I was recently looking for back-to-school lunch recipes to share on my social media channels, and I couldn’t find my Vegan Tofu Tuna Salad Sandwiches on my blog. After a bit of searching, I realized it’s because I never posted it! Strange, because I’ve been making it for years, and I’ve even made it in cooking classes.
I ate a lot of tuna salad sandwiches when I was young. It was easy enough for me to make on my own – open a can, add mayo, and plop it on bread. (For some reason we never added celery or onions in my house.) It was the first meat that I gave up, before even going vegetarian though. In the early 90s there was so much talk about dolphins getting caught and dying in tuna nets that I couldn’t continue to eat it. I’m not sure why I was worried about the dolphins and not the tunas, but I guess you have to start somewhere.
Pretty much every vegan has a tofu “tuna” recipe under their belts. They’re usually made with chickpeas. I actually have two different chickpea “tuna” recipes here on my blog, and I love them both. But sometimes I like to mix things up a bit, and that’s where this tofu tuna comes in.
This recipe does require a little advanced planning, as the tofu needs to be frozen and then thawed before you can make it. Freezing it changes the texture and makes it easier for the tofu to soak up sauces, and in this case, mayonnaise.
Freeze the tofu while it’s still in the pack. Once frozen, allow the tofu to thaw, and then press it the way you normally would to remove any excess water. Make sure you squeeze out as much water as possible. I have a tofu press, but you can also use a cast-iron skillet or a heavy book.
I’ve used my homemade oil-free mayo in this recipe. If you’re pressed for time, you can use store-bought, of course. This tofu tuna salad recipe is extremely flexible, so feel free to mix up what you add to it. If you prefer scallions to red onion, that will work. If you’re out of carrots but have a red pepper, dice it up and add it! To give this more of a “chicken salad” feel, rather than “tuna,” omit the seaweed flakes and use two teaspoons of dried dill.
When I know I’m going to have a busy week, I’ll mix up a batch of this tofu tuna on Sunday so that lunches are easy to make throughout the week. Here, I’ve used it on bread as sandwiches, but you can always pile it on top of a salad too. Use gluten-free bread to make the recipe gluten-free.
Tofu Tuna Salad Sandwiches
For the Tofu Tuna
- 1 container (14 ounces ) firm tofu
- 1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon or whole-grain mustard
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 1 carrot diced
- 1/4 cup red onion diced (about 1/4 of an onion)
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons seaweed flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
For the Sandwiches
- 8 slices of bread
- 1 large tomato sliced
- 8 lettuce leaves
Place the entire container of tofu in the freezer for about 24 hours, or until it seems frozen throughout.
Remove the tofu from freezer and allow to thaw. Squeeze as much water out of it as possible.
Crumble the tofu into a large bowl, add all of the remaining ingredients, and mix thoroughly. Chill for a few hours so the tofu can absorb the flavors. Season to taste.
To make the sandwiches, place about 1/4 of them tofu mixture on a slice of bread and top with the lettuce and tomato. Top with another slice of bread and repeat with the remaining ingredients.
If you enjoyed these sandwiches, you might also like:
- Tahini Chickpea Salad
- Apple Pecan Tempeh Salad
- Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
- Raw Sunflower Seed Tuna Wraps