It was delicious!!


36 Ryann McQuarrie-Salik September 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm

So inspiring! I just pressure cooked some dried chickpeas w/ kombu and some crumpled nori to do a “Chick-pea of the Sea” and the results were incredible. If I ever get around to launching my new vegan/healthy living site, I’ll show you the pictures!

Thanks for always keeping us fed!


37 Heather Loves Healthy Vegan Recipes September 18, 2010 at 4:13 am

nice recipe, I’ll have to try this! Just wondering – what is Old Bay seasoning? Is there a mix of individual herbs/spices I can mix up to approximate this?


38 sepeters December 20, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Try this:
1 tbsp whole celery seed, 1 tbsp whole peppercorn, 4-6 bay leaves, 4 whole cloves, 1 tsp paprika (not smoked), 1/2 tsp whole cardamom, 1/2 tsp whole mustard seeds, 1/4 tsp fenugreek, 1/4 tsp mace.
Give it all a good whir in the spice or cleaned coffee mill.


39 kensington cooker September 18, 2010 at 12:31 pm

The label on my can of Old Bay mentions” spices and herbs including” red pepper, black pepper, salt, and paprika. Of course the details and proportions are a trade secret.


40 moonwatcher September 18, 2010 at 10:44 pm

Hi Susan–

This looks great, and I look forward to trying it. As you know, I love sea veggies as much as you love hot peppers and spices! This will be a fun thing to add to the repertoire. I enjoyed reading all the comments about how people use seaweed or how they are going to try it, too. I would second that comment about adding ginger. And to the folks who can’t find Bay Seasoning, I couldn’t either, a year and a half ago, but I searched the internet and found a recipe for it and made my own. Don’t have the link anymore, but its out there.

All hail to sea veggies! And thanks for another great post. 🙂




41 Stina September 20, 2010 at 1:02 am

I love sea veggies! This looks so yummy and I can’t wait to make it.


42 Janessa September 20, 2010 at 2:40 am

Yum! I’ve been curious about eating more sea food (but not seafood! :D) and this is a great recipe to try it.


43 Class September 20, 2010 at 6:37 pm

This is so inspired! I made a few adjustments based on what I had (chopped purple cabbage instead of celery, nori instead of arame, firm tofu instead of silken, “River Bay” seasoning instead of “Old Bay” seasoning…I figure as long as 50% of the words in the spice’s name overlap, then I’m fine…), and it turned out great! And because I’m a serial over-salter, naturally had to throw in some chopped pickle.

Really unique and tasty overall–


44 Laura P September 23, 2010 at 8:58 am


This recipe looks delicious! I was wondering if you think it would work with okara instead of the silken tofu, similar to your other crab cake recipe here:

I like the idea of incorporating sea vegetables and chickpeas in this one! Can’t wait to try it!


45 SusanV September 23, 2010 at 9:08 am

Laura, it will work fine with okara, much like the chickpea salads on this page:


46 Lauren September 24, 2010 at 10:11 am

I have to say that I was apprehensive to try this recipe but it was just delicious. Low Fat Recipes like this is are a great option for people to have. I think that sometime it is just a matter of trying something new and knowing that it is a delicious but healthier alternative to some of the maybe more unhealthy things you eat on a daily basis. I work with Better Recipes and I really enjoy finding healthy recipes like this!


47 lovemyfamily September 24, 2010 at 9:56 pm

I was really looking forward to this one, but I did not like it at all. My hubby liked it a lot and ate a good amount. I’ll have to try it without the arame and a different spice than old bay.


48 Kerry Cloud-Pitt September 26, 2010 at 7:34 am

First off, your blog is WONDERFUL!!! Thank you for your recipes. I made this “tuna” and added more arame and some dulse (I have already love sea vegetables so am used to and love the fishy-ness of it). I also added a bit of dijon mustard and, as a nod to my childhood tuna salad love, some relish! Honestly, my husband and I COULD NOT STOP EATING THE STUFF!!! But the true test was my in-laws (80 and 89 years old). I am cooking for them and have been wowing these two old school, conservative, meat loving folks with vegan meals. They LOVED it!!! So, THANKS for a new staple in our vegan recipe file! By the way, I always order my chickpeas, among other amazing beans from They are a wonderful farm in California that grow heirloom beans. Their products are affordable, shipping is cheap and the beans are amazing!


49 Serene September 26, 2010 at 11:55 pm

I keep coming back to this post. I really need to make it tomorrow. I’m craving it and I haven’t even tried it yet. 🙂


50 JoLynn-dreaminitvegan September 28, 2010 at 12:31 am

My husband loves chickpea “tuna” salad. I’ve never made it with the addition of tofu or old bay seasoning. I’ll be trying this out for sure.


51 Cook 4 Vegan Family October 9, 2010 at 9:52 am

Having been a lifelong vegetarian (now vegan), I’ve never had tuna salad but my husband says it really reminds him of tuna salad of years ago. It took us a while to find the Old Bay Seasoning, but we liked this so much that we already put it on the menu again. And, it gets better after sitting in the fridge for a while. Great for sandwiches at work the next day.


52 Linda Meziere February 22, 2011 at 1:27 am

I’m not a big fan of chick pea texture or flavor, although I love all the other beans I’ve had. Could you recommend another for this salad? I think kidney beans might be too mushy. Thanks. It’s been years but I still miss “tuna” salad Sandwiches.


53 amish bed frames February 28, 2011 at 11:54 pm

What a very nice presentation. This salad recipe looks so refreshing and pretty easy to make.


54 Eddel29 May 17, 2011 at 5:34 am

speechless.. i cant say anything but perfect.. looks and tastes good.. bravo!!


55 Geanna August 15, 2011 at 9:07 am

That looks really tasty, and I think it would be especially delicious in toasted bread with some gooey Daiya cheese. Yum!


56 Sandra Leigh August 15, 2011 at 10:10 am

This looks delicious. One question, though. What is Old Bay Seasoning? I’ve never seen it around here (British Columbia), so I will probably have to make a substitution.


57 SusanV August 15, 2011 at 10:23 am

It’s a spicy seasoning blend for seafood. Here’s a link to the product page that has ingredients listed, so maybe you can make your own:


58 AussieAmanda December 14, 2011 at 7:26 am

Ooh I Googled old spice blend and found a really good recipe, I think it was on I couldn’t find celery seeds so substituted fennel instead.



59 Kristy P August 15, 2011 at 11:14 am

Great minds think alike! I made something very much like this for lunches this week. I used a few drops of Zatarain’s crab boil in mine for a little spice. As a Louisiana girl, you might like that.


60 Kimberly August 24, 2011 at 9:39 pm

I am going to tweak this recipe to make “mock crab cakes” by breading & baking them. Thanks for all the great recipes! Cheers to healthy eating.


61 Amanda December 13, 2011 at 2:49 am

OMG why haven’t I tried this recipe before??!! I just put my “tuna” mix in the fridge to marinate… I can’t wait for dinner now!! Thanks Susan 😀


62 Susan Voisin December 13, 2011 at 7:32 am

Hope you enjoyed it, Amanda!


63 AussieAmanda December 14, 2011 at 7:30 am

I did thank you! It was really, really good! When I used to eat seafood I never actually had a nicoise-style salad before, or any other tuna salads really! So when I first saw this recipe I overlooked it! Silly me!

I had mine with a salad of red capsicum, radish, capers, red potato, green beans and a garlic aioli (veganised of course!).

Yum yum yum, this is going in my “to make again” folder! 🙂


64 Angela W March 9, 2012 at 10:57 am

I just made this and WE LOVE IT! Unfortunately, I didn’t have the arame so I simply eliminated it. Now, I can’t wait to get some arame so I can try the recipe as you intended it. Obviously without this key ingredient, it doesn’t have that reminiscent “sea” flavor, but the recipe is so good, I’d argue you don’t even need it!

Thanks Susan!


65 Erica Clements May 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Great recipe! Just made it this morning. We had sheets of nori on hand and I used a little strip of it. We made “tuna” sandwiches for lunch with the salad and this recipe is going into my favorites collection.


66 Tonya June 29, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I didn’t have an arame but I do keep kelp granules around the house, so I used those instead. Thank you for the idea.


67 Denise June 29, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Susan you are a lifesaver! Its over 100 degrees here in central PA, and I couldn’t even think about turning on the stove or oven. I slightly altered your recipe due to what was in my fridge and pantry, and it turned out fantastic! I love your incorporation of the seaweed, it seems to always gets overlooked in my pantry. I was trilled to be able to use it in this recipe. Easy, fast and delicious!! Thank you


68 Debbie July 17, 2012 at 10:03 am

And ideas how to replace the tofu. I cant eat tofu.


69 Esther J March 30, 2013 at 4:23 pm

I made this earlier today for a lighter fare before the “heavier” Easter meal tomorrow (by “heavier”, I mean your black-eyed pea and collards soup accompanied by your corn cakes 😉 ).

It was exactly what I’d been craving! It’s interesting that before I became vegan, I loathed tuna salad so I never imagined a dish like this would appeal to me now since making the change. (Despite my aversion to tuna salad, I was kind of a seafood hound. I still await a faux shrimp and grits recipe from you, Susan. 😉 )

I used sushi nori, as that’s what’s available to me here in the semi-sticks and added some sweet relish to satisfy the southern side of my palate. I also made some quick and dirty kale chips to go with it (no dehydrator and no time to do it the long way).

Thanks so very much and Happy Easter to you and your family!


70 Esther J April 10, 2013 at 5:44 pm

After that initial effort (to very good results), I used the remainder of the tofu to make another batch, for even better results. The consistency turned out much better (I didn’t over-process like the first time, so not in the least bit runny) and I also added what I think amounted to 3T of finely diced/julienned red onion.

Excellent! And definitely a keeper, in particular as these warmer months approach.

Susan, I can’t express enough how much you’ve helped in my transition to veganism and to ultimate health! I’m eternally grateful. 🙂


71 Esther J April 10, 2013 at 6:08 pm

One more thing:

This recipe has inspired me to see if I can first find, then use arame to add flavor to a pot of stewed collards.

That might sound odd, but an old friend, a pescatarian, married a Southern man who was born and raised on collards (stewed in pig of course). She’d make him fowl, and of course fish, but never beef or pork, so he never had his collards, prepared like home. One day the idea occurred to her to use salt fish in the collards, to what I thought were absolutely delectable results. From then (at least a decade ago), that sea-y taste with collards stuck with me and I never thought to replicate it until seeing and making this recipe.

Wish me luck!


72 Alli September 3, 2013 at 11:28 am

Tuna Salad is one of my favorite things in the world but the tuna is so contaminated now. Thanks for the alternative but do you have a suggestion for substituting the tofu? I have a soy allergy. Thanks!


73 Susan Voisin September 3, 2013 at 11:36 am

The tofu is a stand-in for mayo, so if there’s a soy-free mayonnaise you use, you can use it here.


74 Gloria Huerta September 3, 2013 at 11:49 am

Cream some previously soaked raw cashews (1 cup) , with a bit of lemon juice, a pinch or two of salt, 1/4 tsp of garlic powder …. suit to your taste and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water, depending on how thick or thin you prefer it. It is good to soak the cashews overnight, but at least 3 hours. I use warm water. If you want to hurry it along, use very hot water and soak 1 hour.



75 Wendy Cromwell September 3, 2013 at 11:41 am

Where would I find arame? What department in the store? Is it fresh – is it something packaged? Frozen?


76 Gloria Huerta September 3, 2013 at 11:45 am

Sea vegetables are “dehydrated” or dry. They are found in many Asian markets, or in Health Food Stores in the “Asian” section. Some stores still use the word “Oriental.”

Or you can easily find sea vegetables on line at That’s where I buy my dulse flakes.


77 Gloria Huerta September 3, 2013 at 11:43 am

I voted for your blog last night !! Hope you win!!
One of my favorite sea vegetables is Dulce Flakes ! I use them when I make mock tuna, whether it’s garbanzo bean or frozen and thawed out tofu, or tempeh. I will try your recipe for sure.


78 Susan Voisin September 3, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Thanks so much for the vote, Gloria, and for answering Wendy’s question above !


79 Niti Kasliwal September 3, 2013 at 12:16 pm

I’m vegetarian by religion and cannot stand the smell of seafood even outside a seafood restaurant. My question is can I omit this sea veggie or substitute it with something not tasting or smelling like sea food? Thanks!


80 Susan Voisin September 3, 2013 at 1:00 pm
81 Thomas March 15, 2014 at 10:30 pm

I wonder if this can be made without the tofu, as I have developed a soy allergy. Or what could be substituted, if anything. I was thinking pureeing half the chickpeas, and then pulsing the rest for a little texture.


82 Jcb October 23, 2014 at 11:53 am

Just made this…so delicious. Instead of the lite silken tofu, I used your Miraclenaise made with raw cauliflower rather than canned artichoke and kept it soy free as well as BBA free.

Your recipes are a great inspiration for me. Thank you.


83 Jcb October 23, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Sorry, I meant to say raw cauliflower that has been lightly steamed.


84 Jcb October 23, 2014 at 3:54 pm

And BPA free, not BBA! So many typos today.


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