This simple tuna salad recipe combines only a few basic ingredients for a flavor-filled, protein-packed meal or snack that can be eaten at home or on-the-go.
Tuna is one of those foods that’s in my pantry at all times. When I don’t feel like turning on my oven, I open a can and quickly whip up this tuna salad. Some days, I spread it on crackers for a quick meal or snack. Other days, I like to put it on a flour tortilla, sprinkle with cheese then heat it my toaster oven. Keeping tuna on hand makes it easy to get a nutritious, protein-packed meal in minutes.
What Is The Best Type Of Tuna To Make Tuna Salad?
Canned tuna comes packed in oil or water, and can also be purchased in a pouch. Tuna packed in water is the best kind to use for tuna salad, because it incorporates mayonnaise. The pouches work well, too, but cost a lot more money than the canned varieties.
Tuna canned in water comes in three varieties – solid white albacore tuna, chunk white albacore tuna and chunk light tuna. The main difference between solid white albacore tuna and chunk white albacore tuna is the size of the chunks. Both are white in color, have a firm texture and have a mild flavor. Chunk light tuna is sourced from a variety of smaller tuna fish, resulting in a stronger flavor, a darker color and a softer, moister product.
All varieties of canned tuna contain some mercury, but, according to the FDA and EPA, chuck light tuna is lower in mercury than albacore tuna.
Limiting mercury intake is something that everyone should do, but it’s especially important for women who are pregnant, may become pregnant or are breastfeeding, as well as young children to limit their intake. If mercury is a concern, I suggest using chunk light tuna in place of albacore.
I buy and eat all varieties, but the one I use most often is albacore tuna.
Ingredients In Tuna Salad
This is a very simple tuna salad recipe, made the way that I like it. Many tuna salad recipes call for celery, but I’m not a fan of the flavor, so I make mine without. Feel free to add your favorite flavorings, like celery, or other herbs and spices.
I incorporate light mayonnaise to keep the fat content down. That’s a personal preference and one that many of my weight management clients appreciate. Anytime I can decrease the calories, without sacrificing flavor, I do it. You can use full-fat mayo if you prefer. Light mayonnaise has a higher water content than regular, which can cause your tuna salad to be too moist, if you’re not careful. If you are sure to drain the tuna very well. It will not impact the recipe at all.
To add a spicy flavor, I mix a small amount of Dijon mustard stirred into tuna salad. It has a sharp, tangy flavor, which I love. If you’re not a fan, you can leave the mustard out completely or substitute a basic yellow mustard.
In my opinion, no tuna salad is complete without onion. I love the flavor of red onion, and you don’t need a lot to get a great flavor. The key is chopping it very fine, so the flavor blends into the mixture and you don’t bite into a big chuck of onion. I use my Ninja chopper, which works great. Just a few pulses results in a finely chopped onion. Using red onion adds a small amount of color, too. I also stir in a small amount of minced garlic, parsley and ground pepper.
These ingredients are pantry staples and result in a delicious and nutritious tuna salad that the entire family loves.
How To Make Simple Tuna Salad
To make this tuna salad, start by draining the canned tuna in a strainer. Use a fork to press firmly on the tuna to get out as much liquid as possible. Once it is completely drained, empty it to a large bowl. Add all of the other ingredients to the bowl and mix well.
The tuna salad is ready-to-eat immediately, but I prefer it after it chills in the refrigerator for a few hours. That time allows the flavors to blend together. If you don’t plan on eating the tuna salad the same day you make it, transfer it to an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator.
Ways To Eat Tuna Salad
This tuna salad is filled with flavor and tastes great all by itself. It’s a great portable protein that can be packed in a mini cooler with an ice pack and taken on the go. I often recommend it for the young athletes that I work with. It’s also a quick and easy way to pack protein into your lunch.
Here are a few suggestions on how to incorporate this simple tuna salad into a meal:
- Stuff tuna salad into a tomato for an easy, nutritious and delicious low-carb meal. Or, if you want the carbs, pair it with some grapes and crackers
- Make a sandwich – this tuna salad tastes great on toasted Italian, Pumpernickel and whole wheat bread
- Spread it on a tortilla, sprinkle with cheese and toast it in a toaster oven
- Put a scoop of tuna salad on top of a salad
- Scoop it with crackers
Do you have a favorite way to eat tuna salad?
Simple Tuna Salad
- 2 cans Albacore Tuna ~10 ounces
- 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp red onion, minced
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic (fresh or canned)
- 1/4 tsp dried parsley
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- Open cans of tuna and empty into a strainer. Use a fork to press firmly on the tuna to get out as much liquid as possible. Once it is completely drained, empty it to a large bowl.
- Add the light mayonnaise, garlic, red onion, Dijon mustard, parsley and pepper to the tuna and stir until well combined.
- Cover tuna salad and refrigerate until ready to eat.
- Recipe Makes: 2 cups
- Serving Size: ½ cup
- Servings per Recipe: 4
- Nutrition Facts (per ½ cup serving): 240 calories, 3 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 17 g protein, 13 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 320 mg sodium
- Meal Planning Serving Sizes: 0 CHO; 2.5 PRO; 2.5 FAT