Tuna Salad

Ah, yes, the ever safe tuna salad. I don't know about you, but this used to be my go-to in sandwich shops where I don't trust the turkey. I mean, how bad can a chunk of albacore* mixed with a few dollops of mayo be? And then as I bite into the sandwich, mayo drips, onions overtake the flavor, and I feel like I should have just gotten a Big Mac instead. Blech.

Then I discovered the very expensive yellow fin tuna salad at Whole Foods. Too yummy. My son used to eat a half pound per week. But then I got tired of it and started making my own less tasty version. Until I was inspired one lunch while eating Kopi Cafe's tuna which goes something like this: very little mayo, small diced carrots and other veggies, and no blechy feeling afterwards. I immediately tried to replicate, using TJ's yellow fin tuna packed in oil and mixing in whatever I already had at home. The result was light and fluffy and made me happy.

This one is an "I don't follow a recipe" recipe. Angel/sister-in-law Amy trained me in this process (no recipe, that is) and continues to baffle me with her no-recipe creations. She, however, is from Iowa (heaven?) and therefore blessed with special powers in the kitchen. Upcoming posts on her, I promise.


In a large bowl empty as many cans of TJ's yellow fin tuna (undrained) as you wantSpoon out a tablespoon or so of oil if you like it less oily*. Lightly stir tuna to break it up, not too much. Keep it chunky.

The following amounts are your choice. Go by the way it looks first (make it pretty!) then taste as you go. Add and stir in:

  • Carrots, celery, cooked green beans or peas (or other cooked, leftover veggies from last night's dinner), or whatever crunchy veggies you find, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • Minced shallot or red onion
  • Fresh or dried thyme (use less if it's dried, maybe 1/4 teaspoon per can)

Squeeze lemon (however much you like, a bit at a time, taste as you go) all over. Stir. You can also add a dash or two of red wine vinegar if you want, not necessary though.

If you want it to stick together for a sandwich, add one tablespoon (or less) mayo per can.

Taste again. Add more of the above if need be.

**Extra! Extra!**
  • Dolphin safe, of course, but as husband Todd always asks, "What about the tuna?"
  • Yeah, I grew up on tuna in water too, because, you know, calories from oil big fat no-no. Well what do you think happens when you add all that mayo to make a creamy tuna salad? Yeah that's right, big fat calories. Try this instead and see which one feels better.

This was late August. Can't you tell from the tomato?