When it comes to transitioning to veganism, I like to think of it as a gradual tiered process. One that someone can constantly modify and tweak until it suits them and their tastebuds. When we first transitioned from pescatarian to vegan, we would seek out the meat and cheese substitutes. The closer the imitation meat the better. This was years ago, before Beyond Meat or Impossible Burgers were readily available. Over time, our tastebuds changed, dramatically. The appearance of imitation fish, chicken, or red meat was no longer appealing. We now could taste the full range of wonderful plants on our plates. And the thought of animals suffering to become an empty calorie meal was extremely off-putting. So, now that imitation meats and cheese are at all time highest, with their ability to fool any meat-eater, we have been reluctant to try all the newest vegan products.
Before veganism, tuna salad was a go-to easy meal of mine. A tuna salad stuffed pita was an easy filling lunch that I had previously sought out regularly. So, when I came across Loma Linda canned Tuno in spring water, I decided I had to give it a try. It instantly takes you back to buying canned tuna, which for a new vegan or someone dabbling in meatless meals may be a plus. So much of our eating habits is based on ritual and they say you eat with your eyes first. The appearance and texture are spot on to tuna. I went with my previous tuna salad recipe that I literally grew up with- pickle relish, mayo, and dash or salt and pepper. Of course, I used vegan mayo. There are plenty of brands of vegan mayo on the market now. I used Sir Kensington mayo, which I ordered through Thrive Market . Once mixed, I placed the Tuno salad on a flaxseed wrap with baby spinach and sliced avocado. It definitely hit the mark in recreating this past life meal for me. The funny thing is that I this stage of my plantbased journey, the imitation tuna was no longer appealing. However, I am sure there are a ton of ways to use this Tuno product, so I recommend getting creative!
An alternative to the imitation tuna, is chickpeas. Hear me out! The chickpeas give a fantastic texture. They are easy to make into a delicious tuna-less salad and are nutrient-rich. The more econonimcal and eco-friendly method is to cook dried chickpeas. Without an InstaPot or other pressure cooker, it can be a lengthy process. If you are looking for an easier option, I highly recommend Jack’s Quality Beans- which are packaged in Tetrapak instead of cans. If you are new to shopping for chickpeas or hummus- please check out the EWG website where they discuss the best brands for decreasing pesticide exposure. For the chickpea salad recipe, I am a huge fan of Forks Over Knives. Linked here. Definitely give it a try. Below I will post a link to the cook book that I use most often.
Raising Vegan Tip- One cup of chickpeas has 78% daily value (DV) of protein; that is 39 grams of protein! In that 1 cup you will also get 50% DV (1750 mg) of potassium, 69% DV of iron, 55% DV of vitamin B6, 140% DV of fiber, 57% DV of magnesium, and 21% DV of calcium. If using canned or tetrapak chickpeas, be sure to save the liquid, which is known as aquafaba, for future recipes calling for an egg.
Another option for tuna-less salad is tempeh. Tempeh is versatile and easy to work with. You may have a difficult time finding it if your local grocery doesn’t carry it. However, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Kroger, and even Walmart Neighborhood Markets carry tempeh. It may be hidden the first time you go to look for it, so don’t be afraid to ask. Ours is usually located with other refrigerated vegan products or with the hummus (not sure why?). For a tempeh tuna-less salad recipe, I go to another favorite vegan cookbook, Plant Pure Nation, written by Kim Campbell. I will link this one as well. This recipe has amazing flavor! I often make a double batch to ensure I have leftovers to use for lunches during the week. Whether on a wrap or a salad this tempeh tuna-less salad does not disappoint!
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