If the thought of Tuna Salad has you envisioning shag carpet and mustard colored couches, it’s time to think again. Although it carries a certain vintage vibe with it, tuna salad is making a comeback and for good reason. With the health benefits of tuna paired with the alluring price tag, it offers a satisfying fix for anyone in the market for a tasty (and quick!) meal.
Tuna salad is a blank canvas to your lunch or dinner plate – altering the flavors of what you mix in the tuna salad opens the can to a variety of options. You can serve it with onion rings or fries, spicy jalapeño kettle chips, enjoy it with a side of fruit salad, or with a warm, comforting bowl of creamy tomato soup, and more. There are many tasty choices to pair with tuna salad.
Is Tuna Salad Good for You?
Tuna salad can be very good for you. Canned tuna is a high-protein food and rich in Omega-3 fatty acids – which are important for heart health, growth and brain function. It is also low in fat and calories and therefore, appealing to those trying to eat healthier.
While tuna salad is traditionally made with mayonnaise, you can also use other binders in its place. A mayo and mustard combination packs a punch and lowers the fat content. You can even try replacing all of the mayonnaise with the tangy and spicy Asian sriracha sauce for a nice kick.
You can also add nuts, grapes, avocado, and other crunchy vegetables into your tuna salad adding a variety of nutrients.
What Can I Pair with Tuna Salad?
Well, the short answer is – you can pair whatever you want to tuna salad! Tuna salad really is a great foundation to a variety of flavors.
The surprisingly mild canned tuna taste lends itself well to different textures and ingredients. Whether you want a traditional side or something a little more exciting let’s explore some options.
1. Your Favorite Soup
Because the base of tuna salad is, well, canned tuna… you can enjoy this tasty snack or meal year round. Pairing it with one of these soups is an excellent choice for a hearty meal in the cooler months:
- Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Chicken Noodle
- Split Pea
A classic choice to eat with your tuna salad, is to pair it with another great salad. Tossing your favorite greens with in-season produce helps to keep your meal light and refreshing. Opting for a vinaigrette is a good choice to keep it healthier, but don’t let that keep you from enjoying tuna salad with a creamy Caesar salad.
Here are some great salads to try.
• Caesar Salad
Even though Caesar dressing is also mayonnaise based, it is surprisingly light tasting and adds a good punch of flavor when paired with tuna salad. Look for a lighter Caesar vinaigrette if you are counting your calories.
• Vegetable Salad
Grilling summer vegetables and tossing them with a light herb sauce makes a fantastic spread and is easy to prepare for last minute guests. Alternatively, you can roast your favorite root vegetables in olive oil, salt, and pepper and serve alongside tuna salad for a hearty meal.
• Classic Tangy Bean Salad
An excellent choice when you are needing to clear the pantry and it also provides lots of added protein.
• Pasta salad
Another great option when you are running low on fresh produce and don’t have time to run to the market. Shop in your pantry for your favorite bite sized pasta and mix it with olives, pepperoni, mozzarella, and salad dressing for a quick pizza inspired side dish.
3. Onion Rings
Who doesn’t love a fresh, crispy onion ring? An added bonus, they are fairly simple to make.
Start by slicing a whole onion and separating the rings. Then, dunk them in a seasoned flour followed by a quick bath in either milk or buttermilk. Finally, coat the wet rings in a finely crushed cracker crumb mixture. Carefully drop them in preheated oil and once they are a nice golden brown color remove them onto a plate lined with paper towels. Enjoy!
4. French Fries
Homemade french fries can’t be beat. Whether you are using a russet potato or sweet potato and roasting in the oven or deep frying them, french fries are an excellent choice to eat with tuna salad. You can even take them straight out of a freezer bag and cook in an air fryer for a great quick and healthy option.
5. Potato Chips
A great idea when time is short. Grab your favorite bag of potato chips and enjoy along with a tasty tuna salad. Feeding a crowd? Get individual bags in several flavors so there’s something for everyone.
Much like tuna salad, coleslaw serves as a great base. You can go the traditional route with a slightly sweet mayonnaise based slaw dressing tossed with shredded cabbage or simply toss sliced cabbage with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Another great option for a little kick and added flavor – combine your cabbage mix with a little mayonnaise, fresh pico de gallo, and a squeeze of lime juice.
Because of the briny flavor from olives, it is a natural pairing to tuna salad. You can make a quick olive salad with a few simple ingredients. Pick your favorite canned or jarred olives and mix with fresh herbs and chunks of feta cheese for a bright and tasty side.
8. Fresh Fruit
Summer, Fall, Winter, or Spring – you can make a great fruit salad year round. The great thing about making a fruit salad is you don’t even have to add a dressing. It is delicious on its own and adds a lot of great nutrients to any meal.
Can You Eat Too Much Tuna?
Simply put, yes, you can eat too much tuna. While tuna offers great health benefits, it does contain mercury which is not good for you.
There is a lot of debate over how much is too much and different canned tunas have varying amounts of mercury. Here is a great chart to reference with the different amounts. Remember, like with most things, moderation is key.
Let’s explore some quick answers to your tuna salad questions.
Why do we call it tuna salad?
Tuna salad is similar to other bound salads. Pasta salad, potato salad, chicken salad, and tuna salad all take the main ingredient (in our case tuna) and a dressing, typically mayonnaise that holds or binds them together.
Is there a difference between tuna fish and tuna salad?
Tuna fish can be bought fresh in your local grocery store’s fish counter or even conveniently portioned in the freezer section. Either option is raw and therefore not the same as canned tuna. Tuna salad uses the canned, already cooked tuna.
Is tuna salad healthier than lunch meat?
Tuna salad is a much healthier option than lunch meat as it is much lower in sodium, fat, and calories.
When enjoying the classic tuna salad, the possibilities of what to pair with it are endless. Depending on the season, who you are serving, and what you are in the mood to eat are all things to consider. Budget friendly options, as well as healthy and seasonal produce provide a multitude of great tasting sides.