Tuna Salad 101


Tuna salad is one of those things I’ve always loved – I’m pretty sure I used to get made fun of in elementary school due to my “stinky” sandwiches, but I stuck to my guns and didn’t let those kids ruin my favorite sandwich! I now prefer it with a fork, served with a side of greens and potatoes (or sweet potatoes, more likely) – so darn delicious!

There are so many reasons to love tuna – it’s SO affordable, super flavorful and healthy. That’s a perfect combination! With that said, everyone has a favorite way to make it  and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. There are, however, key steps that I think are essential to a winning tuna salad – here they are:

Step 1: Make the dressing

This can be anything you like, it doesn’t have to be mayo! You can do a combination of things, or stick to one, but there are SO many healthy options. Here are a few:

  • Mustard
  • Greek yogurt
  • Avocado
  • Olive oil/lemon juice
  • Pesto
  • Hummus

Step 2: Add the tuna

When making tuna salad, I prefer to use tuna canned in water – that allows me to control the flavorings, as the oil can tend to take over otherwise. With that said, I LOVE tuna packed in olive oil as a snack or light lunch with avocado and tomato – so simple, but delicious!

Step 3: Add the “crunch”

This is the most important step – without a crunchy element, tuna salad can be mushy and no one wants mush! Most people think of adding celery, but there are so many other options you can do that are just (I actually think more) delicious. Here are a few options:

  • Radishes
  • Carrots
  • Pickles
  • Nuts
  • Red onion
  • Apples
  • Asparagus
  • Jalapenos
  • Bell pepper
  • Cucumbers

Step 4: Add the “non-crunch” add-ins

These are optional (crunch isn’t optional!) but can definitely make your tuna salad so much better! Here are a few options:

  • Tomatoes
  • Grapes
  • Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Avocado
  • Corn
  • Capers
  • Hard-boiled Eggs
  • Olives

Step 5: Add the herbs

With most dishes, the herbs can make or break tuna salad. There are times I omit herbs but most of the time I think it adds such a nice touch! The type of herb you put in depends entirely on the type of add-ins you went with – if you go with corn, tomato and jalapeno – cilantro (coriander, here in the UK) would be perfect. If you do a red onion, olive oil/lemon juice version – parsley or dill would be so nice! Here are my favorite herbs to use:

  • Parsley
  • Dill
  • Cilantro (coriander)
  • Basil

Step 6: Add spices – but only sometimes

Last but not least, and entirely dependent on the saltiness/flavor of the add-ins, you can add salt/pepper and additional spices to finish the tuna salad off. If you go with super flavorful herbs/ingredients, you may not need much spice – but, always taste test after step 5 and see where you stand. Here are some fun things to try out in addition to salt/pepper:

  • Curry powder
  • Cumin
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Hot sauce
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder

If you haven’t been eating tuna recently, give it another try! I think it’ll become one of your go-to salads/sandwiches – if nothing else, buy some and keep it on hand for a rainy day when you are too lazy to go to the store!




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