Chickpea Tuna Salad (Ensalada de Atun)

Chickpeas or garbanzos are great for salads. Pair them with some additional ingredients to create a vegan chickpea “tuna” salad. The results are so delicious.

Check out my recipe to make this garbanzo tuna salad made “a la Mexicana” or Mexican style.

Chickpea "Tuna" Salad made Mexican Style
Vegan “Tuna” Salad

Chickpeas and garbanzos are the same thing. Depends where you’re from, but you can call them what you’d like.

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 don’t. It’s a matter of personal choice.

The ensalada de atun may be served with saltine crackers or on tostadas. Also as a botana or snack or as a light meal. Again it’s all 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.

Chickpea Tuna Salad Tostadas
Chickpea Tuna Salad Tostadas

Vegan Chickpea Salad

Among vegans and vegetarian, chickpea salad is a very well known meal.

Most of the recipes you’ll find will actually be vegan instead of vegetarian. Usually what will make them vegetarian is the addition of regular mayonnaise or hardboiled eggs.

There are so many variations to vegan chickpea 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.

Ingredients to Make Mexican Vegan Ensalada de Atun
Ingredients to Make Mexican Vegan Ensalada de Atun

Mashed Chickpea Salad

When used as a sandwich filling it’s then a mashed chickpea salad rather than whole garbanzos. Most often than not, mashed will include regular or vegan mayonnaise.

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.

Mexican Style Chickpea Tuna Salad
Mexican Style Chickpea Tuna Salad

Chickpea Tuna Salad

Chickpea tuna salad is one of those dishes that if you haven’t made before you’ll wonder why you’ve waited so long.

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.

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 chickpea salad it’s “tuna” flavor or spin, 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

How to Make Chickpea Tuna Salad Mexican Style
Steps for Making Chickpea Tuna Salad
Chickpea "Tuna" Salad made Mexican Style

Chickpea “Tuna” Salad (Mexican Style)

Nancy Lopez-McHugh &
Chickpeas or garbanzos are great for salads. Pair them with some additional ingredients to create a vegan chickpea “tuna” salad. The results are so delicious.
Check out my recipe to make this garbanzo tuna salad made “a la Mexicana” or Mexican style.
5 from 3 votes
Save Recipe
Prep Time 15 mins
Course Appetizer, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine fusion, Mexican, vegan mexican
Servings 6 servings
Calories 277 kcal



  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas or two 15 oz cans drained and rinsed
  • large pinch of 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

For Serving

  • tostadas
  • avocado slices
  • salsa Valentina



  • Place the chickpeas in a large bow 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.
    How to Make Chickpea Tuna Salad Mexican Style
  • 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.

To Serve

  • As a main meal you can serve with tostadas. Top them with avocado slices and some Valentina hot sauce.
  • As an appetizer you can serve with corn chips or even saltine crackers.
  • You could also serve this in a bolillo or a baguette or even just toasted bread.



*I used Just Mayo vegan mayonnaise but you can use any type you like.
I’ve now run out of the Just Mayo and recently bought Hellmann’s Vegan and it’s quite delicious too. 


Calories: 277kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 8gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 242mgPotassium: 403mgFiber: 8gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 638IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 58mgIron: 3mg
Keyword chickpeas, garbanzos, vegan salad, vegan tuna salad
Tried this recipe?Mention @MexicanMadeMeatless or tag #mexicamademeatless!
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  1. 5 stars
    I have made this recipe many time and it has never disappoints, I have added cucumber and celery to it and it’s still very delicious.

  2. 5 stars
    Just made this salad for a Memorial Day picnic and it was a hit with the all non meat eaters and meat eaters. only regret is that there weren’t any leftovers.

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