I stopped eating tuna long before I went vegan. I love the taste of tuna, but it was just so obvious to me that something fishy (pun intended) was going on with the production of tuna. Fortunately, it turns out making your own fish free tuna salad is really easy.
Taking the fish out of it
I discovered while starting to work with Vegadutchie on our vegan cookbook that seaweed is your buddy if you wanna swap out fish. Our book is gonna included a bunch of dishes that normally would have fish in them, like French fish soup and jambalaya. Apparently a lot of the distinctive flavor of fish just comes from them hanging out in the ocean. Seaweed hangs out in the ocean too. Pretty obvious, right?
The second thing you wanna tackle (see what I did there?) in replacing fish is the bite. It has to be mildly chewy, but not too much. There are several ways to get that done, depending on what you’re making. For this tuna salad I went with sunflower seeds. It’s best to soak them for at least an hour to help digestion, but if you’re in a hurry just pour some boiling water over them, rinse with cold water and proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Wait but why? Fish is healthy, right? Nope.
Long before the recent invention of the word superfoodsfish was considered a superfood. Back in those days, eating fish probably actually was really good for you (not for the fish though, they hated it). Fish is a healthy source of protein and it’s rich in healthy fatty acids. Nowadays, however, fish is also rich in pollutants like mercury. That goes especially for predatory fish like tuna and salmon since they’re almost on the top of the food chain.
But maybe the guy at your gym keeps telling you you need tuna and chicken because they’re good sources of a whole range of things. Maybe they are. They’re just not the only products to contain protein and the like. There are other sources like legumes and beans for protein and algae oil for your omega 3 fatty acid that don’t have the risk of giving you mercury poisoning. Besides, there’s a bit of the debate of just how much protein people actually need.
And then there’s that
There are also a couple of other reasons to skip tuna and other fish, like overfishing, killing of dolphins (who like to hang out close to tuna and end up in the same net) and the cruel conditions under which fish are caught and farm fish are bred. To each his own, but I felt that personally it just felt wrong to continue eating fish until they go extinct. Especially when it turns out that in a lot of cases I don’t even need fish for a lot of the dishes I love to eat. Like tuna salad.
Vegan Tuna Salad Sandwich
You don't need tuna to make tuna salad. It turns out making your own fish free tuna salad is really easy. This recipe will blow your mind.
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 sheet nori
- 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
- ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 3 rolls bread Or 1 baguette cut in three pieces
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 tbsp capers
- 1 tomato
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 handful rocket or lettuce
Soak the sunflower seeds in some water for at least one hour (if you have the time soak them overnight to help digestion. On the other hand, when you're in a hurry just pour some hot water over them and continue straight away). Rinse them with cold water and put them in a food processor. Tear up the nori sheets and add that along with the (homemade) mayo, and salt and pepper. Pulse a few times and pause to scrape the sides of the bowl. Then repeat until everything is nicely mixed.
Put the 'tuna' salad on the bread and add some toppings. Put a skewer in the sandwich to prevent it falling apart and dig in.