Is it Gross? Vegan Taste Test: Sophie’s Kitchen Vegan Toona

During my many strolls through Whole Foods I often walked by Sophie’s Kitchen Vegan Toona. Stacked right next to the real stuff, this little blue can pretends to be part of the crowd. Refusing to play along, I cast the toona scornful glances and shared pictures of it with friends for a laugh. Look at this impostor, trying so hard to fit in.

It soon became clear that the contempt I was feeling was actually fear. I knew that one day I would have to taste this toona, and that day has come. My hopes are low and my expectations of gagging are high.

vegan toona

Toona is many things: non-GMO, soy free, and stupidly named. Like most vegan alternatives, it also has mysterious ingredients. What is pea protein? What is pea starch? Do pea protein and pea starch together make a complete pea?

vegan toona

Upon opening the can I realized that my fears were well founded. This picture does not require a description, but I will provide one anyway. Visually toona is appalling: brown paste, reminiscent of cat food, sits in a puddle of oil. The texture is soft and mealy as opposed to flaky, while the smell is very strong, processed and overly salty.

vegan toona

Ignoring all humanly instincts, I took the tiniest bite.

vegan toona

And spit it into the sink. I can’t even properly describe the taste, I think I blacked out when the toona touched my tongue. The combination of texture, smell, and fecal aesthetic was so revolting that I couldn’t bring myself to swallow. Many vegan products are intended to be incorporated into recipes, but I doubt that even the Barefoot Contessa could make this stuff edible.

vegan toona
I hate wasting food, but perhaps this post will prevent others from doing the same?

While this taste test may have shaken my confidence, I will not be deterred from trying gross-looking foods in the future. Vegan Toona: you will not be the end of me.

vegan toona
At least I recycled the can.

In summation: It’s really gross.


  1. As a lover of tuna, I am disgusted. As a lover of quality blog posts, I am thrilled! Good job, Jane!

  2. There’s a pretty good haiku in there:

    Appalling brown paste
    reminiscent of cat food
    sits in a puddle

  3. I, too, was intreagued and have a can in my basement unopened. Now I don’t want to open it. Ick. But YOU are hilarious!

  4. I hope you’re just delicate, because I have a can of this I bought out of curiosity, and I certainly don’t want to feed it to the ravens. I’ve never liked seafood of any kind, so my desire to try fake seafood is a little weird. I’ve also seen frozen stuff that I may break down and try at some point. Most of the people who’ve reviewed this have made sandwiches or cracker spread out of it. They all say the same thing about the appearance, but a lot of them also like it. Since I never would have dreamed of eating the real thing, this is unlikely to disappoint me. Outside of the fact that it looks nothing like it should. I can’t imagine throwing out $5 worth of tiny food. I think you might have just wanted it to be more real than it was. I don’t know how they were supposed to make it “flaked” unless they used gluten or something. I don’t know if gluten can be flaked, but it’s more likely than chickpeas. I’m guessing chickpeas are the source of the pea protein and flour. It would make sense, since that’s what vegans usually make “tuna” out of.

    1. Haha im definitely delicate! I’m glad to hear someone liked it though. Have you ever made fake tuna salad with chick peas, red pepper, and vegan mayo? Now that I’m thinking about it I really want some…

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