This Mexican ensalada de atun made vegan makes a delicious protein packed meatless meal. Made with smashed chickpeas (or garbanzos) Mexican vegan tuna salad is a so easy to make and perfect for busy days. Serve on tostadas or on toast or bolillos.
Chickpeas and garbanzos are the same thing. Depends where you’re from, but you can call them what you’d like.
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Ensalada de Atun| Mexican Tuna Salad
Tuna salad or ensalada de atun is quite a popular dish in Mexico. Particularly during the Lenten season.
Most people prepare it with a pico de gallo base or also called “a la Mexicana”. This means chiles, onion and tomato are used. It can be raw or pickled chilies and either jalapeños or serranos.
Other ingredients that can be added are lime juice, chopped cilantro, cucumber, and seasonings like salt.
Some people like to add mayonnaise and others like to use crema instead. It’s a matter of personal choice.
Of course here, I’ve created a veganized version of Mexican tuna salad using chickpeas. Read the recipe to see how I did it.
Mexican Vegan “Tuna” Salad
Among vegans and vegetarians, chickpeas are a well know substitute for making fishless tuna salad.
Most of the recipes you’ll find will actually be vegan instead of vegetarian. This is because many choose to omit the addition of regular mayonnaise.
There are so many variations to vegan “tuna” salads.
Depending on how they are prepared they can be served as a regular salad, an appetizer, a main dish, or as a filling for a sandwich.
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Health Benefits of Chickpeas
For those of us that don’t eat meat, chickpeas are a great nutritious option.
- Chickpeas are loaded with fiber and so are great for good digestion
- help prevent high blood pressure
- help control appetite due to it’s high fiber and protein
- “A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving provides about 3 grams of protein, which is comparable to the protein content in similar foods like black beans and lentils“. (source)
- help to keep healthy bones
- help keep healthy blood sugar levels
- great for maintain good cholesterol levels
- are a good source of plant-based iron and protein
- are a good source of magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, zinc, calcium, folate, folic acid.
There are so many health benefits for garbanzos, you really should be adding them to your diet. They’re also quite inexpensive when you buy them dried and prep them at home.
Ingredients for Mexican Vegan Ensalada de Atun
The ingredients for this basic Mexican “tuna” salad are quite simple and easy to find just about anywhere. You can use homemade or canned chickpeas. For the nori I grind my own, these are the kind I buy.
- cooked chickpeas
- white onion
- pickled jalapeños
- limes juice
- vegan mayonnaise
- Roma tomatoes
- ground nori
- avocado and tostadas for serving
How to Make Mexican Tuna Salad
Amigos, this recipe is so incredibly easy to make.
I prepare this chickpea “tuna” salad most weeks. To this date I haven’t gotten bored of it yet. Also when I share with friends and neighbors, they’ve all loved it and asked for my recipe.
- Mash the chickpeas in a large bowl until desired smooth consistency.
- Add the salt and nori powder and mix until well combined. Then mix in the onion, cilantro, jalapeños and lime juice. Mix until well combined.
- Mix in the mayo until well combined.
- Next fold in the diced tomatoes until well combined. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then taste and add more salt if desired.
How to Serve
Chickpea “Tuna” Salad (Mexican Style)
Chickpea tuna salad is one of those dishes that if you haven’t made before you’ll wonder why you’ve waited so long.
The recipe is quite basic and of course I gave it a Mexican touch. You can use canned chickpeas or homemade ones. I’ll share my homemade recipe another time.
This chickpea tuna salad is bursting with Mexican flavors. Tomatoes, onion, cilantro, chiles and lime juice make this “tuna” salad “a la Mexicana” or Mexican style.
To give this Mexican vegan tuna salad it’s “tuna” flavor, you’ll notice I used some ground nori sheets to give it that seafood taste. You’ll pick up the subtle notes but it won’t overpower other flavors.
You’re going to love not only how easy this is to prepare but how incredibly flavorful and delicious this recipe is. I promise that even meat eaters will devour it.
Chickpea “Tuna” Salad (Mexican Style)
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas or two 15 oz cans drained and rinsed
- large pinch fine sea salt adjust to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground nori*
- 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
- 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro I use the leaves and some stems
- 3 large pickled jalapeños finely chopped
- 2 small limes juiced
- 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise*
- 4 medium-small Roma tomatoes diced into small pieces
- Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and mash until they reach your desired smooth consistency. I like to leave them pretty smooth. Next add the salt and nori powder and mix until well combined. Then mix in the onion, cilantro, jalapeños and lime juice. Mix until well combined.
- Add the mayo and mix until well combined. If you're not a big fan of mayonnaise then mix it in a little bit at a time until you're happy with the consistency.Next fold in the diced tomatoes until well combined. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then taste and add more salt if desired.
More Easy Mexican Light Meals to Cook
- Mexican Macaroni Salad Recipe | Ensalada de Coditos
- Cauliflower Ceviche | Best Vegan Ceviche Recipe
- Vegan Chicharron in Salsa Verde
- The BEST Torta de Jamón (Made Vegan)
- Calabacitas con Maiz or Mexican Zucchini with Corn
- Easy Vegan Fajitas Recipe
Nancy Lopez is a food blogger and author of the cookbook Mexican Tamales Made Meatless. Born in Mexico, raised in the US, and currently living in Southern Mexico, she has followed a meatless diet for almost 10 years. It is her passion and mission to share all she has learned about vegan Mexican cooking and vegetarian Mexican recipes. Mexican Made Meatless is a blog dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine just without the meat. It’s a place to celebrate Mexican culture and all it’s delightfully delicious traditional foods. Read more…