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Classic Tuna Salad

Classic Tuna Salad

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We like chunk tuna for its texture in our best tuna salad recipe; drain it really well by pressing the open lid down and squeezing the daylights out of it.


  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • ¼ small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 5-ounce can water-packed tuna, drained
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus more if needed
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Recipe Preparation

  • Using a fork, mix celery, onion, tuna, mayonnaise, capers, parsley, mustard, and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice in a medium bowl, breaking up any large pieces of tuna, until well combined. Season with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.

Reviews SectionPAY YOUR BIPOC EMPLOYEES FAIRLY!GET THE RACISTS OUT OF CONDE NASTExcellent Tuna Salad. Felt like the ratio between the actual tuna and the other ingredients were off balance. Just ended up using four 5oz. cans of tuna instead of just one, and it was perfect! This is my go-to tuna salad recipe now. Thank you.AnonymousToronto, Ontario 05/27/20Delicious. I doubled up on the recipe and add harrisa for a bit of kick, it has an excellent ratio of creamy/crunchy textures and lots of acid to keep it bright.AnonymousVirginia Beach, VA11/20/19

Classic Tuna Salad

I must admit, I eat Tuna Salad a lot. This can be ‘controversial’ as I know people either like tuna salad, or absolutely hate it. I grew up on Classic Tuna Salad and I love it.

I realized that this simple recipe is something I make almost weekly. Yet, I’ve never formally shared the recipe in a blog post! Most of you know very well how to make a Tuna Salad and you likely won’t need this recipe. But I notice when I mention it’s what I am eating for lunch on Instagram– I get some questions on how exactly I make my Tuna Salad.

So yeah, here we go. A *really good*, paleo, classic Tuna Salad recipe that never fails me. It’s dilly, zesty, bright, and delicious!! It might seem odd that I add a touch of coconut sugar to my tuna salad, but it’s an addition I’ve recently added and the touch of sweetness just really makes the dish.

Make a big batch of this Classic Tuna Salad on a Sunday so that you can enjoy it for lunches throughout the week. I serve mine with fresh-cut veggies + crackers! My favorite busy workday lunch!!

Tuna Salad: A Simple Pleasure

I have memories as a child sitting atop Mt. Chocorua in New Hampshire with my camp friends after a day’s climb. Lunch was always oranges and tuna or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and for dessert, well, let’s just say a Hershey bar never tasted so good.

And now, in these times, that sandwich brings just as much pleasure (not to mention cost savings). Spare me the bells and whistles I’ll get to them in a minute.

Right now, a classic tuna salad sandwich is all I’m after. And that means canned tuna, mayo, celery, lemon juice, and if you like, red onion. Period. Slather it on some good bread and I’m that happy camper again. In fact, I’m taking my sandwich out to the back porch to eat in the sunshine.

Classic Tuna Salad (Parve)

This delicious yet simple tuna salad can be used in sandwiches.

This recipe calls for two 5-ounce cans of white tuna. The amount of fish in a can of tuna can vary wildly. Some brands add considerably more water to the can than others, so cans may contain anywhere from about 2-1/2 to almost 5 ounces of tuna. You may want to weigh the contents of your preferred brand (after draining) to determine how much tuna you're actually getting. If the can's contents look skimpy, you'll probably want to dial down the quantities on the other salad ingredients.

You can use any type of canned tuna in this recipe, but be aware that chunk light tends to be lower in mercury than albacore or yellowfin. Unfortunately, no tuna species are considered low in mercury, so it's best to limit consumption, no matter which type you choose.

Don't care for pickle relish? Try chopped capers instead.

For a low-key packed lunch or family dinner, serve this tuna salad on bagels or pita bread, or alongside potato bourekas and a romaine lettuce salad with sun-dried tomatoes and pecans.

Classic Tuna Salad - Recipes

Recipe courtesy of The America's Test Kitchen Cookbook

Serves 2 cups, about 4 sandwiches

  • 2 (6 oz) cans solid white tuna in water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 rib celery, minced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dill or sweet pickles, minced
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced (about 1/8 teaspoon)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Drain tuna in collander and shred with fingers until no clumps remain and texture is fine and even. Transfer tuna to a medium bowl and mix in the lemon juice, salt, pepper, celery, onion, pickles, garlic and parsley until evenly blended. Fold in the mayonnaise and mustard until tuna is evenly moistened.

Can be covered and refrigerated up to 3 days.

Variations on Classic Tuna Salad.

Tuna Salad with Balsamic Vinegar and Grapes. Follow classic recipe omitting lemon juice, pickles, garlic and parsley. Add 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 6 ounces halved red seedless grapes (about 1 cup), 1/4 cup lightly toasted slivered almonds and 2 teaspoons minced thyme leaves.

Curried Tuna Salad With Apples and Currants. Follow classic recipe, omitting pickles, garlic and parsley. Add 1 medium firm, juciy apple, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup), 1/4 cup currants and 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves. Mix 1 tablespoon curry powder into mayonnaise before folding into tuna.

Tuna Salad With Cauliflower, Jalapeno and Cilantro. Follow classic recipe omitting pickles, garlic and parsley. Add 4 ounces cauliflower florets cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup), 1 medium jalapeno chile, minced (about 2 tablespoons), 2 medium scallions, minced (about 1/4 cup) and 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves.

Note: Other additions to consider capers, celery salt, creole mayonnaise, other spice mustards, hardboiled eggs, cajun spices.

Recipe: Classic Tuna Salad

Traditional tuna salad is full of mayonnaise and fat. To make it skinny, we cut out some of that mayo and used plain, nonfat Greek yogurt instead! It saves on fat and calories but still gives you that creamy texture you crave with tuna salad. Try it on a cracker, by itself or on a whole-wheat, high fiber wrap. Even better, try wrapping it in a lettuce wrap! Half a cup of our tasty tuna salad comes to only 85 calories, 1 gram of fat and 2 WWP+.

Recipe: Classic Tuna Salad

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: None
Yield: 6 servings
Serving size: ½ cup


  • 4 (5-ounce) cans chunk light tuna in water
  • ¼ cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 3 stalks)
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon no-sugar added sweet relish
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • black pepper, to taste


  1. Drain the tuna very well by placing a colander in the sink. Empty the tuna in it, and gently press the water out with a rubber spatula.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl, and stir to combine.
  3. Add the drained tuna and stir to combine serve chilled.

Nutrition Information
Per Serving: (½ cup)
Calories: 85
Calories from fat: 8
Fat: 1g
Saturated Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 27mg
Sodium: 582mg
Carbohydrates: 4g
Fiber: 2g
Sugar: 2g
Protein: 15g
WWP+: 2
SmartPoints: 1


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  • 1 medium red onion (about 8 ounces 225g), cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) red wine vinegar
  • 4 (5-ounce 140g) cans oil-packed tuna, drained
  • 1 cup (240ml) mayonnaise, plus more as needed
  • 2 stalks celery (about 6 ounces 170g total), cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 ounce (about 10 stalks) flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems, minced (about 1/4 packed cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3g) Asian fish sauce or very finely minced oil-packed anchovy fillets (about 2 small fillets)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 slices sandwich bread, very lightly toasted
  • Romaine lettuce leaves, torn, for garnish

In a small bowl, combine onion and vinegar (vinegar should just cover onion add more if it does not) and let stand 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine tuna and mayonnaise and mix very well with a spoon until tuna is reduced to very small shreds.

Drain onion well, then add to tuna along with celery, parsley, and fish sauce or anchovy. Mix until well incorporated, then season with salt and pepper. Add more mayo, 1 tablespoon at a time, if desired.

Spoon tuna salad onto 4 bread slices, top with lettuce leaves, then close sandwiches. Serve right away.

Classic Pureed Tuna Salad

Classic pureed tuna salad is perfect for weight loss surgery patients following surgery. This recipe is not only great when you need to eat pureed food, but can also be used in the soft food stage and beyond.

Most adults aren’t super excited by the idea of eating pureed food. Regardless of the reason, we associate pureed food with baby food. My kids spit out baby foods and refused to eat it. What if I told you that you could eat normal adult food that was pureed and it wouldn’t be gross?

How many of you eat tuna? You either love tuna or hate tuna. For those of you who like tuna, you can incorporate tuna salad into your diet during the pureed food stage. Tuna salad is normally soft and with just a few pulses in a food processor can be pureed into a smoother consistency.

In the past ten years, only a handle full of patients has not made a face when I discussed the pureed diet stage after weight loss surgery. Most adults can’t bring themselves to eat pureed food. My go-to suggestions have always been tuna salad and chicken salad. These choices are already pretty soft. All you need to is make sure the meat is shredded so there are no chunks.

Everyone asks about the mayo. Most patients think they can never eat mayonnaise after surgery. Sure we encourage lower fat choices, but let’s face it how much tuna or chicken salad are you really going to eat in one sitting? Not much, so I don’t expect a ton of mayo to be in a ¼ cup of food! Of course, there are lower fat varieties that you can use or use 1/2 mayo and ½ yogurt to lower the fat content.

What to serve with tuna salad

As a child, my Mom would make "tuna fish sandwiches" just about everyday, with a side of Fritos and a glass of milk. That was lunch! Now that I'm a big girl, I like to branch out a little with my tuna .

One of my favorite things to serve with this recipe is sliced avocado and tomato! Or, put a big scoop on a bed of romaine, top with a little shredded cheese and you've got a delicious salad!

If you're looking for a little variety, serve this with sliced cucumbers or with a bowl of cut honeydew, cantaloupe or watermelon on the side!

Easy Tuna Salad Recipe: This Creamy Tuna Salad Recipe Is Your New Meal-Prep Go To by bitrecipes

This easy tuna salad recipe is packed with flavor, and it's a great meal prep option, too. Pack the tuna salad in individual airtight containers, grab some crackers or a couple slices of bread or serve over lettuce and you're good to go.

Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 3 cans (5 ounces each) tuna, drained and flaked with a fork
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion (soak in cold water for 5 minutes to take away the bite)
  • 2 tablespoons pickle relish or finely chopped bread and butter pickles
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise (up to 1/2 cup for creamier tuna)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Here's how to make it:

  1. Put the tuna into a bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well.

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