When Is Tuna Fish Not Tuna Fish?
Prior to being a vegetarian, many years ago, I did enjoy a tuna sandwich or salad now and then. A perfect dish for a hot afternoon. During my almost twenty years of vegetarianism I’ve sampled many tuna substitutes, with various results. Most of them were discontinued, or were imported to a store on the East coast and then resold and shipped. Have you ever noticed how foods that are marketed as substitutes for other foods either have quotations around their names as if someone was whispering it behind their hand? Or else the names are spelled wrong, like Tuno or Bakon. There is also the saner although still questionable method of placing the word ‘mock’ in front of the word, such as ‘mock-tuna’, which is better than misspelling. Anyway, back to the topic, in trying to keep my carbon footprint low I’m eliminating the purchase of goods that require so much shipping.
This week I discovered a marvelous tuna substitute (I say, “discovered” when really I’m probably the last to know). It is low calorie, high in protein and fiber, inexpensive, easy to prepare, doesn’t kill tuna or dolphins, and they grow here in California. I can also buy them organic. They are garbanzo beans, otherwise known as chickpeas.
The flavor of garbanzo beans is very mild and takes well to light seasoning. Substitute mashed garbanzo beans in your favorite tuna salad or sandwich recipe. If you use Veganase – a dairy-free mayonnaise substitute – then you have a mock tuna salad or sandwich that won’t be dangerous to eat at picnics because neither the beans nor Veganase spoil quickly. Incorporating dill into the mix gives the mix a fishier flavor, since dill is so commonly paired with fish. Simple, nutritious, inexpensive and very yummy. Can’t go wrong with that!
- One can organic garbanzo beans
- 2-3 tablespoons Veganase or mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon minced dill, preferably fresh
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 -3 cups cooked, cooled small shaped pasta, such as shells
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chilled iceberg lettuce
- Drain and empty canned garbanzos into a small bowl.
- Mash with a potato masher until almost smooth, keeping some of the lumps for texture.
- Stir in Veganase, dill, celery, cumin, salt and pepper.
- Stir chickpea mixture into cooled noodles until well mixed.
- Serve over iceberg lettuce with a dill pickle on the side.