This is one of our base recipes. You’ve probably heard of omega-3s and that salmon is a great source, but did you know that canned tuna is also a good (and more affordable) source? Give this simple tuna salad base recipe a try, and as always, adjust to YOUR taste!
Three Must-Know Cooking Skills
For recipe success, learn how to:
Culinary Tips for the Best Tuna Salad Recipe
Make the tuna salad dressing first to ensure the spices, herbs, and/or minced garlic and onion are evenly distributed before adding the tuna.
Check to see if you need to drain the tuna. Some tuna pouches don’t require draining, but the cans can have quite a bit of water.
- Plain Greek Yogurt: substitute plain yogurt. Choose a fat content that fits within your overall diet.
- Mayonnaise: substitute up to ½ of the mayonnaise with more Greek yogurt. Keep in mind that the fat in the mayonnaise helps improve the texture of the sauce. Look for mayonnaise made with avocado, canola, or olive oil.
- Herbs: Italian parsley, cilantro, and dill all complement tuna well, but feel free to add any green herb to your taste.
- Onion: substitute ¼ teaspoon onion powder.
- Lemon Juice: fresh is best, but you can substitute the bottled kind.
- Garlic: substitute ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic or ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder.
- Canned Tuna: select wild caught tuna in water. Albacore or light both work. Sodium can be high in canned tuna, so compare nutrition fact labels. Choose low-sodium (≤140 mg) cans if possible.
Remember that this is a base recipe, so the goal is for you to customize it to your taste!
Change up the dressing by adding hot sauce or Dijon mustard. Looking for a tuna salad without mayo? Replace the mayo with additional yogurt or substitute some sour cream.
Experiment with the different mix-ins to create a new variety each time! Add different vegetables for more flavor, crunch, and nutrition or make a tuna and egg salad by adding chopped hard boiled eggs. The sky’s the limit!
Make a plant-forward tuna salad by replacing half of the tuna with a ½ can of mashed chickpeas (~¾ cup).
Use these kitchen tools for recipe success:
Is this simple tuna salad recipe healthy?
Yes! Tuna is healthy on its own. It’s what is added to typical tuna salads that can make them less healthy. We cut back on the mayonnaise, and replace it with gut-friendly Greek yogurt. Then, by adding fresh herbs and a variety of vegetables, we make this classic tuna salad recipe more plant-forward and even more delicious!
Tuna is a quality source of protein that is rich in vitamins and minerals. Fatty fish, like tuna, is high in EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for heart and brain health.
Greek yogurt is a great source of B vitamins, calcium, and probiotics. It is also higher in protein than regular yogurt. Select a fat content that works with your overall diet. If you tend to consume a lot of foods high in saturated fat (coconut oil, red meat, cheese, cream, etc.), a low-fat or fat-free variety is your best choice. If you limit saturated fat in your diet, full-fat varieties are okay.
Fresh Vegetables and Herbs
Fresh vegetables and herbs provide fiber, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals. The phytonutrients help protect our bodies from inflammation and illness.
Serve this simple tuna salad with whole grain crackers or pita chips with a side of fruit and celery sticks (for more dipping). You can also add this simple tuna salad recipe to a healthy wrap, sandwich, quesadilla, or green salad.
For best quality, store leftover tuna salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Want more easy lunch ideas?
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Simple Tuna Salad Base Recipe
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup mayonniase (olive or canola oil based)
- 1-2 Tablespoons chopped fresh herbs
- 1 Tablespoon finely minced onion
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 small clove garlic, minced (~½ teaspoon)
- 10-12 ounces low-sodium tuna in water, drained
- Salt & pepper to taste
Mix-ins to YOUR taste
- 1 Tablespoon hot sauce or 1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup diced vegetables
- 2 Tablespoons sliced olives
- 1-2 Tablespoons chopped pickles or pickle relish
- 2 diced hardboiled eggs
- Combine Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, herbs, onion, lemon juice, garlic, and optional hot sauce or Dijon mustard in a medium-sized bowl.
- Add drained tuna and any other optional mix-ins. Using a spatula, fold to combine.
- Make a sandwich, wrap, quesadilla, or green salad with the tuna or eat on its own with whole grain crackers. Enjoy!