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How To Make Tuna Salad - 2 Recipes To Try

Updated on October 30, 2012
Canned tuna can be the basis for delicious salads.
Canned tuna can be the basis for delicious salads. | Source

Tuna has become a staple for convenient and affordable protein. You can pack it plain or with a dash of lemon juice for lunch, or put it in a casserole for dinner.

But having a couple of good tuna salad recipes will give you even more options to put this healthy food to work in your weekly menu. Here are two ideas that cover the range from everyday to extra special.

Albacore tuna
Albacore tuna | Source

Basic Tuna Salad

This is always good on bread. But you can also add it to pasta for a cold summer salad, or use it as a "dip" for veggies and crackers.

1 can chunk white or solid albacore tuna, drained

1 tbsp mayonnaise (recipe for homemade is below)

1/4 cup celery, chopped

1/4 cup Vidalia or other sweet onion, minced

1/2 tsp dried dill

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.


  • Starkist, Chicken of the Sea and other companies are now offering fun variations on canned tuna, such as Sweet & Spicy, Genova style, and Yellowfin with Lemon Dill flavor. Using one of these will give your salad a new twist!
  • Try new add-ins, like relish or pickles, mustard or bean sprouts.

Homemade Mayonnaise

(yield: about 2 cups)

1 cup canola oil

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 egg

1/4 tsp paprika

dash of cayenne pepper

In a food processor or blender, put 1/4 cup of the canola oil, vinegar, lemon juice egg, paprika and pepper. Cover and mix for about 10 seconds. While processor is still running, add in the rest of the oil slowly. As soon as all the oil has been poured in, turn the processor off.

Salad nicoise is a full meal in itself!
Salad nicoise is a full meal in itself! | Source

Salad Nicoise

This salad has tuna as the star on top! It looks and tastes fancy, but really is easy to make. All it takes is some prep work, which can be done in advance.

2 tomatoes, core removed

1 cup green beans, blanched

8 black olives, drained

4 oz Fontina or Provolone cheese, crumbled into small bits

4 cups salad mix

2 oz Basil Vinaigrette (see recipe below)

1/2 tsp each of dried dill, oregano, basil, thyme

2 hard boiled eggs, quartered

4 oz canned albacore tuna, drained

Dash parsley

Basil Vinaigrette is easy to make.
Basil Vinaigrette is easy to make. | Source

How to Prep the Salad

Make the Dressing:

Basil Vinaigrette

3 Tbsp fresh lime juice

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp canola oil

1.5 shallots, finely chopped

1tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil

1 tbsp garlic, minced

3/4 tbsp dry basil, (or 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil)

1/2 tsp salt

Freshly ground pepper

Put the dry basil into the canola oil and let soak to release its flavor. Then, add the rest of the ingredients and whisk well to combine.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Tomato halvesFresh green beansBlanching green beans in boiling water
Tomato halves
Tomato halves | Source
Fresh green beans
Fresh green beans | Source
Blanching green beans in boiling water
Blanching green beans in boiling water | Source

Seed the tomato: cut in half and remove seeds, then slice into 1/4 in strips.

Note: Fresh tomatoes from the garden are wonderful, but farm stand or store-bought work fine too. To check if a tomato is ripe, gently squeeze (a ripe tomato is soft but not mushy) and sniff (you'll pick up its scent easily).

Blanch the green beans: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a pot. Add beans and cover, let cook for one minute. Put beans into a bowl of ice water right away - this stops them from cooking and helps them retain their color.

Hard boiling eggs in a saucepan
Hard boiling eggs in a saucepan | Source

Hard-boil the eggs: Put the eggs in a single layer in a small saucepan. Add enough water to cover them by an inch or so. Sprinkle a pinchful of salt into the water (to help keep the eggshells from cracking).

Bring the water to a boil. Remove the pan from the burner and turn the heat down to low. Return the pan to the burner and let the eggs simmer for a minute. Then, remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let the eggs sit for 10-12 minutes.

Cool the eggs by pouring out the hot water and adding cold in, repeating this several times.

Note: Hard-boiled eggs can be kept in your refrigerator for up to 5 days (put them in a covered container to prevent odor).

Medium pitted black olives
Medium pitted black olives | Source
Provolone cheese
Provolone cheese | Source

How to Assemble the Salad

In bowl, combine the tomato slices, beans, olives, cheese, salad mix, herbs and vinaigrette. Toss them until they are well-mixed.

Divide the mixture between two plates. Place 4 egg quarters on top of each. Then sprinkle half the tuna and parsley over each salad.


  • You can buy packaged mixed greens or create your own - Romaine, Boston, Arugula, or any other favorite variety.
  • Don't combine all the ingredients until shortly before serving.
  • Serve with breadsticks or slices of whole-grain bread.


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