Garbanzo “Tuna” Salad

We had scheduled a Dirty Girl meeting for Super Bowl Saturday, and we decided to meet up for it at Leo Carrillo State Park and have a camping meeting. I remember talking to my friend in college once about how I was planning to go study in the park. He said he always had to study indoors because there were too many fun distractions outside and he’d never get any work done. I remember feeling very sad for him that day, and glad I didn’t have to banish myself to dark, air conditioned places to do already unfun tasks.

I got to the beach a little early on Saturday and went for a barefoot run on the beach. Then we had lunch with the boys, which consisted of several easy home-made salads, and sent them on a hike during business time. We sat on a sunny picnic bench with a beer and a salty sea breeze on our faces, and were very productive. That’s my kind of meeting!

A few special guests arrived in the evening, and we had an awesome dinner made totally on the campfire (meaning basically no dishes). On Sunday, everyone went home to their Super Bowl parties, but Wes and I stayed on the coast because it was a gorgeous day. We went on a small adventure looking for the climbable rock at Point Mugu, but weren’t impressed when we found it, so we spent some time frolicking on the beach with the doggie instead.
It was really lovely to remind ourselves that not all work has to be done in a dull sad way, and not all camping trips have to be packed with complicated, over-planned experiences and long car rides. Sometimes its nice to just get outside, when and where you can.

Here is one of the salads that was demolished at lunchtime over crackers and on sandwiches. It was adapted from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s recipe in The 30-Day Vegan Challenge. Aimee and I both ended up making vegan versions of typical picnic fare, and they turned out fantastic (next up: tofu egg salad). It was especially nice that this one did not acquire a warm fishy smell after being out of the cooler for an hour. I’d vote for it over the real deal any day.

Garbanzo “Tuna” Salad


4-6 servings

Prep Time / Cook Time


Activity Guide

Car Camping, Picnic


  • 2 15-oz cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup mayo (vegan or regular)
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • Can opener
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Large bowl
  • Skillet
  • Potato masher


  1. In a skillet, lightly toast the walnuts, just until they’re fragrant. If you’re making this at home, you can do this in the oven.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the chickpeas until they’re a bit broken down.
  3. Add the mayo, mustard, bell pepper, carrots, celery, and walnuts to the bowl of chickpeas and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in sandwiches or with crackers.

2 thoughts on “Garbanzo “Tuna” Salad

  1. Could you mix all this together and then dehydrate for backpacking, except the mayo? I’m wondering what I could suit for mayo that would be stable?

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