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Chickpea "Tuna" Salad is Not Tuna, But No One is Mad

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If you're looking for tuna salad, turn back now.

But if you're looking for more proof of the versatility of chickpeas—if you're looking for a lunch (or dinner, or breakfast?) somewhere between hummus and chickpea salad, somewhere between a spread and a dip, that's adept enough to hold your brine or spice or sesame oilhere it is. And you can call it whatever you like.

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Chickpea "Tuna" Salad
Chickpea "Tuna" Salad

Chickpea "tuna" salad, though reminiscent of its namesake in appearance, won't fool you when it comes to taste—but that's not a bad thing. With no allegiance to the sea, chickpea "tuna" can be as fishy or as earthy or as a wacky as you want it to be.

Take a can of chickpeas and pulse them in a food processor until they're pulverized but still chunky. (You can also use a potato masher or a sturdy fork, but I find the machine does a better, faster job.) Add roughly chopped vegetables and some herbs and spices (go with red onion, celery, and dill if you're inspired by tuna) along with some sort of creamy element (I went with Greek yogurt and tahini, but you could use crème fraîche or sour cream or vegan mayonnaise).

Brighten it with lemon zest; make it briny with capers or dill pickles; add crumbled nori or a dash of ume plum vinegar; or throw in some toasted sunflower seeds (like in this recipe from The Minimalist Baker) for earthiness.

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And since this isn't actually tuna salad, feel free to turn it into something that isn't actually chicken salad either: Add curry powder and Sriracha, or walnuts, dried cranberries, and chopped apples.

Provençal Tuna Melt
Provençal Tuna Melt

Scoop it onto toasted rye topped with greens. The next day, spread it on a thick piece of wheat bread, broil some white cheddar over top, and there you have it: a chickpea "tuna" melt (though you can call it whatever you want).

Inspiration for your next tuna-free "tuna" salad:

Joan's on Third's Curried Chickpeas

Joan's on Third's Curried Chickpeas by Ali Slagle

A Tale of Two Egg Salads (& How to Make Them)

A Tale of Two Egg Salads (& How to Make Them) by Ali Slagle

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Chicken Salad with Pickled Grapes and Celery Leaves

Chicken Salad with Pickled Grapes and Celery Leaves by Ashley Rodriguez

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How to Make Chicken Salad Without a Recipe

How to Make Chicken Salad Without a Recipe by Kenzi Wilbur

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Two-Pea Pesto Chicken Salad

Two-Pea Pesto Chicken Salad by Kendra Vaculin

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My Mother's Potato Salad

My Mother's Potato Salad by Kenzi Wilbur

Tags: chickpea, food processor, salad