Vegan tuna is not actually tuna, or even a fish, but a non-animal based food product designed to taste like tuna and take the place of it in popular tuna recipes. Some companies have formulated an imitation tuna product that may be made from a variety of vegetable or grain proteins, including soy. Home cooks will sometimes use nuts or legumes blended with flavoring ingredients to make a vegan tuna salad. As long as the imitation tuna is made from ingredients not derived from an animal, it can be considered vegan. The choice of ingredients largely depends on the individual cook or consumer and her own preferences.
Veganism is a dietary philosophy that rejects the consumption of any and all animal-derived ingredients. Those who adhere to a vegan diet abstain from eating both the flesh of animals as well as their eggs and milk. Some vegans also refrain from consuming honey, which is produced by bees. While some vegans genuinely dislike meat and fish, others do consume imitation versions that are made from vegan ingredients. Some vegan home cooks regularly produce their own imitation meat and fish, while others rely on commercially prepared substitutes.
Commercial producers of vegan and vegetarian food offer several vegan tuna options. In some cases, the so-called tuna is in the shape of a filet, while in other versions it may be offered in smaller chunks or rounds. Either version can be used in a variety of vegan fish dishes that require whole pieces of tuna. Other food manufacturers sell vegan tuna salad mix, which combines very small pieces of vegan tuna with spices and flavorings that are traditionally found in tuna salad. Cooks who use these mixes typically blend them with a vegan mayonnaise to make a reasonable facsimile of tuna fish salad.
Home cooks may use other ingredients to produce vegan tuna salad. Typically, home-cooked salad will use a plant-based protein source such as nuts or legumes. In both cases, the protein source will be soaked or cooked so as to take on a softened texture and will then be blended with additional flavoring agents as well as a binding ingredient, such as vegan mayonnaise, before serving. This salad can be served on a bed of lettuce or on vegan bread as a tuna fish sandwich or melt.