The best vegan tuna does taste a lot like tuna—but it, unfortunately, also looks a lot like cat food. But, hey, so does non-vegan canned tuna! We found as many brands of plant-based tuna as we could, opened them up, attracted the attention of a few neighborhood strays, and gave them a try in order to find the vegan tuna fish that’s actually worth buying.
The world of plant-based meat alternatives has come a long way since the invention of Tofurky. Mad food scientists have moved beyond replicating land animal meat and are now diving into the ocean, creating plant-based tuna. Some are abominations. But some are pretty successful. Now, thanks to vegan mayo and vegan cheese, those who eschew animal products can finally enjoy a vegan tuna salad or vegan tuna melt again.
As we tasted through can after can, pouch after pouch of vegan tuna fish, we were looking for something that actually tasted like tuna. It couldn’t just be an okay-tasting protein packed in juice. It needed to taste like it came from the sea. We also wanted good texture. The best canned tuna is flaky with a decent bite to it. It’s not mushy. We held vegan tuna to the same standards.
Here’s the best vegan tuna you can buy right now.
- Jinka Plant-Based Tuna Original
Sold in the refrigerated section, Jinka is marketed as a soy-based tuna spread. It’s much more similar to the consistency of tuna salad from the deli than canned tuna. And it tastes like there’s already mayo (or vegan mayo) in the mix. That makes it the best vegan tuna for a fast vegan tuna sandwich. Or stuff it into an avocado and drizzle with a little dressing for a classic throw-back lunch. Jinka is also a good source of omega 3s (thanks to seaweed), just like real fish!
Credit: Merc / Jinka
- Unmeat Tuna Style Flakes Hot & Spicy
Spoiler alert: Unmeat makes our favorite plant-based tuna. But they also make our second favorite vegan tuna. Sold shelf-stable in a can, it’s made with wheat and soy proteins along with sunflower oil, vegetable broth, chili, yeast extract, and a few other things that help recreate the texture and flavor of tuna. I liked the bright, acidic flavor, and the kick of heat on the end. It definitely would satisfy the heat seekers out there. Eat it on some crackers or use it to make a spicy, vegan version of that TikTok salmon bowl.
Credit: Merc / Instacart
- Unmeat Tuna Style Flakes in Sunflower Oil
At first I didn’t think the sunflower oil was doing much, but compared to the Unmeat flakes in water, this one is much more luxurious and the oil helps give it some of that fishy fattiness that was missing from the can made with just water. 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. Use it to make vegan tuna salad or vegan tuna casserole or vegan tuna sandwiches. It’s a bit chewy, but the flavor makes up for it and you definitely won’t notice it if you mix it with other ingredients. Stock your pantry with this vegan tuna fish.
Credit: Merc / Instacart
Best for Sandwiches
Best of the Best
Other vegan tuna we tried: Tuno Spring Water, Tuno Lemon Pepper, Tuno Thai Sweet Chili, Unmeat Tuna Style Flakes in Water, Good Catch Plant Based Tuna Naked in Water, Good Catch Plant-Based Tuna Oil & Herbs