Many vegans admit that there’s one of two non-vegan foods they miss, for me that’s tuna (and salmon nigiri). Having a tuna sandwich for lunch used to be so convenient, and vegan lunch can be a little bit thicker so I’ve been keeping an eye out for vegan alternatives to tuna. Although I may miss tuna sandwich’s sometimes or the teryaki bento boxes in my favourite Japanse restaurant, I could never go back to eating animals again so I’ve just had to adapt. These are the 5 kinds of vegan tuna I came up with.
Some of these require a bit of cooking and DIYing, and others are just a case of opening up a can of vegan tuna. Hopefully one of these vegan tuna’s is the one for you.
5 Vegan Alternatives to Tuna
Many vegans and vegetarians aren’t into meat substitutes because they’re very often heavily processed or contain some questionable ingredients. This can make finding an alternative to tuna or meat for WFPB vegans more tricky as the options are more limited, with most new vegan foods on the market being fast food or faux meat.
Thankfully, jack fruit is the holy grail of the natural alternatives to fish and meat. Jack fruit is part of the fig, breadfruit, and mulberry family. Unripened jack fruit has a meaty texture but a neutral taste which is what makes it so versatile. It can be seasoned to taste like anything from bacon to BBQ chicken, and in this instance; tuna salad.
Chickpeas are another staple in a vegan diet, because there’s just as versatile as jack fruit is for a natural substitute to tuna. Chickpeas are full of protein and count as one of your 5-a-day. There’s so many uses for them too, from crunchy chickpea snacks, to hummus & falafel, there’s no shortage of ways to use chickpeas.
Blended chickpeas with a mixture of herbs and spices are one of the most popular homemade vegan alternatives to tuna. Personally, I’ve never found a recipe that quite hits the spot, but there are some which are raved about quite highly, like this vegan chickpea tuna. I’ll be fiddling around with chickpea tuna until I make one I like, and I’ll share it here when that day comes.
For me, tuna was always refreshing, so half the problem might have been that bringing chickpea tuna to work and it getting warm was very off-putting.
Tunah is a soy-based tuna alternative.
It doesn’t taste exactly like tuna, but it’s as close as I’ve found. The texture and look is pretty accurate. When you add in vegan mayo and sweetcorn, it’s almost identical to a real tuna sandwich.
It’s a little pricey, but there’s enough for two sandwiches per tin.
Linda McCartney Pulled Chicken with seasoning
Linda McCartney is one of the biggest vegan brands, which makes sense given that Paul McCartney was the one who founded Meat Free Monday in the first place!
Someone on Twitter recommended this to me when my tweet about buying vegan tuna and non-acholic rum got a bit of attention (which is where I learned that most people found Tuno revolting, so don’t blame me if you try it after reading this post and hate it). I can’t take credit for this idea, but it was too good of one not to share!
The trick to this one is to season the Linda McCartney Pulled Chicken with seaweed flakes, vegan mayo, salt, and any other flavour you enjoyed in a tuna sandwich. This is the kind of recipe where you need to play around with the ratios of spices and find a flavour you enjoy.
A lot of Linda McCartney products brand themselves as vegetarian when they’re also suitable for vegans. A lot of brands with accidentally vegan products are afraid to label them as vegan, for fear of existing customers thinking they changed the recipe or buying from somewhere else because believe it or not, there are people who hate vegans that much. This product is also suitable for vegans, but not all Linda McCartney products are so just double-check the ingredients on the back before getting anything.
Like meat substitutes, tofu is actually a bit of a controversial food. Not only is soya an allergen, but has a bad name after people tried to scaremonger people away from this meat substitute by saying it gives men boobs (it won’t). Too much of anything is bad, I love tofu, but I don’t eat it everyday.
Like the previous few vegan tuna ideas, this is a case of spicing something which naturally has a neutral flavour up with the right seasoning. Tofu can be seasoned with pretty much anything to get the desired taste, as is just as versatile as some of these other substitutes. Whether you like your tofu firm or soft, want to make pudding with it, or even scrambled tofu, there’s a lot you can do with it. This vegan tuna tofu recipe uses kelp powder, celery, and red onion to help make this taste like tuna.
Although we’ve managed to get the meat substitutes tasting and feeling almost like the real deal, the vegan alternatives to seafood are still lacking. Maybe one-day Impossible Tuna will be a thing, but in the meantime, these 5 vegan alternatives to tuna will have to do. Have you tried any of these vegan alternatives to tuna? If so, which vegan tuna was your favourite?