Canned tuna is a versatile food that can become a favorite ingredient with the right flavorful partners. With this basic Tuna Salad recipe, you can make several different meals, including but not limited to: Open-Faced Tuna Melt Sandwiches, Tuna Sandwiches, Tuna Over Green Salad, Tuna Pockets, and Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes. First, I have included the basic recipe (adapt to your tastes) then I have included instructions on how to use it in each of the aforementioned dishes.
Classically Simple Tuna Salad
For every can of tuna (or similar fish canned in water or lemon juice), use:
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper (salt optional)
- Optional extras: 1 tablespoon capers, chopped bell pepper, sweet onion, olives, or pickle relish.
In a mixing bowl, mix all ingredients with a spoon. Refrigerate until you’re ready to make meal.
Open-Faced Tuna Melt Sandwiches
Preheat oven broiler . Prepare preferred bread (very lightly toasted) on oven-safe baking tray. Spoon tuna salad mixture on each piece of bread. Use a slotted spoon to avoid excess moisture which may make the bread a little soggy. Top with one slice of Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese. For extra flavor kick, use Pepper Jack. Slide tray into oven about five to six inches from broiler element and keep a close eye. It should melt within a few minutes, depending on your broiler heat. Oven temperatures vary so watch the time and the sandwiches the first time you do this and make a note of how long is ideal with your oven so you know for next time.
Lightly toast preferred bread, two slices per sandwich. Spread a little mayo on each of the inner sides of the bread (what will end up being inside the sandwich once it’s closed). Place one piece of lettuce on one inner slice of bread then using a slotted spoon, transfer tuna salad mixture to bread slices, a little on each slice with lettuce on it (the lettuce should help keep the bread from soaking up the tuna moisture). Place a bit of fresh, washed lettuce or a tomato slice (even cheese if you so desire) on top of that, if using both put a bit of tuna salad between them since they can be slippery when back-to-back in a sandwich but the tuna will keep them in better place. Add a bit more tuna then top with another piece of lettuce and the other slice of bread then enjoy!
Tuna Over Green Salad
Wash preferred lettuce and chop desired salad accessories (bell pepper, onion, carrots, apple,…). Place in serving bowl or on individual plates then top with tuna salad mixture then serve. All ingredients should be kept cool and covered until ready to serve.
Cut one edge off of a pita bread round then spread a little mayo inside each. Place some washed lettuce and other preferred ingredients into the bread attempting to line pocket then using a slotted spoon, transfer tuna salad mixture into each pocket. Keep chilled until time to serve.
Tuna Stuffed Tomato Salads
Take a few medium ripe tomatoes (washed) and cut a center section from the top then remove the seeds and center ‘goo’ from each tomato, leaving the bottoms and sides intact. Spoon in the tuna salad mixture and serve chilled with knife and fork.
Tuna & Rice Stuffed Tomatoes
Take a few medium ripe tomatoes (washed) and cut a center section from the top then remove the seeds and center ‘goo’ from each tomato, leaving the bottoms and sides intact. In the mixing bowl containing the tuna salad, add 3 tablespoons of cooked long-grain, brown, or basmati rice then stir them together. Squirt a bit more lemon juice, if needed, and other preferred ingredients (I recommend black olives or diced roasted red peppers). Then spoon the mixture into each hollowed out tomato. At this point, you can cover and refrigerate to serve chilled for a refreshing summer dish OR place in an oven-safe baking dish, cover and bake for 15 to 20 minutes (until warmed thoroughly) at 250 F. Serve with knife and fork.