My husband made it very clear to me when we were dating that he was not a tuna fan in any shape or form...until he had my chickpea tuna salad (with a kick). He makes it a point to even tell people, including the kids, that he hates tuna salad except for mine. I like to load up my tuna salad with herbs, spices and some hot sauce for a little kick. I've made this many ways in the past, but for us this has become the best chickpea tuna salad. It's healthy, delicious and a super easy lunch to make that even tuna haters can enjoy!
What type of Tuna should I use?
I believe wild-caught is always best. Also, look for sustainably caught or responsibly sourced tuna. My personal preference is wild-caught Albacore or Yellowfin Tuna. I've made this tuna salad with both types, and make it with whichever I have on hand. I don't really stray from those 2 types of tuna. Here's a great article from Eat This, Not That! on the Best Canned Tuna. I get my favorite, Wild Planet Albacore from Costco. I'm always stocked up on this tuna. It's a great thing to stash in your pantry or emergency stockpile with your beans to hold for a while.
Creamy Tuna Salad Base Options
Mayonnaise is kind of a given for a good creamy tuna salad, but I've snuck in plain Greek yogurt as well if I'm in a pinch. Sometimes I even do half mayo, half yogurt just to lower the mayo, but shh...don't tell my husband. If you like it creamier you can add more, I just try to keep mine lower on mayo to be healthier.
Why add chickpeas to tuna salad?
Chickpeas are powerful little legumes! They're an awesome plant-based protein you can sometimes "sneak" into food for more nutrition without greatly changing the flavor profile. That's why I love adding them to certain dishes. I thought chickpeas would go really well with tuna, firstly because they're about the same color so they blend in, but also they're just so good for you! The fiber-rich chickpeas along with the protein-rich tuna makes this sort of a superfood kind of salad. Check out this article from the Cleveland Clinic, "What Are Chickpeas and Are They Healthy?" They are good for the heart, blood sugar and even weight management.
Main Tuna Chickpea Salad Ingredients:
- Tuna- I always use Wild-caught tuna; Albacore or Yellowfin tuna is great.
- Chickpeas- aka Garbanzo beans. I use BPA free cans of chickpeas for this recipe only because it makes it a breeze to make.
- Fresh Parsley- I think fresh is best in this case. I've tried making it with dried parsley and it just wasn't the same and much less enjoyable. You can substitute the parsley for cilantro as well. I've made this exact salad with cilantro many times when I didn't have parsley and it was scrumptious as well. Fresh herbs to elevate this salad.
- Hot Sauce- I really like Sriracha for the hot sauce in this salad. It gives this tuna salad a great crave-worthy flavor with a kick, but not too much heat.
- Fresh Lemon Juice- There needs to be a little acidity in the salad. It balances out the flavor so sometimes I add a little extra. Tuna and lemon juice always go great together.
- Celery-I know there are some people who hate celery. I love a little crisp celery for added crunch in this salad, but if you're not a fan you can try a different crunchy option like maybe diced water chestnuts, cucumber or carrots.
- Capers- I put capers as optional only because I've made it without and still love the salad, but I think the capers add a nice texture, little salty lift to the salad, so I add them if I have them.
Optional Add-Ins to the Salad
- Kalamata olives
- Red Onion- raw or pickled red onion
- Red bell pepper
- Green Onions
- Nori sheets- roasted seaweed sheets, crumbled. I'm personally not a fan, but my son loves adding it to his salad!
- Dijon mustard
- Fresh Herbs- if you don't have fresh parsley, you can sub out for fresh dill or cilantro as well.
- More Hot Sauce!