Vegan Tuna Melt

This vegan tuna melt recipe is made with tasty vegan tuna salad and topped with melted vegan cheese between two slices of bread. It’s like a vegan grilled cheese sandwich with a delicious chickpea tuna bonus!

Two halves of a sandwich are stacked, revealing vegan tuna salad and melted vegan cheese on golden grilled bread. There are potato chips in the background.

A tuna melt is merely a grilled cheese sandwich with tuna salad. Believe it or not, it’s so easy to veganize this favorite comfort food sandwich. Simply substitute chickpea tuna salad and use vegan cheddar slices and you’ll be so glad you did!

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Use thickly-sliced bread to help the cheese get gooey while the bread is toasting
  • Keeping the heat on medium to low helps toast the bread slowly, allowing the cheese to melt more evenly
  • Use softened vegan butter to spread it more evenly across the soft bread before grilling

Key Ingredients

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

  • Lemon — We’ll use both the zest and the juice of the lemon.
  • Oats — I used rolled oats for this recipe, but you can substitute instant oats.
  • Chia — We’ll add some ground chia seeds to create a thicker texture. You can use whole chia seeds; I just prefer ground because it creates a smoother finished texture.
  • Syrup — I used maple syrup, but you can substitute agave nectar.
  • Milk — We’ll use almond milk for the best overnight oats! Substitute your favorite plant-based milk.
  • Yogurt — I love adding some plant-based yogurt (plain, unsweetened) for an even more tangy flavor.
  • Protein Powder — I add some vanilla protein powder for increased flavor and nutrients. If your protein powder is not sweetened, you may want to add an extra teaspoon or two of sweetener.
  • Cornstarch — We’ll use cornstarch to thicken the lemon curd topping.
  • Turmeric — A pinch of turmeric makes that lemon curd sunny yellow.
  • Vegan tuna salad — Follow my recipe for vegan tuna salad that uses chickpeas.
  • Bread — Use your favorite dairy-free sandwich bread, such as whole wheat or sourdough.
  • Vegan cheddar cheese slices — I prefer vegan cheddar, but there are so many tasty vegan cheeses these days. Substitute your favorites!
  • Vegan Butter — We’ll use vegan butter to toast the bread. You can use storebought dairy-free butter or margarine or make your own vegan butter.

Marly’s Tips

For an even crispier crust and slightly herbal flavor, try brushing the bread with olive oil instead of softened vegan butter.

How to Make Vegan Tuna Melt

  1. Prepare the vegan tuna salad recipe.
  2. Butter one side of four slices of bread.
  3. Make sandwiches by spreading vegan tuna salad on two slices of bread. Top with cheese slices. Place a bread slice on top, buttered side up.
  4. Cook sandwiches in a heated skillet over medium heat until golden brown on one side.
  5. Use a spatula to gently turn each sandwich.
  6. Microwave the sandwiches for up to a minute to encourage the cheese to melt even more.
  7. Transfer sandwiches to plates and serve warm.

Storage Tips

Store leftover sandwiches in an airtight container in the fridge. To serve it, heat it up in the skillet until the bread is toasted.

Serving Suggestions

Serve these tasty sandwiches with any of the following on the side:

More Vegan Sandwiches

If you love this vegan chickpea tuna melt, you’ll be ready for more vegan sandwiches?!Try these delicious recipes:

A vegan tuna melt sandwich reveals golden grilled bread and melted vegan cheese. It sits in front of a plate with potato chips.

That’s it for this vegan tuna melt. Enjoy!

A vegan tuna melt sandwich is cut and half and the two halves are stacked, revealing melted vegan cheese and chickpea tuna salad.

Chickpea Tuna Melt

Make this vegan tuna melt sandwich topped with melted vegan cheese. It's a filling, delicious comfort food meal for lunch or dinner.
5 from 2 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Resting Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 sandwiches
Calories: 597kcal



  • Prepare the chickpea tuna salad recipe as directed.
  • Butter one side of four slices of bread.
  • Spread a generous portion of chickpea tuna salad on two slices of bread. Top with 2 cheese slices. Place a bread slice on top, buttered side up.
  • Place a skillet over medium heat. Place the sandwiches on the heated skillet and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown. Then use a spatula and carefully turn each sandwich, cooking on the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown and the cheese is melting.
    A skillet holds a sandwich with buttered bread on top.
  • If the cheese doesn't melt entirely, you can place it in the microwave and heat it for 30 seconds to a minute.
  • Transfer sandwiches to plates and serve immediately.

(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)

Calories: 597kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 1681mg | Potassium: 281mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 539IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 107mg | Iron: 4mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

This post was originally published in 2013 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.

9 Responses to Vegan Tuna Melt

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyKatie Reply

    5 stars
    I love anything with chickpeas and less than 5 ingredients! Looks like a perfect lunch.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      We are kindred spirits for sure!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMaggie Muggins Reply

    I used to hate (eating) fish! I never got how people could like that fishy flavor, but to each their own. A non-fishy tuna melt is something I can definitely get behind! Sorry you got hatemail for creating yummy recipes (weirdos), some people are just haters.

  3. Avatar thumbnail image for Marlyvegan miam Reply

    That looks sooooo miam!

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      I had to look this up to learn that “miam” is French for yummy. Thanks – love this expression!

  4. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyBarb@ThatWasVegan? Reply

    How funny… not only did I recently make tuna melts, but I used the exact same cheese on mine as well! I think simple meals like this are just the best.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      Great minds!

  5. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlySommer @ ASpicyPerspective Reply

    Great appetizer!

  6. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMr. & Mrs. P Reply

    This sounds wonderful Marly! Love the golden cheese!!!

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