Making a good tuna salad sandwich can be tricky, but making a good vegan tuna salad sandwich can be even trickier. There are a lot of things to take into account: the quality of the vegan tuna (we can tell you right now, not all of them are good), the ratio of salad ingredients to vegan mayo, the taste and texture of the bread…the list goes on. When it comes to a protein as specific as vegan tuna, the flavor pairings matter a great deal.
Whether you’re a chicken-of-the-sea lover who is dipping a toe into fishless waters or a lifelong vegan who’s always wanted to experience the joy of tuna salad, we’ve got you covered. From the bread to the vegan cheese (you know, if you want to make it a melt), here’s Sporked‘s guide to the ultimate vegan tuna salad sandwich.
- Unmeat Tuna Style Flakes in Sunflower Oil
Let’s begin where any tuna sandwich should: with the tuna itself. Or in this case, the imitation tuna (imi-tuna). For a good vegan facsimile of tuna, look no further than Unmeat’s Tuna Style Flakes in Sunflower Oil. In our ranking of the best imi-tuna, Sporked editor-in-chief Justine Sterling said, “This is the best vegan tuna to use in place of either standard canned tuna or that fancy tuna that comes packed in olive oil.” Buy a can of this and you’re off to a good start.
Read the full ranking of the best vegan tuna
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- Follow Your Heart Original Vegenaise
In my view, a quality meat-salad sandwich lives and dies by its mayo. Average-to-subpar meat can be elevated with a good sauce, but awful sauce makes a sandwich a no-go. For a vegan tuna salad sandwich, we recommend Follow Your Heart’s Original Vegenaise. In our ranking of the best vegan mayo, senior writer Jordan Myrick wrote, “This plant-based mayo is nearly indistinguishable from egg-based mayo.” Personally, I’d even go so far as to recommend this for non-vegan tuna salad, especially if you want something with less saturated fat and much less cholesterol than regular mayo.
Read the full ranking of the best vegan mayo
Credit: Liv Averett / Follow Your Heart
- Heinz Sweet Relish
We have our (fake) fish. We have our creamy binder. Next up? Relish. This salty-sweet condiment adds crunch and brightness to a creamy mixture of fish and mayo. It also adds an acidic tang that cuts through the saltiness of the imi-tuna. Heinz Sweet Pickle Relish is the perfect relish for the job. In ranking of the best pickle relish, Jordan praised Heinz for being “a nice, classic sweet pickle relish in the world’s most convenient packaging.” It’s a sandwich standard for a reason, folks.
Read the full ranking of the best sweet pickle relish
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- Dave’s Killer Bread Organic Powerseed Sandwich Bread
Last but certainly not least: bread. But what bread completes this vegan tuna salad sandwich? From our ranking of wheat breads, we found that Dave’s Killer Bread Organic Powerseed Sandwich Bread certainly takes the cake. Wheat breads are so self-conscious that they’re constantly adding honey to make themselves “more appealing.” This wheat bread, on the other hand, knows what it is and it’s good at it. “If you’re looking for a wheat bread that has no sweetness at all, Dave’s Killer Bread is the bread for you,” Jordan wrote. “This whole wheat loaf packs oaty, seedy, whole-grain savory goodness in every bite.”
A savory, nutrient-filled wheat bread? Hmmm…that would go great with our sweet-and-creamy mixture of imi-tuna, vegan mayo, and relish! Now we have ourselves a vegan tuna salad sandwich—enjoy! Or don’t! I’m not your mom!
Read the full ranking of the best wheat bread
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- Violife Just Like Mature Cheddar Slices
BUT WAIT! Are you an absolute vegan tuna sandwich daredevil? Tuna melts are already a bold proposition. A mayonnaise-y salad with cheese melted on top? I envy people with the gastric fortitude to handle that on a regular basis. You are a warrior and you deserve respect.
Of course, we need a vegan cheese for our vegan tuna melt. I’m going with the best “cheddar” we tried in our vegan cheese taste test, Violife Mature Cheddar Slices, which will improve any strange sandwich situation (sandwichuation). Justine wrote that while this vegan cheese isn’t as sharp as dairy cheese, it has “a lovely mild cheddar flavor.” This is a tasty vegan cheddar with a solid melt factor for your vegan melt sandwich.
Read the full ranking of the best vegan cheese
Credit: Liv Averett / Walmart