Recipes > Lunch/Dinner > Simple Tuna Salad Base Recipe

Simple Tuna Salad Base Recipe

By adding fresh herbs and a variety of vegetables, we make this classic tuna salad recipe more plant-forward and even more delicious!
simple tuna salad

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:

Learn how to slice and dice like a pro in our knife skills 101 course!

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.

Ingredient Substitutions

  • 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. To make tuna salad without mayo, replace the mayo with additional yogurt or substitute some sour cream.
  • Herbs: Italian parsley, cilantro, and dill all complement tuna well, but feel free to add any green herb to your taste.
  • Onion: use red onion, green onion, or shallots for best flavor. You can also substitute ¼ teaspoon onion powder.
  • Lemon Juice: substitute apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, or white wine vinegar.
  • Garlic: substitute ½ teaspoon pre-minced garlic, ½ teaspoon garlic flakes, ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic, or ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder. 
  • Canned Tuna: select wild-caught tuna in water. Albacore or light both work. Choose low-sodium (≤140 mg) cans if possible.

Recipe Variations

Remember that this is a base recipe, so the goal is for you to customize it to your taste! Keep it simple or spice it up!

Use these additional ingredients for even more flavor and texture.

  • Hot Sauce: use sriracha, buffalo sauce, chipotles in adobo, or your favorite hot sauce.
  • Mustard: use Dijon, yellow, stoneground, or whole mustard.
  • Pickles or Pickle Relish: use your favorite flavor. Look for varieties that are not made with food dyes.
  • Spices: use chili powder, coriander, cumin, curry powder, onion powder, turmeric, or your favorite spice blend.
  • Vegetables: use diced broccoli, celery, carrot, cucumber, red bell pepper, or whatever sounds good to you.
  • Olives: use green, black, or kalamata olives. You can also substitute capers for a similar briny flavor.
  • Hardboiled Eggs: learn how to make hardboiled eggs here!

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!

Want some tuna salad flavor inspiration?

Use this recipe variation for inspiration, then have fun exploring other flavors, ingredients, and textures!

Equipment Recommendations

Use these kitchen tools for recipe success:

Find all of our favorite kitchen tools here!

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

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

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. 

Learn more about health benefits of different foods and ingredients in our book, To Your Taste!

Serving Suggestions

To make a delicious Whole Life Plate, 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, TikTok wrap, or green salad.

Storage Recommendations

For best quality, store leftover tuna salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Want more easy lunch ideas?

Try out these favorites!

Healthy Sandwich Base Recipe

Baked Tostadas Base Recipe

Healthy Wrap Base Recipe

Grain Salad Base Recipe

Simple Green Salad Base Recipe

simple tuna salad

Simple Tuna Salad Base Recipe

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!
Prep Time 8 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 5 servings

Ingredients
  

Base Recipe

  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise (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 minced chipotles in adobo (with sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon hot sauce or
  • 1-2 teaspoons mustard (Dijon, stoneground, etc.)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons chopped pickles or pickle relish
  • ¼ cup diced vegetables
  • 2 Tablespoons sliced olives
  • 1-2 hardboiled eggs, diced

Instructions
 

  • Combine Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, herbs, onion, lemon juice, garlic, and optional chipotles in adobo, hot sauce, Dijon mustard, pickles, or pickle relish in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Add drained tuna and any other optional mix-ins. Using a spatula, fold to combine.
  • Make a sandwichwrapgreen salad, or quesadilla or eat on its own with whole grain crackers. Enjoy!

Notes

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.
 
If you add a lot of mix-ins and find the salad too dry, add a little more Greek yogurt to taste.
 
Check out this recipe for flavor inspiration!
Tuna Chickpea Salad
Keyword Simple Tuna Salad

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