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7 Nutritious and Delicious Recipes

Canned tuna – a humble pantry staple that’s often underestimated. But hold on, there’s more to it than just being a sandwich filling. Delicious recipes can be made with this small staple. In fact, canned tuna can be a versatile, healthy, and sustainable ingredient that can turn into fantastic meals.

We all know the classic tuna sandwich – a quick and easy lunch option. Canned tuna has several merits that make it worthy of a spot in your meal plans. It’s shelf-stable, reasonably priced, and can even be an eco-friendly source of protein if you choose products with the MSC blue fish label, as recommended by the Marine Stewardship Council. Plus, it helps you meet your weekly fish intake goals as suggested by the 2020–2025 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

If you find grilling salmon or preparing fish tacos a daunting task, don’t fret. Canned tuna is your straightforward solution to incorporating more fish into your diet.

However, before you dive into your tuna culinary adventures, consider a few key factors when selecting your canned tuna.

7 delicious recipes

Making Delicious Recipes Requires Variety

The Environmental Defense Fund recommends opting for light tuna, as it contains lower levels of mercury compared to other types like white and albacore. Mercury, found in both natural and industrial settings, can pose health risks, especially for pregnant or breastfeeding women and young children. However, even these groups can safely enjoy canned light tuna multiple times a month, depending on their age. Moreover, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, consuming 1 to 2 servings of low-mercury fish may reduce the risk of heart disease-related deaths by 36 percent.

You’ll also encounter chunk and solid white albacore tuna varieties. “Chunk” denotes smaller, flakier pieces, while “solid” offers larger, firmer chunks.

2. What’s in the Can?

Canned tuna can be packed in oil or water. Dietitians usually recommend the water-packed version, as it is lower in calories. However, if you opt for oil-packed tuna, scrutinize the type of oil used. Many brands use cheaper oils like soybean oil, which contains fewer healthy fats compared to extra-virgin olive oil. For example, while a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil boasts 10 grams of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, the same serving of soybean oil contains just 3.1 grams. One of the healthiest options is canned tuna packed in extra-virgin olive oil, though it may come at a slightly higher cost.

Canned tuna
Tuna salad

Other Tuna Options

Canned tuna isn’t your only choice. Tuna can also be found in jars or pouches, some of which are pre-seasoned for a convenient protein source. Unseasoned pouched tuna is usually packed in water, while jarred tuna can be packed in either water or oil.

Fresh tuna, available at the fish counter, offers similar nutritional benefits to canned tuna. A 3 oz serving of fresh yellowfin tuna contains 93 calories, 21 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0.4 grams of fat, and 38 mg of sodium. Unlike canned tuna, fresh tuna requires cooking (unless it’s sushi-grade) and should be stored in the fridge, consumed within one to two days.

Now that you’re well-versed in choosing the right tuna for your needs, let’s explore some creative and nutritious recipes that can be whipped up effortlessly – even in your office kitchen.

1. Open-Faced Tuna Melt Sandwich

Yes, the classic tuna melt can be improved. We’ve spiced it up with some simple seasonings and added leafy arugula for a peppery crunch. Plus, a whole-wheat or whole-grain bread base provides more fiber than its white counterpart.


1 small whole-wheat baguette, sliced into 16 ½” thick slices

3 5-oz cans tuna, canned in water, no salt added, drained

2 tbsp Italian salad dressing or olive oil and vinegar

1 pinch kosher salt

1 pinch freshly ground black pepper

¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese

¾ cup fresh arugula or other leafy green


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Lay baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in preheated oven and toast until bread is lightly golden brown, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, place tuna, salad dressing, salt, and pepper in a small mixing bowl and stir to combine. Divide tuna mixture evenly between bread pieces.

Top each with a sprinkle of cheese and place back into oven until tuna is heated through and cheese is melted.

Top with arugula and serve.

2. Whole-Wheat Tuna Wrap

Mayonnaise-laden tuna salad? Not anymore. This recipe uses white wine vinegar and heart-healthy olive oil for a flavorful twist. Throw in some veggies, roll it in a whole-wheat wrap, and you’ll get over 5 grams of fiber per serving.

Mayonnaise — and too much of it — has given the traditional tuna salad a not-so-great reputation. We’ve changed that with this nutritious recipe that combines white wine vinegar and heart-healthy olive oil to produce a tasty meal. Add vegetables to the mix. Then roll it in a whole-wheat wrap and you’ll add more than 5 grams (g) of fiber per serving, according to the Mayo Clinic.


2 5-oz cans tuna, canned in water, no salt added, drained

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup pitted black olives, chopped

1 pinch kosher salt

1 pinch freshly ground black pepper

2 whole-wheat tortillas

2 cups lettuce of your choice (the darker, the better)

1 medium tomato, chopped


In a small bowl, place tuna, vinegar, olive oil, olives, salt, and pepper. Gently stir to combine.

Lay tortillas flat and fill each one with half of the tuna mixture. Top each with half of lettuce and tomatoes and roll wrap closed.

3. Tuna and Avocado Toast

Tuna avocado toast
Tuna avocado toast

Step aside, plain avocado toast. This combo is easy to assemble and bursting with flavor and nutrition. Avocado provides heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, while whole-grain toast adds healthy carbs and fiber.

Move over, plain avocado toast! This simple combination is easy enough to put together in any office or home kitchen, but the flavor will not disappoint, nor will the nutrition, for that matter. According to the USDA, avocado is a source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and whole-grain toast offers healthy carbohydrates and fiber.


4 small slices of whole wheat bread

1 ripe avocado

2 tsp fresh lemon juice or bottled

¼ tsp kosher salt

⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1, 5-oz can tuna, canned in water, no salt added, drained

2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped

hot sauce, to taste (optional)


Place the bread in a toaster oven and toast until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, Place the avocado, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Mash the ingredients together with a fork. Evenly divide the avocado mixture between the toast. Top with the tuna, onion, and hot sauce, if desired. Serve immediately.

4. Tuna Pasta Salad

Turn leftover pasta into a nutritious lunch by adding protein-rich tuna. Tomatoes, olives, and fresh basil bring color, nutrition, and flavor to this quick meal.

Leftover pasta gets turned into a quick and nutritious lunch with the addition of a few other ingredients. The protein in tuna makes this meal satiating, meaning it will keep you feeling fuller for longer than pasta alone. Tomatoes, olives, and fresh basil add color, nutrition, and a delightful flavor combination to this lunch (or dinner) that’s sure to become a go-to on any busy workday.


1½ cups cooked whole-wheat pasta

1 5-oz can tuna, canned in water, no salt added, drained

10 small pitted black olives

½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 pinch kosher salt

1 pinch freshly ground black pepper

Fresh basil, for garnish (optional)


Place all of the ingredients except for the basil into a serving bowl and toss gently to evenly coat the pasta and tuna.

Garnish with basil, if desired, just before serving.

5. Simple Nicoise Salad

A traditional Nicoise salad can have a long list of ingredients, but we’ve simplified it to just five, all of which you probably have in your kitchen.

A traditional niçoise salad contains a long list of ingredients, which can get pricey. With this quick and easy recipe we’ve pared down the number of ingredients to only five while achieving a similar flavor. The good news is you probably have the ingredients you need for this delicious salad in your kitchen.


3 cups mesclun lettuce

1 5-oz can tuna, canned in water, no salt added, drained

3 campari tomatoes, quartered

2 hard-boiled eggs, halved

1 tbsp sliced red onion (optional)

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 pinch kosher salt

1 pinch freshly ground black pepper


Place lettuce in a serving bowl and top with tuna, tomatoes, eggs, and onions (if using).

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pour dressing over salad and serve

6. Tuna-Stuffed Avocados

Avocado doubles as a bowl for this delicious, protein-packed meal. Greek yogurt replaces mayonnaise for lower saturated fat and higher protein and fiber content.

An avocado makes the perfect bowl for serving up a deliciously simple meal. This creative take on traditional tuna salad uses Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise for a meal that’s lower in unhealthy saturated fats while also being higher in protein and fiber, according to the USDA. Greek yogurt adds a bright and tangy flavor in contrast to the mild flavor of mayonnaise, but you’ll find it provides a similar creamy mouthfeel to this tuna salad. Plus, at 10 grams of fiber per serving, you’ll be about one-third of the way toward your daily fiber needs — not too shabby!


1 ripe avocado, halved lengthwise, pit removed

1, 5-oz can tuna, canned in water, no salt added, drained

2 tbsp chopped red onion

3 tbsp chopped celery

3 tbsp lowfat Greek yogurt

¼ tsp kosher salt

⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper


Place the avocado halves on a serving plate.

In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. Carefully scoop the mixture into the avocado halves and enjoy!

7. Tuna-Stuffed Deviled Eggs

Revamp deviled eggs with Greek yogurt instead of mayo and add tuna for a scrumptious, healthy lunch or appetizer.

Deviled eggs are another food with a bad reputation that actually has a lot of potential to be healthy. In place of mayonnaise, we’ve added Greek yogurt to lower the calories and fat while upping the protein, according to data from the USDA. Tuna gets mixed into the deviled egg filling as well for a delicious combination that can serve as a lunch or appetizer!


5 large eggs, hard-boiled

1, 5-oz can tuna, canned in water, no salt added, drained

2 tbsp plain, lowfat Greek yogurt

1 tbsp mustard

1 tbsp chopped dill pickles

2 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley (plus more for garnish)

1 pinch ground paprika, for garnish (optional)


Slice the eggs in half lengthwise. Carefully place the yolks into a mixing bowl and put the whites on a serving dish.

Gently mash the egg yolks with the back of a fork. To the bowl with the yolks, add the tuna, yogurt, mustard, pickles, and parsley. Stir to evenly combine.

Gently place the tuna filling into each of the egg white halves and serve.

These recipes use only five main ingredients (excluding seasonings, oil, and vinegar) that you likely already have on hand. So, let’s get cooking and unlock the tasty potential of canned tuna in your kitchen!

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