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Easy Recipes With Canned Tuna

Updated on May 18, 2011

Not just for sandwiches

As I discussed in my other article on cooking with canned tuna, it's not just for sandwiches! You can get creative with canned tuna and make cheap, tasty meals. Below are some of my favourite recipes that use it, and I hope you enjoy them!

Salad Chef
Salad Chef

I think that one of these would be super useful for vinaigrettes. It would save you having to continuously shake the mixture up and risk making a mess.


Tuna Nicoise salad

Traditionally, Nicoise salad ("salad from Nice") is also served with anchovies and tomatoes.  There are many variations, though, and I present just one of them.

Serves 1

  • 1 6-ounce can of chunk light tuna, packed in water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small potato
  • 4-5 olives
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Romaine lettuce, 2-3 leaves (washed)
  1. Hard-boil the egg. 12-15 minutes, depending on the size.
  2. Microwave potato for 2-3 minutes, until softer. Prick with a fork first, though.
  3. Allow egg and potato to cool.
  4. Cut olives into quarters.
  5. Tear leaves, or cut them up with a knife.
  6. Mix a 3-to-1 ratio of oil to vinegar. Mix vigorously. Drain can of tuna.
  7. Cut potato and egg into small chunks. Spread over leaves with olives and tuna, and drizzle over a satisfactory amount of dressing. Serve and enjoy!

California Grape Leaves 2lb jar (ziyad) DR.WT. 16oz
California Grape Leaves 2lb jar (ziyad) DR.WT. 16oz

These are the ones that I use. They are great for this purpose, as well as any other time you'd like to add a unique flavour to your dishes.


Tuna Dolmadakia

Serves 1; makes 6

Dolmadakia, or dolmades, are a Greek-inspired dish. They are essentially rice and meat wrapped in pickled grape leaves, which are then boiled until the meat and rice are cooked through. This variation uses canned tuna in place of lamb or pork, with other elements included for added flavour.

  • 1 6-ounce can of chunk light tuna packed in water, drained
  • 1/4 of a white onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup white rice
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • Pinch of oregano
  • Chicken stock (or water, but stock gives more flavour to the finished product)
  • 12 pickled grape leaves
  • Tzatziki, for serving
  1. Prepare the filling: Heat a pan (coated with non-stick spray) over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until softer. Place into medium bowl. Remove pan from heat. Add to the medium bowl the capers, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, rice, tuna and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly.

  2. Wrap leaves: Lay out 6 leaves. Place ~1/6 of the filling on each leaf. Fold each leaf as you would a burrito; remove the stems and fold the edges of the leaves over the side. Roll tightly. Place the seam side down on another leaf and repeat (to seal the leaf and prevent tearing during cooking).

  3. Cook: Place six finished “logs” in a 9 inch pan pointing in towards the centre (like the spokes of a bike wheel). Fill the pan with chicken stock (or water) until the logs are a bit more than half covered. Place a heat-proof 9-inch plate over the logs and press firmly down. Place a lid over the pan and turn the heat on the stovetop up to medium-high. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for approximately 35 minutes. Make sure that the pan does not go dry!

  4. Serve with tzatziki, fresh black pepper and a salad.

Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick 10- and 12-Inch Omelet Pans, Set of 2
Calphalon Contemporary Nonstick 10- and 12-Inch Omelet Pans, Set of 2

Having a good pan is quite handy, I find. These are good, and they come as a pair.


Tuna enchiladas

Enchiladas are notorious for being a heavy dish. This changes that preconceived notion by being a bit liberal in interpretation. Nevertheless, the result tastes delicious, so who's complaining?

  • 1 6-inch tortilla
  • 1 6-ounce can of chunk light tuna packed in water, drained
  • 1/4 medium white onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 chipotle pepper with 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • Tomato sauce (jarred works fine)
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • Salsa and sour cream for serving
  1. Drain tuna. Heat a non-stick spray coated pan and heat on medium. Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes. Add spice powders and sauté for 2 minutes more. Add tuna.
  2. Chop chipotles and add to pan with adobo sauce. Add tomato paste. Mix thoroughly.

    Preheat oven to 350o F.

  3. Prepare tortilla: Cover one side with tomato sauce as you would a pizza. This will be the outside of the enchilada. Place the wrapper in a dish or on a pan.
  4. Add filling and roll, leaving the ends open. Add more tomato sauce over the top if you wish.

    Bake for 30 minutes. Serve, with salsa, sour cream and rice on the side.


There.  I hope that my "walk around the world" has inspired some creativity!  Just take pretty much any dish that you like and see what you can substitute.  Have fun and mangia!


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