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Simple 5-Ingredient Mediterranean Chickpea Tuna Salad (No Mayo!)

If you’re looking for a super simple 5-ingredient lunch idea, this Mediterranean chickpea tuna salad recipe is IT! Just add chickpeas, red bell pepper, fresh parsley, and lemon juice/zest to tuna fish packed in extra virgin olive oil, season with salt & pepper to taste, and serve… SO EASY!

chickpea tuna salad in a glass bowl with lemon garnish
This recipe was created in partnership with StarKist E.V.O.O.™. Thanks for supporting me and the brands I love!

Simple Mediterranean Chickpea Tuna Salad

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve been in kind of a lunchtime rut lately. My daily routine is basically get up, get some work done, workout before lunch, make a quick green smoothie for lunch, and then work some more until it’s time to call it quits for the day.

This week I decided it’s time to break the cycle, so I threw together this super simple Mediterranean chickpea tuna salad, and now I’m kicking myself for staying stuck for so long! With just 5 ingredients, it could NOT be any easier to make. And you mayo haters (yeah, I see you!), you’ll be thrilled to hear that this is a tuna salad WITHOUT mayo.

I’m pretty sure this healthy tuna salad recipe is going to be on repeat in my lunchtime rotation all. summer. long! And since May is Mediterranean Diet Month, it seemed only fair to share the recipe love with you guys.

4 varieties of starkist EVOO pouch tuna for mediterranean tuna salad

PRO TIP: Start With StarKist E.V.O.O.™

I’m a sucker for a good meal prep shortcut, which is why I love these StarKist E.V.O.O.™ pouches. Since the wild caught tuna (or salmon) is already packed in cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, I can easily get away without using mayo in this recipe. Added bonus: extra virgin olive oil gives the tuna a rich, mellow flavor and tender texture.

StarKist E.V.O.O.™ pouches are currently available in the following four delicious varieties:

  • StarKist E.V.O.O.™ Wild-Caught Yellowfin Tuna with Sun-dried Tomato in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • StarKist E.V.O.O.™ Wild-Caught Yellowfin Tuna in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • StarKist E.V.O.O.™ Wild-Caught Pink Salmon in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • StarKist E.V.O.O.™ Wild-Caught Yellowfin Tuna with Lemon Pepper in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Any one of them would be amazing in this simple tuna salad recipe (I mean, they’re ALL delish straight from the pouch), but I decided to use the plain variety as my base…

BTW… In case you’re wondering, StarKist offers StarKist E.V.O.O.™ canned varieties, as well!

ingredients in bowls for how to make tuna salad

How To Make Tuna Salad Without Mayo

Because it’s so lean, canned or pouch tuna fish can be a bit dry on its own, which is why most tuna salads use mayonnaise for moisture and a creamy consistency. If you’re looking to make tuna salad without mayo, extra virgin olive oil is a fantastic option to add fat and flavor, which is why this recipe starts with StarKist E.V.O.O.™ Wild-Caught Yellowfin Tuna in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. No need to add additional olive oil!

So right off the bat, we’re beginning with an omega-3 packed protein that’s immersed in heart-healthy fat. To it we’re going to add four more delicious and nutritious ingredients:

canned chickpeas — aka garbanzo beans, chickpeas are an excellent low-cal source of plant-based protein and fiber. Plus they’re inexpensive, too!

diced red bell pepper — also low-cal and high in fiber, red bell peppers are packed with nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin B6!

chopped fresh parsley — besides adding lots of fresh flavor, parsley also contains one of the highest concentrations of myricetin, a flavonoid that’s been shown to help prevent skin cancer!

lemon juice + zest — another vitamin C booster that’s also a decent source of potassium and vitamin B6!

Simply stir all 5 ingredients together, season to taste with salt and pepper, and refrigerate for an hour or two to let the flavors marry together.

tuna salad no mayo in a pyrex glass bowl with lemon garnish

Ways To Eat Tuna Salad (Without Bread)

Okay, so I have ZERO issues with forking this tuna salad into my mouth straight from the bowl I mixed it in. However, if you’re looking for a more refined way to serve it, I’ve got some suggestions! But first let me tell you, since this is a Mediterranean tuna salad, and the Mediterranean diet steers clear of refined grains, serving this recipe over bread is really not the best option.

I mean, you CAN if you want to, but there are so, SO many other delicious alternatives! Like over a bed of leafy greens (I’m partial to peppery arugula), wrapped in butter lettuce, or even old school boat-style in a halved and hollowed out cucumber or zucchini. Or in an avocado half! If you’re an avocado fan, at some point you absolutely have to try it in a halved grilled avocado

mediterranean tuna salad in a pyrex glass bowl on a wood cutting board

5-Ingredient Simple Tuna Salad Recipe

One last thing: when I started developing this recipe, I challenged myself to create a 5-ingredient, relatively effortless, simple tuna salad recipe that’s healthy and still boasts plenty of flavor. I like to think I totally nailed it! BUT there are also literally hundreds of ways to dress it up (while still keeping that healthy Mediterranean vibe) with a few easy additions.

A FEW IDEAS: minced garlic, finely chopped red onion, diced cucumber, diced artichokes, diced avocado, diced tomatoes, sliced Kalamata olives, and/or crumbled feta cheese…

Not a fan of chickpeas? Try swapping them for cannellini beans. Toss in some fresh basil, rosemary, or thyme. Or if fresh herbs are difficult to find, sprinkle in some dried herbs — just go easy on them to start since they’re more concentrated.

I hope you’ll try my 5-ingredient chickpea tuna salad as is once, and then make it totally your own from there. Please come back to share your favorite combos in the comments!

chickpea tuna salad recipe in a glass bowl on a wooden cutting board with lemon garnish

Mediterranean Chickpea Tuna Salad (No Mayo!)

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

If you’re looking for a super simple 5-ingredient lunch idea, this Mediterranean chickpea tuna salad recipe is IT! Just add chickpeas, red bell pepper, fresh parsley, and lemon juice/zest to tuna fish packed in extra virgin olive oil, season with salt & pepper to taste, and serve…



  1. Add tuna fish, chickpeas, red bell pepper, and parsley to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Pour the lemon juice and zest over top and stir to mix.
  3. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  4. Refrigerate for at least one hour and serve cold.

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    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 323Total Fat: 13.3gSaturated Fat: 2.1gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 531mgCarbohydrates: 28.2gFiber: 5.5gSugar: 0.3gProtein: 23.9g

    Have you tried this recipe?

    Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram. Tag it @unsophisticook and hashtag it #unsophisticook!

    mediterranean tuna salad recipe in a pyrex glass bowl with a pouch of starkist EVOO tuna on the side
    Find StarKist E.V.O.O.™ pouches at a grocer near you.

    If you like this tuna salad recipe, you might also enjoy these other pouch and/or canned tuna recipes:

    Or you might like this chicken salad with grapes that’s made with canned chicken breast chunks!

    Did you make this recipe?
    Tag @unsophisticook on Instagram and hashtag it #unsophisticook.


    Sunday 24th of January 2021

    Great recipe, but I almost bypassed it because it says 1hr and 10mins and my life is too crazy for that! After reading, I can see it’s a super fast recipe, so I can’t wait to add this to this week’s meal plan!

    Tara Kuczykowski

    Sunday 24th of January 2021

    Thanks for the feedback! I can see how that might be confusing. I just removed the refrigeration time from the total time since you can definitely eat it right away if you want to.

    Beth Pierce

    Wednesday 20th of May 2020

    I love tuna! I'm making this for lunch. I can't wait to try this! Thanks!


    Wednesday 20th of May 2020

    I love those tuna packets! They're perfect for making delicious recipes and for a healthy snack!

    Krissy Allori

    Wednesday 20th of May 2020

    This is such a great idea. I've been looking for a healthier way to eat tuna. I'm making this next week for sure.

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