The Vegetarian Tuna Salad That Doesn't Put The Spotlight On Chickpeas

It's a well-known fact among non-meat eaters that the best way to make a tuna salad vegan is to use chickpeas. Also called garbanzo beans, they're high in protein and amino acids and are considered a good source of B vitamins and many minerals and nutrients. For those seeking a 'fishy' taste to their mock tuna salad, adding kelp granules or seaweed is often a recommended option. But there's another meat substitute that people have started using in their mock tuna salads: jackfruit.

Over the years, the fruit has been used more as a plant-based pulled pork replacement, but as more people experiment with it, we've seen it take the spotlight off chickpeas in several TikTok videos.

In one, a TikToker posted a video making Mexican chickpea and jackfruit salad. The recipe included hearts of palm, Nori (seaweed), cilantro, avocado, lime juice, red onion, tomatoes, vegan mayonnaise, chickpeas, and pickled jalapeños, but the comments were proof that the jackfruit was top of fans' minds. "Looks delish! What does the jackfruit taste like?" asked one viewer. "I love hearts of palm and some jackfruit tacos," commented another. "I will have to pair both like you shared. Thanks."

While no one is suggesting doing away with chickpea mock tuna salads, jackfruit is not only a nutritious powerhouse that will soak up whatever flavors and spices are added to it but makes a delicious addition to jazz up your recipe.

Jackfruit provides a meatier texture

Chickpeas may still be the traditional way to make a mock tuna salad, but adding jackfruit to give it a meatier taste has started to catch on with those that have grown tired of the same old recipes. Vegan chef and spokesperson Tabitha Brown released a TikTok video with her own take on the jackfruit tuna salad. Made with carrot pulp, sweet relish, vegan mayo, Nori furikake, black salt, dill weed, onion powder, and garlic powder, Brown's recipe skips the chickpeas altogether, as does TikTok creator Thee Burger Dude's version.


Vegan tuna salad uaing carrot pulp and jackfruit for the lunch win! #tabithabrown #vegan #foodie #fyp

♬ Food – eas Ratta

Despite the momentum to add jackfruit to more plant-based dishes, recipes using the fruit have also been met with a lot of resistance due to people's uncertainty over how to handle it, or how to cook it. "Tried cutting open a whole one [jackfruit] after watching many how-to videos & it was a disaster," commented one fan on Thee Burger Dude's video.

Hesitancy to work with jackfruit is understandable, as cutting one open can be extremely messy. It's best to oil your knife, you hand, and the cutting board you're using beforehand, to deal with the sticky sap inside. The easiest way to get to the edible yellow pods surrounding the seeds inside is to cut it in half, then quarters. Cut out the core that holds the pods, and use your hands to cut and pull them out. After they're deseeded, they're ready to be used for your own mock tuna salad.