This vegan tuna salad gets its light “sea” flavor from the sea vegetable arame. Silken tofu adds creaminess without a lot of fat.
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 vegan “tuna” salad, and feel free to add more if you like your salad to taste more “tuna-y.”
Sea-sational Chickpea Salad
- 1 tablespoon organic arame* crushed between fingers slightly (about 3 grams)
- 1/2 cup silken tofu* lite preferred
- 15 ounces cooked chickpeas (1 can or about 1 3/4 cups, drained)
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped carrots
- 1 rib celery chopped
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- Break the arame into smaller pieces before measuring. Rinse it in a strainer and place it in a small bowl. Add just enough water to cover and soak for 5 minutes. Drain (reserve the soaking water, if you like, and add it to the salad) and set aside.
- Combine the tofu and half the chickpeas in a food processor and pulse several times to mash all of the chickpeas well. Add remaining chickpeas and the carrots and pulse once or twice to roughly chop. Scrape into a bowl and add all remaining ingredients, including reserved arame. Cover and chill for at least half an hour to allow the flavors to blend. Check seasonings, adding more to taste.
- Serve with raw vegetables or as a sandwich filling.
VariationsFor an old-fashioned Southern flavor, try adding a couple tablespoons of sweet pickle relish.
Nutritional info is approximate.
More Salads to Consider:
- Vegan “Tuna” Salad from Gluten-Free Goddess
- Healthy Kale and Seaweed Salad from Diet, Dessert and Dogs
- Wakame Yam Noodle Salad from Veggie Wedgie
- Julienned vegetable salad with wakame seaweed from Cafe Liz
Linda MeziereFebruary 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.
amish bed framesFebruary 28, 2011 at 11:54 pm
What a very nice presentation. This salad recipe looks so refreshing and pretty easy to make.
Eddel29May 17, 2011 at 5:34 am
speechless.. i cant say anything but perfect.. looks and tastes good.. bravo!!
GeannaAugust 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!
Sandra LeighAugust 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.
SusanVAugust 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: http://www.oldbay.com/Products/Old-Bay-Seasoning.aspx
AussieAmandaDecember 14, 2011 at 7:26 am
Ooh I Googled old spice blend and found a really good recipe, I think it was on taste.com. I couldn’t find celery seeds so substituted fennel instead.
Kristy PAugust 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.
KimberlyAugust 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.
AmandaDecember 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 😀
Susan VoisinDecember 13, 2011 at 7:32 am
Hope you enjoyed it, Amanda!
AussieAmandaDecember 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! 🙂
Angela WMarch 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!
Erica ClementsMay 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.
TonyaJune 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.
DeniseJune 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
DebbieJuly 17, 2012 at 10:03 am
And ideas how to replace the tofu. I cant eat tofu.
Esther JMarch 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!
Esther JApril 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. 🙂
Esther JApril 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!
AlliSeptember 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!
Susan VoisinSeptember 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.
Gloria HuertaSeptember 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.
Wendy CromwellSeptember 3, 2013 at 11:41 am
Where would I find arame? What department in the store? Is it fresh – is it something packaged? Frozen?
Gloria HuertaSeptember 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 Amazon.com. That’s where I buy my dulse flakes.
Gloria HuertaSeptember 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.
Susan VoisinSeptember 3, 2013 at 12:41 pm
Thanks so much for the vote, Gloria, and for answering Wendy’s question above !
Niti KasliwalSeptember 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!
Susan VoisinSeptember 3, 2013 at 1:00 pm
Absolutely! Also, I have several chickpea salads that don’t contain sea vegetables. Check this link: https://blog.fatfreevegan.com/search-results?cx=012919865523296602436%3A6iar-mkyfwa&cof=FORID%3A11&ie=UTF-8&q=Chickpea+salad&sa=Search&siteurl=blog.fatfreevegan.com
ThomasMarch 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.
JcbOctober 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.
JcbOctober 23, 2014 at 3:52 pm
Sorry, I meant to say raw cauliflower that has been lightly steamed.
JcbOctober 23, 2014 at 3:54 pm
And BPA free, not BBA! So many typos today.
JillMay 24, 2017 at 5:45 pm
Susan, this looks and sounds delicious and I’m planning to try it for this weekend to use it as a spread. You really can’t go wrong with Old Bay seasoning. I’ve spent the past year making various renditions of the New York Times No-Knead Bread recipe, I’m putting out several loaves this weekend, and I want some spreads for people to add and make sandwiches. I also got a request for lobio! (Which I’ll probably make again!) I believe I also saw a tapenade on this site in the past, which I’ll look for again, because that would also be perfect.