Tuna melt is a super-easy classic sandwich that’s so easy to veganize. I like to use baked tofu for vegan tuna melt sandwiches (aka “tofuna”), but you can use plant-based tuna alternatives if you prefer.
Basically all you need to do is mash (or flake) your protein of choice, slather with vegan mayo and a few extra embellishments. Top with vegan cheese, and you’ve got a lively lunch inspired by a nostalgic classic.
As I mentioned, my favorite way to make this is with baked tofu If you’re not familiar, it’s a ready-to-use, firm and flavored variety of tofu. Learn more about baked tofu here.
Or, if you want to go the plant-based tuna rout, learn about some of the top vegan seafood alternatives here. You can even use mashed chickpeas (see the variation in the Notes section of the recipe box) for this recipe. It’s flexible!
There’s no reason you can’t turn this into a quick dinner as well, served with any kind of vegetable soup.
Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
Explore more …
- Easy tofu recipes for every meal of the day
- Ways to use baked tofu
- Vegan “seafood” recipes
- Ridiculously Easy “Tofuna” Sandwich Spread
“Tofuna” Vegan Tuna Melt Sandwiches
I like to use baked tofu for a vegan tuna melt, but you can use some of the great new plant-based tuna alternatives, or even mashed chickpeas.
- 6 to 8 ounces finely crumbled baked tofu (see note) or plant-based tuna
- 1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 2 medium celery stalks, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon pickle relish, optional (but highly recommended)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives or scallion, optional
- 6 slices whole-grain bread or 4 English muffins, split
- Thinly shredded lettuce or baby spinach
- Thinly sliced tomatoes
- Vegan cheese shreds, any variety, as needed
- Combine the tofu or vegan tuna, mayonnaise, celery, and optional relish and chives in a mixing bowl and stir until well blended.
- Toast the bread or muffins. Line with lettuce and tomatoes, then distribute the tofu mixture evenly.
- Sprinkle with vegan cheese and arrange on a platter. Microwave briefly, just until the cheese melts (start with one minute on HIGH and increase as needed).
- Serve at once, allowing 1 or 2 slices made with bread per serving, or 2 English muffin halves.
Some plant-based tuna comes already nicely flaked, but if what you’re using isn’t, simply flake a bit more with a fork. If using baked tofu, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of dulse flakes for a mildly fishy flavor, though that’s entirely optional.
Variation: Use a 15-ounce can chickpeas (drained and rinsed), mashed, in place of the baked tofu or vegan tuna.
See more easy vegan recipes and sandwiches & wraps
I have a serious problem with almost all of the vegan cheeses, especially those that melt. They seem to have very little nutritional value. Almost all have zero protein and not much else to offer in terms of nutrition. I’m ok with feta, because it’s more like a seasoning, but substituting vegan cheeses in most recipes seems to me to result in losing nutrition. I’m wondering if I should start making my own vegan cheeses and whether home made recipes have more protein or other nutritionally valuable ingredients.
This is a good question and a valid concern. I think of vegan cheese as a flavoring rather than a protein or nutrition source. Daiya, for example, is based on tapioca flour, which is kind of a neutral ingredient in my opinion. I also think it’s good for people to know that if they’re lactose intolerant, or want to go vegan to mitigate animal suffering and/or climate change, vegan cheeses are there to prove that they don’t have to give up favorite foods like pizza, mac and cheese, etc.
Dairy cheese might have protein, but it’s also packed with cholesterol and saturated fat, not even considering the animal suffering involved or the dairy industry’s direct tie to the veal industry.
There are vegan cheeses that have more going for them nutritionally, especially the ones based on cashews, but they are very expensive. There are several books that guide you thru the process of making your own vegan cheeses, and while they’re a little involved, the results can be quite good! I would recommend Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner and Veganize It! by Robin Robertson. There are others, as well as recipes online, of course.
It’s good to “see” you on this site, and hope we can continue the conversation!