Mexican Vegan Tuna Salad Recipe (Ensalada de Atun)

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.

Mexican vegan chickpea "tuna" salad served on a crunchy tostada.
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 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.

Vegan Chickpea Tuna Salad Tostadas.
Chickpea Tuna Salad Tostadas

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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.

Chickpeas, vegetables, vegan mayo, jalapenos all ingredients for vegan Mexican tuna salad.
Ingredients to Make Mexican Vegan Ensalada de Atun

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
  • cilantro
  • pickled jalapeños
  • limes juice
  • vegan mayonnaise
  • Roma tomatoes
  • salt
  • ground nori
  • avocado and tostadas for serving
Photos showing the steps for prepping mashed chickpea salad with a Mexican Touch.
Steps for Making Chickpea Tuna Salad

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

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.

Drinks like watermelon agua fresca, pineapple agua fresca, mangonadas are refreshing choices. For alcoholic options a mango chamoy margarita or a chelada are great options.

Blue and white blow filled with creamy mashed Mexican chickpea salad.
Mexican Style Chickpea Tuna Salad

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.

Buen provecho!

Mexican vegan chickpea "tuna" salad served on a crunchy tostada.

Chickpea “Tuna” Salad (Mexican Style)

Nancy Lopez & MexicanMadeMeatless.com
This vegan Mexican ensalada de atun is a delicious protein packed meatless meal. Made with mashed chickpeas (or garbanzos) this vegan tuna salad is a so easy to make and perfect for busy days. Serve on tostadas, on toast, or on bolillos.
5 from 3 votes
Save Recipe Pin Recipe Leave a Review
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Course Appetizer, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine fusion, Mexican, vegan mexican
Servings 6 servings
Calories 269 kcal

Ingredients
  

Ingredients

  • 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

For Serving

Instructions
 

Instructions

  • 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.
    Chickpeas, vegetables, vegan mayo, jalapenos all ingredients for vegan Mexican tuna salad.
  • 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.
    Photos showing the steps for prepping mashed chickpea salad with a Mexican Touch.

To Serve

  • As a main meal you can serve with tostadas. Top them with avocado slices and some Valentina hot sauce.
    Creamy mashed chickpea salad on top of tostadas and topped with hot sauce and a slice of avocado.
  • 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.

Video

Notes

*I’ve used both Just Mayo and Hellmann’s Vegan, but you can use any type you like.
** The calories are only for the salad, it doesn’t include what you serve the salad on. 

Nutrition

Serving: 6servingsCalories: 269kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 8gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.5gSodium: 240mgPotassium: 307mgFiber: 7gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 299IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Leave me a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review and tag me on social media @MexicanMadeMeatless or tag #mexicanmademeatless!
Creamy mashed chickpea salad on top of tostadas and topped with hot sauce and a slice of avocado.
Mexican Mashed Chickpea Tuna Salad on Tostadas

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4 Comments

  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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