Tuesday 1 June 2010

Mock Tuna (Chickpea) Salad

Isn't it ironic! I have owned the Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau for over a year and I don't think I have baked a recipe from it. Yet on the weekend I went to the library and borrowed The Vegan Table by the same author. I have already made one of the recipes.

The name of the recipe "Better than tuna salad" strikes me as a little bit silly because I don't think I ever ate (or enjoyed) tuna salad. I wouldn't touch a tuna salad with a barge pole. Not even if you paid me! Not even if it was the last salad in the world! But I had to exercise self control to stop myself eating this salad all at once. It was that good!

However I have to give a qualified thumbs-up to The Vegan Table. Ms Patrick-Goudreau can't claim all the credit. Her salad was a little sweet, possibly because of my soy mayo and my lack of seasoning. But I checked out the Mock Tuna Salad recipe by Ricki at Diet Dessert and Dogs. I don't think Ricki has posted a recipe that I don't love and instantly want to try (and now is doing SOS Kitchen Challenge - it is Rhubarb this month). I couldn't make a mock tuna salad without remembering that I still hadn't tried her version. Which was lucky, because it was Ricki's seasonings that lifted this salad from good to great.

I make no claims about this salad being anything like tuna. I wouldn't offend this lovely salad with such odious comparisons. But it is a fantastically moreish salad. It would make a healthy and satisfying lunch with bread or rice crackers. We ate it as a side salad and it went very well with the leftover macaroni cheese, roasted eggplant and sweet potato and lemony greens. Impressed? Good! Because last week I lost my cooking mojo. The meals I cooked were ok but unsatisfying due to a lack of energy to think through any side dishes. Tonight I made amends with these great sides!

It is late and I wish I had time to rave about the salad more but instead I want to share a few links to words of wisdom on the web, discovered recently thanks to generous bloggers who share their interesting links:
  • Michael Ruhlman: Message to Food Editors - what 30 minute meals really mean - a great article that challenges how the media shapes our priorities and values through promoting meals that don't take long to prepare. "Don't tell me you're too busy to cook. We all have the same hours every day, and we all choose how to use them."
  • Gluten Free Girl - Carry that Weight - an amazingly honest and thoughtful post about a journey from a sick baby to weight gain to regaining good health - sometimes comfort food seems more important than good health! "If you ever look at someone who is overweight (in your mind), and think, "Wow, she's really let herself go," just remember that there is always a story behind it."
  • All My Babies Are Gone Now by Anna Quindlen (originally found at Baking and Books - no longer there but can be found at College Confidential) - a beautiful piece of writing about seeing her children all grown up and reflecting on the advice, the worry and the serendipity of child-rearing. "I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less."

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Apricot Crumble: a moveable feast
This time two years ago: Bagels, Boiling and Baking
This year three years ago: WHB: Reconciliation damper, snags and dead horse

Mock Tuna (Chickpea) Salad
Adapted from the Vegan Table and Diet Dessert and Dogs
Serves 3-4 as a side dish

1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, rinsed, drained and mashed with a fork
1 carrot, grated
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
½ red capsicum, finely chopped
1 spring onion, finely sliced
¼ cup mayonnaise (I used soy)
1½ tsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp seeded mustard

Mix everything together and enjoy!

UPDATE: February 2016 I still enjoy this salad regularly.  Today I made it with truffle mayonnaise and apple cider vinegar (no lemons in the house).  And I updated the top photo.

UPDATE: October 2016 - I made this salad today and didn't have mayo so I used an extra tsp each of seeded mustard, lemon juice, and olive oil, plus an extra 1/2 tsp of soy sauce and maple syrup - probably could have had a bit less seasoning.  Cashew nut butter or tofu might have been good to add but either would have been too much hassle!

On the Stereo:
The very best of Crowded House


  1. This salad looks devine - I also love the cubes of sweet potato that you paired it with. I am a sweet potato/pumpkin/sweet orange vege fiend!

  2. I am always looking for new salad ideas and this looks great! Thanks for sharing :)

  3. I, too, have never been interested in the American-style mayo-laden "tuna salads" so commonly mentioned in books like the Babysitter's Club, but fell in love with a particular tofu-mayo salad in the U.S. Seeing as I love chickpeas, mustard, and nutritional yeast, you've just given me a definite to-make recipe for when I move out in coming weeks. Hurrah!

    (And thanks!)

    (And hope your mojo, in all its various forms, stays present in your life.)

  4. Johanna, I like the Crowded House CD you had on. Great stuff.
    I can see how this salad can be a winner! A good mayo is a must though, right? Okay, note down to prepare for my lunch at work.

  5. I have 2 favourite salads on high rotation at the moment (despite the weather... i'm trying to be healthy and ignore temptations of 'winter food'!), a Mexican salad, and a Tandoori Tofu Salad... but I think I might just add this one to the list and make it a trilogy ;)

    PS: only just getting into the 'interactive' blogger mode.... but i've been a fan of your blog for the last few months and really enjoy checking it. Your posts on Edinburgh made me fall in love with the place and its on my list of places to visit next year! Vegetarian Haggis you will be mine.... :)

  6. Thanks for reminding me that I haven't had mock tuna in far too long. . .I can tell you it doesn't actually taste like tuna salad (as far as I remember), but definitely better! And thanks for the comment re: my recipes (can't imagine it re: some of those ACD bombs!--and can't imagine you losing your cooking mojo!). ;)

    Thanks for the recommendations. I read the Gluten-Free Girl article and loved it. Must check out the others.

  7. Oh, yummy. I have been eyeing Colleen's Vegan Table cookbook for a while. (I love the idea of the raw un-stirfry)

    I too love chickpea 'tuna' salad. The one I make is from 1000 Vegan Recipes and has nori/kelp powder and lemon juice. It works well even in sushi :D


  8. Thanks Cakelaw - I am usually a pumpkin fiend but it is good to have a change with sweet potato

    Thanks Lisa - hope you enjoy this one

    Thanks Hannah - too much mayo is not my sort of thing either but I can handle it if there are enough nice vegies - hope the salad goes down well in the smurf kitchen

    Thanks Anh - I agree a good mayo is essential - usually I like one that is creamy and not too sweet - but in this case I used a soy mayo which I found quite sweet - and I had to listen to crowded house because heard an interesting interview with a biographer of Neil Finn (I think) on the radio

    Thanks Christine - glad you are starting to interact with the blogosphere - it is so much fun - and thanks for your kind words on the blog - I am not eating enough salads now it is winter - I go into roast veg mode when the weather cools! Your salads on rotation sound great.

    Thanks Ricki - ok maybe I would avoid a few ACD recipes of yours though they always interest me too much that I want to make a version of them. I am sure that the salad doesn't taste like tuna or I wouldn't be able to eat it but good to have your memories to help me out

    Hi Katie - I love the idea of this salad in a sushi roll - sounds excellent - and nori/kelp powder would be good for nutrition and taste

  9. Just catching u with my blog reads.

    It is funny that you own a cookbook and not cook from it, yet cook from another by the same author. I have certainly done that. I am looking forward to reading your blog with ease, I don't like scanning. You have written a lot for me to catch up on: plums and a gluten free diet. I am off to get myself a drink and will be back.

  10. Mmm this looks good and I agree that Ricki's recipes always look amazing! I bought The Vegan Table not long ago and have tried a few recipes from it. There's a thai peanut slaw that was pretty good (but makes a TON), sweet and sour tempeh (where I discovered I don't like tempeh on it's own like that) and the mac & cheese (made with nutritional yeast) which was good for a vegan mac & cheese but I don't think I'm used to nutritional yeast. I look forward to seeing what other stuff you make from it! Thanks for sharing those links!


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