Vegan Jackfruit Tuna Salad 🌱 This all vegan version of a classic tuna salad is so easy & so good! A beautifully balanced combo of jackfruit, white beans, fresh celery, onions, pickles & dressing. Sorry Charlie . . . there's no fish in this delish dish!
Full disclosure here. I stopped eating meat when I was 19 and haven't had a bite of it since - which has been more than four decades. So this admission you're about to read might seem a bit strange.
When I was a kid, I loved tuna salad sandwiches. In fact, I loved them so much, it was the only type of sandwich I would eat for lunch at school in second grade. Every morning before school, my mom would make this sandwich for me: Canned tuna mixed with Miracle Whip on white Wonder bread - packed unrefrigerated in my lunch box. Five days a week, the entire school year, that's what I had. Frankly, it's a miracle I survived.
Recently, my husband the whiz-bang culinary artist he is, surprised me with a beautifully arranged plate that included a scoop of what appeared to be tuna salad. Having lived meat-free my entire adult life, I will admit that I have an aversion to anything that appears or tastes too similar to actual meat. My initial reaction was "It looks too much like tuna . . . I might not like it" but, for him, I decided to at least give it a try. Boy am I glad I did. Very similar in texture and flavor to tuna but not "fishy" tasting, this vegan version of tuna salad is so much better than eating fish. It's a winner and sure to please most palates.
The key ingredient in this recipe is the very versatile jackfruit.
What is jackfruit?
Available canned or fresh, this weirdly wonderful fruit comes from a species of tree in the breadfruit and fig family and is the largest tree fruit in the world. A single jackfruit can weigh as much as 100 lbs. or more! Mild in flavor, it lends itself to a wide-array of vegan dishes as it readily absorbs and takes on any spices and seasonings you combine with it and its texture allows it to be shredded or chopped, similar to most meats. It is a rich source of many vitamins and minerals, is high in fiber and contains no cholesterol or saturated fats.
How to prepare jackfruit
For this recipe, you will want to use canned jackfruit, packed in brine, not syrup. Syrup will make your salad sweet, which is not the flavor we are aiming for. Preparing fresh jackfruit is certainly doable, but rather messy & time consuming, so for sake of ease, I prefer using canned. When you open the can, you'll first need to pour off the brine. The jackfruit will be precut into wedges or cubes. Sometimes there may be a few rather tough-skinned seed pods in the fruit. Use a small knife or your fingers to remove those before cutting up the fruit.
How to make vegan jackfruit tuna salad
This recipe is very simple and quick to prepare. In about 20 minutes you'll be enjoying this flavorful and satisfying salad!
Follow the simple directions in the recipe below and be sure to watch my video for additional tips on preparing this delish dish!
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Vegan Jackfruit Tuna Salad
- medium bowl
- small bowl
- small knife
- potato masher or spoon
- 2 qt. saucepan
- 1 20 oz can jackfruit packed in water or brine (not syrup) drained
- 1 15.5 oz can Great Northern beans drained
- ½ sweet onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic finely sliced
- ½ teaspoon dried tarragon
- ½ tablespoon vegan butter
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ C vegan mayo
- 3 tablespoon pickle relish
- 2 tablespoon mustard
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 teaspoon kelp granules optional (for a 'fishier' flavor)
- Cut jackfruit (along grain) into thin slices. Shred slices with a fork until flakey.
- Saute onion and garlic in a skillet with olive oil until slightly transparent, but not browned.
- Add jackfruit and tarragon and continue cooking on medium-low heat for 3 minutes.
- In a saucepan, heat butter and white beans, add sea salt. Simmer until beans are tender.
- Remove beans from heat and thoroughly mash with a spoon.
- In a large bowl, combine mashed beans with jackfruit and let cool for five minutes.
- Stir in diced celery.
- In a smaller bowl, combine mayo, relish, mustard and lemon.
- Pour over jackfruit and beans and mix thoroughly.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve. Simply delicious!
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Don’t leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended