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Vegetarian “Tuna” Melts

  • Author: Tessa
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 4 large melts 1x


Mashed garbanzo beans and sunflower seeds make up the base of a creamy faux “tuna” salad with everything you love about tuna melts, minus the fish. Slather it on a sturdy slice of bread and bake it with cheese on top for a fuss free dinner for just about anyone.


  • 2 T sunflower seeds, soaked 2 hours (optional)
  • 1 1/2 C cooked garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (1 15 oz. can)
  • 1/2 C regular or vegan mayonnaise, plus extra for the bread
  • 1 1/2 C shredded dill havarti cheese
  • 1/4 t dried dill weed
  • 2 heaping T finely chopped dill pickles
  • 2 T finely chopped red or white onion
  • 1 T lemon juice (half a lemon)
  • 1/2 T mustard, dijon or yellow
  • 1 1/2 T fresh chopped parsley or chives (optional)
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 4 large slices of bread or 3 burger buns, halved
  • (colorful garnish)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 (F). If using the sunflower seeds, drain well and chop finely. On a cutting board, roughly chop garbanzo beans, then press them down on the board with the back of a fork to mash. Combine sunflower seeds and garbanzos in a mixing bowl. Add mayo, 1/4 cup of the cheese, dill, pickles, onion, lemon juice, mustard, and fresh herbs (if using). Mix and season to taste with salt and pepper. If the mixture is dry, add more mayo and a bit more lemon juice.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil, then place bread on it cut side up. Spread each slice with a thin layer of mayo, then a big scoop of the tuna salad mixture. Top generously with remaining cheese. Bake for 15 minutes, until bread is crisp and toasted at the edges and cheese is melted. Garnish with black pepper, a pinch of dried dill, and fresh herbs as desired, and serve with a pickle (or three) on the side!


See blog post above for options to omit the sunflower seeds.

If you can’t find dill havarti, add a pinch more dried dill to the recipe.

Prep time doesn’t include soaking the sunflower seeds.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian