HEALTHY LITTLE VITTLES is a food blog created by certified health coach and published author, Gina Fontana, that focuses on gluten-free + vegan + plant-based recipes. Here you'll find simple, flavorful meals, many made in 30 minutes or less! All eaters are welcome, there is a little something here for everyone!
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This Vegan Tuna Melt is made with chickpeas and combined with tahini, dijon mustard, celery, onion, garlic, dill, salt, lemon juice, topped with a slice of vegan cheddar cheese and a layer of vegan mayonnaise then grilled between two slices of gluten-free bread for the best gluten-free tuna melt sandwich great any night of the week!
When I did eat tuna fish, my favorite ways to enjoy it was a classic tuna salad sandwich and a tuna melt. Once I decided to go vegan I was able to find a pretty decent tuna salad replacement that tasted good enough and that my kids also love, using chickpeas as the base. It wasn’t until recently that I used that tuna salad to make a tuna melt and oh my gosh is it good! I like it even better as a tuna melt than simply a cold tuna salad sandwich. The kids (and hubby) scarfed it down- saying “mmm!” even, so you know it’s a good recipe, haha 😉
The tuna salad is super easy to make. Simply drain two cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and place them into a food processor/blender. Add the tahini, dijon mustard, dill., garlic, salt, and lemon juice and pulse to combine.
The right texture. You don’t want the chickpeas to be completely blended, that’s why I say pulse the mixture. You don’t want to make hummus, so you still want the mixture to be a little chunky.
Once the tuna salad base is combined, spoon it into a medium bowl and add the finely diced onion and celery. Gently stir to combine.
Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Butter the outsides of your gluten-free bread slices with dairy-free butter or vegan mayonnaise and then place once slice of bread, butter side down, in the skillet. Spread some of the tuna salad over top of the bread in the skillet and then top with a slice or two of vegan cheddar cheese. Cover the skillet with a lid so that the cheese melts. Spread some vegan mayonnaise on the unbuttered side of the other slice of bread. Once the cheese is melted, add thinly-sliced tomato on top of the cheese and top with the other slice of bread, mayo side touching the tomatoes. Grill each sandwich until the outsides of the bread are crispy, flipping as the bottom slice turns golden. Repeat for all sandwiches.
To save on time, prepare all of the bread slices with butter and spread the tuna salad over top of multiple slices to cook them all at the same time, if you have a big enough skillet.
Serve with french fries, pickles, and/or chips!
You’ll likely have leftover tuna salad, which is great for lunch another day as just a tuna salad sandwich, on top of toast, or tuna melts later on in the week. Keep the tuna salad stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Tip. I love the crunchiness from the onion and celery, so if it’s not crunchy enough to your liking after a couple of days you can always add more.
Other than personal preference, canned tuna kind of grossing me out, there are some other reasons to eat less seafood. While eating fish has some nutritional benefits, it also has potential risks. Fish can take in harmful chemicals from the water and the food they eat, such as mercury and PCBs. As the water becomes more polluted it’s not uncommon for these chemicals to build up in their bodies over time. When we consume high levels of mercury and PCBs, it can harm the brain and nervous system, and potentially cause cancer.
If you’re consuming fish as a primary source of omega-3 fatty acid, try taking a supplement that includes omega-3 (that includes ALA, EPA, DHA and including these plant foods that are high in omega-3’s:
* If you prefer to grill the sandwiches using vegan butter that works too.
** Store any leftover tuna salad covered in the fridge and enjoy throughout the week! It's delicious cold too 🙂