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Tempeh Tuna Salad That Will Make You Melt!

Tuna salad. Either you love it, or you hate it.

Most of my life, I was disgusted by the canned tuna and mayo combo that so many enjoyed. However, after trying a toasty tuna melt during undergrad, I was hooked. I was ordering it whenever I had the opportunity.

Fortunately, just a few years later, I came to realize the benefits of not eating animal products—including tuna fish, which was sadly the variety of meat I was consuming most frequently.

Fish – especially big, fatty fish like tuna – have a build-up of toxic mercury from pollution. When you eat tuna, mercury builds up in your body, too. Although canned tuna is placed in the “lower mercury” category of seafood options, it still contributes over one-third of the mercury exposure for the average American.

Additionally, many kinds of canned tuna have added oils and sugars.

After seven years of being tuna-free, I tried a Tempeh Tuna Melt at the Butcher's Son (a vegan deli) in Berkeley. Although it was absolutely scrumptious, it was way too oily for me to enjoy regularly.

So I came home and immediately got to work on making an oil-free Tempeh Tuna Salad.

This "tuna" salad is so much healthier than the traditional version....and nothing tastes as good as healthy feels!

Aside from being tuna free, The Culinary Gym's version is also mayo-free.

A typical mayo recipe that yields 1 cup calls for 3/4 cup of oil! Yikes!

Even the Just Mayo product from Hampton Creek Foods, which is vegan, remarkably delicious, and a major player in the mayo market is still not healthy due to its high oil content.

That's why I'm so stoked about this Tempeh Tuna Salad! It's delicious without all of the processed fat.

The flavor combo of crumbled tempeh, diced veggies, fresh dill, and a cashew-based dressing will surprise and delight! It’s chunky, creamy, and totally refreshing!

Tempeh Tuna Salad

By Chef Katie Mae

Makes about 4 cups | Ready in 3 minutes | Stores 1 week in fridge



  • 8 oz tempeh
  • ½ small red onion, finely diced (2 oz)
  • 1 celery rib, finely diced (2 oz)
  • 1 carrot, finely diced (2 oz)
  • 1½ tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • ½ teaspoon kelp or dulse flakes
  • black pepper to taste



  • ½ cup cashews (2 oz)
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon ume vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon stoneground mustard
  • 1 unsweetend pickle, chopped (optional)



  1. Boil the tempeh in a medium-sized pot for twenty minutes, until tender. Drain the water and let tempeh cool.
  2. Once tempeh has cooled smash it with a fork until it’s mostly broken apart.
  3. Mix in the onion, celery, carrot, dill, and kelp or dulse.
  4. Add all of the dressing ingredients, except for the pickle, to a blender. Blend until creamy. Then add the pickle and blend for just a couple seconds, so the pickle adds a little texture.
  5. Pour the dressing into the tempeh and veggies, and stir well. Add black pepper to taste and then refrigerate until you’re ready to eat.

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