“Tuna” Salad

This may be the most unoriginal recipe I’ve yet posted. I’m sure most vegans have already made some sort of faux tuna or chicken salad. I’ve made several, using both tofu and chickpeas, and while some of them were good, none of them really had the texture, or taste, of real tuna salad. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, although sometimes it’s fun to have vegan versions of childhood staples. That’s why I was happy to realize this Nature’s Soy chicken-style seitan, which I find in Asian grocery stores (even the one in N. Charleston!) has a somewhat tuna-esque texture quality to it. Possibly. I say things like that but then realize it’s been well over twenty years since I’ve had tuna. I do give Brachtune tuna, though, so maybe she could clear this up for me. If only her English lessons were going a bit better.

Anyway, this post is really, therefore, more a product suggestion than a real recipe. If you can find this Nature’s Soy stuff, try it in your favorite tuna or chicken salad recipe and see if the texture isn’t a bit more realistic. It’s more processed than what you’d make with chickpeas or tofu, but it’s dead easy to make. Here’s what the package looks like:

“Tuna” Salad

1 package Nature’s Soy chicken-style seitan
1 stalk of celery, diced (I didn’t have any and omitted, but it’d definitely have been welcome)
1/4 red onion, diced
3-4 Tbsp vegan mayonnaise, depending on your love of mayonnaise.
3 heaping Tbsp dill relish (or diced pickles)
1/2 tsp mustard
3/4 tsp powdered kelp
1/4 tsp salt (optional) – I used Indian black salt, which would really be more for a faux egg salad (the sulphur content makes it smell, and therefore taste, like hard boiled eggs), but there are so few things I want to smell or taste like eggs that I always have a ton more of this stuff than I really need, so I used it here. Tuna doesn’t smell like eggs, but it IS smelly. Regular salt is fine, if you think you need it.

Dice the onion.

Drain the relish. I like to smoosh it in a potato ricer. In fact, I use my potato ricer more for squeezing liquid out of things than I do ricing potatoes.

Can you tell how dry the relish is here? I hate it when wet relish waters down my salads.

Put all the ingredients into a bowl.

Stir to combine.

Now, this is important if you’re me: transfer to a blue Pyrex refrigerator box.

This is just like the container my parents always made tuna salad in. They probably still do. I think they mixed it up right in the container, which I tried to do, but it was too full to mix without making a mess. To me, “tuna” salad just has to be kept in a blue Pyrex refrigerator box.

Here is a loaf of bread I baked today. It’s Hamelman’s Five Grain Bread, which is currently my favorite bread, though I don’t have any rye chops and have been substituting millet.

It’s so good. I also have a ton of rolls made from that dough in the freezer and they freeze wonderfully. I’m thinking about baking a few loaves for the Falls Church Vegan Bake Sale for Haiti. Everyone always makes sweets for bake sales, but yeast breads are baked goods too, right? It’s not a faux pas to bring yeast bread to a bake sale, is it? It’s really more my niche.

Anyway, you know the drill. Put some of the “tuna” salad on a slice of bread …

… top with another slice, and serve! With pickles, of course. It’s really much improved if you let it sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour or two, but I made this right away because I was hungry. Subsequent sandwiches will be even better though!

Mark’s not a fan of mayo and he tends to shy away from any sort of mayonnaise-based salad, so I didn’t even bother offering him any, however, he showed up and demanded to be allowed a bite.

He didn’t gag or spit it out, so I guess that’s a good sign.

I asked Mark for his opinion and he offered, “It’s chewy…like Chewbacca.” I don’t really know what that means, but I was expecting him to say it was disgusting, so I took it as a compliment. It’s really the bread that’s chewy though. I make this salad when it’s late the night before a work day and I realize I don’t have anything prepared for lunch the next day. I’m hungry again…I think I might go make another and top it with some melted vegan cheese…


  1. Meg Said,

    February 21, 2010 @ 1:36 pm

    Ah! Ok, you are officially all-knowing (I’m pretty sure I’d already realized this). I’ve purchased no less than three different jars of alleged Black Salt/Himalayan Salt/Pink Salt, depending on which ones we’re talking about, and can not find the correct egg smelling/tasting one I’m looking for. Please, please, please say you order that stuff online and can point me to a place where I can get it. Please? You wouldn’t believe how many markets I’ve been to looking for the stuff and I’d kind of given up on my dream to make faux deviled eggs.

  2. vivaciousvegan Said,

    February 21, 2010 @ 1:40 pm

    It really looks like tuna…..hmmmm…It sounds really good.
    wish I could find some back salt..

  3. vivaciousvegan Said,

    February 21, 2010 @ 1:40 pm

    oops black…lol

  4. Courtney Said,

    February 21, 2010 @ 3:54 pm

    I hope I can find that Nature’s Soy chicken-style seitan! Question–does it come out of the package looking so tuna-like, or did you need to “flake” it to make it look so realistic??


  5. renae Said,

    February 21, 2010 @ 4:59 pm

    Meg, look for it in an Indian market if you have one near you. It’s also called Kala Nama. It’s definitely not Himalayan salt. Although I’ve never bought this specific item from them (I just get it at the Indian grocery), I have ordered from World Spice Merchants before and they sell it; they always ship very quickly and are a good company.

    VivaciousVegan, the black salt is definitely not necessary here. I only added salt at all because the ocean is salty and tuna live in the ocean. Regular or no salt would be fine.

    Courtney, it comes out of the package looking like that; you just need to gently pull it apart to separate. Very convenient!

  6. Josiane Said,

    February 21, 2010 @ 7:19 pm

    I love that you have *the* container that is just right for you to keep your tuna salad in!
    I’ve never liked fish, so that would be the first tuna sald I’d be able to enjoy for real. But honestly, what looks the most awesome to me is your bread! It is just gorgeous, and I bet you could put just about anything in between two slices of that bread and it would be fantastic!

  7. Mom Said,

    February 22, 2010 @ 8:20 am

    These days I make tuna in an incredibly cute Corning petite casserole with a hard-to-find glass lid.

    I don’t remember ever having a blue Pyrex container. Was it my mother that had a blue one you remember? I did have a green one that size that was part of a set that I never liked. They were most likely a wedding present. If you don’t have them, I threw them out. The two smaller ones that were half the size of that one were basically useless. They were yellowish green. The bigger container was darker green, and I did use that for stuff.

  8. renae Said,

    February 22, 2010 @ 11:03 am

    Mom, It wasn’t your mother, it was definitely you, and it was blue and you put tuna in it. It’s not the one I have (although I don’t remember where I got mine) because the blue on yours was all faded from being washed a million times.

  9. meg Said,

    February 22, 2010 @ 2:06 pm

    Great! After such great/speedy service from GEM Cultures I’ll for sure give World Spice a whirl. Thank you so much!

  10. Danielle Said,

    February 26, 2010 @ 12:04 pm

    Love that Hamelman bread cookbook so much.

  11. tempeh tee Said,

    August 10, 2010 @ 10:31 pm

    i am so glad to happen upon your site! it’s so delightful. enchanting. and it just gets better. love the container and the comments from Mom and your answers. thanks for thew window into your world. thanks for pics. i just happening to be googling tempeh images…another vortex i am about to be sucked into……wheeeee

  12. Maureen Nolan Said,

    March 18, 2012 @ 11:25 pm

    Thanks for a lot of great tips. I’ll be implementing them soon. Esp. needed to know about this faux chicken as a faux tuna attempt and about the Indian black salt. Good Stuff! And a charming guy! Thanks.

RSS feed for comments on this post

Leave a Comment