5 Ways to Dress Up a Can of Tuna (2024)

Looking for what to add to canned tuna beyond mayo? Here are some creative new ideas for what to make with canned tuna for a satisfying meal from the pantry.


Penelope Wall

5 Ways to Dress Up a Can of Tuna (1)

Penelope Wall oversees the digital editorial vision of EatingWell—drawing on both her passion for food, wellness and storytelling and over 20 years experience in digital content strategy and editorial. Penelope has a bachelor's degree in English and studio art and a minor in French from Middlebury College.

Updated on August 19, 2022

Reviewed by Dietitian

Jessica Ball, M.S., RD

Reviewed by DietitianJessica Ball, M.S., RD

Jessica Ball, M.S., RD, is nutrition editor for EatingWell. She is a registered dietitian with a master's in food, nutrition and sustainability. In addition toEatingWell, her work has appeared inFood & Wine,Real Simple,Parents,Better Homes and GardensandMyRecipes.

5 Ways to Dress Up a Can of Tuna (3)

I can think of so many reasons to adore the humble canned tuna fish: It's affordable. It's high in omega-3 fats (psst… those are the ones that are good for your heart, your mood and your skin). I love that I can store it in my cupboard until just when I need it. And it's such a versatile ingredient. Plus, canned albacore tuna has low levels of mercury and is a sustainable choice if it's labeled as troll- or pole-caught, from the U.S. or British Columbia. Another healthy choice is chunk light tuna, which comes from the smaller skipjack or yellowfin, and has less mercury than canned white albacore tuna.

Classic mayo-based tuna salad has a place in my heart. But when I think of drenching the poor canned fish in so much heavy mayonnaise you need an ice cream scoop just to ladle it onto your sandwich, I feel like there needs to be an intervention.

Step away from the mayo, folks! Adding just a few fresh and nutritious ingredients can help elevate a simple can of tuna from pantry staple to an elegant, satisfying meal. Dress up your canned tuna in these healthy recipes.

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1. Tuna Cakes: Add Eggs, Herbs & Breadcrumbs

5 Ways to Dress Up a Can of Tuna (4)

Dried herbs, white beans and canned tuna come together in these easy tuna cakes served over greens. A lemony dressing ties this quick dinner together.

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2. One-Pot Pasta: Add Pasta, Olives & Lemon

5 Ways to Dress Up a Can of Tuna (5)

Use the one-pot pasta cooking method to make this tuna pasta recipe that calls for just 5 ingredients and is ready in just over half an hour. For extra crunch and a tuna noodle casserole feel, sprinkle this speedy pasta dish with toasted whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs.

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3. Tuna Melt: Add Greek Yogurt, Veggies, Cheese & Bread

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This variation of a classic sandwich uses mayonnaise, but not where you think! Mayo is brushed on the outside of the sandwich in place of butter to make the sandwich golden and crispy as it heats in a skillet. Plain Greek yogurt takes mayo's place in the salad—along with crunchy celery, roasted red bell peppers and scallions—for a satisfying lunch with less saturated fat.

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4. Niçoise Salad: Add Potatoes, Hard-Boiled Eggs, Green Beans & Dressing

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This colorful platter salad with origins in the south of France makes a well-balanced and satisfying hot-weather meal. Coating the potatoes in dressing while they are still hot helps them absorb the flavors.

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5. Tuna Salad Spread: Add Avocado, Greek Yogurt, Herbs & Spices

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This healthy twist on tuna salad uses avocado and Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise. Serve it on cucumber slices, butter lettuce leaves or whole-grain crackers.

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5 Ways to Dress Up a Can of Tuna (2024)


5 Ways to Dress Up a Can of Tuna? ›

Amped Up Classic – Start with the traditional combination of tuna plus a little light mayonnaise, then add bread and butter pickles, hard-boiled egg, celery, green onions, and coarse-grain mustard. Sriracha Spiced – Spice is nice with Albacore.

How to upgrade a can of tuna? ›

13 Ways To Upgrade Canned Tuna
  1. Dice up some produce. Simonkr/Getty Images. ...
  2. Add fresh herbs to the mix. Mmeemil/Getty Images. ...
  3. Use Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise. Olgalepeshkina/Getty Images. ...
  4. Pair with an unexpected condiment. ...
  5. Mix with olive oil. ...
  6. Raid the pantry. ...
  7. Swap out your go-to bread. ...
  8. Blend into a creamy tonnato sauce.
Apr 18, 2024

How do you dress up a tuna sandwich? ›

Amped Up Classic – Start with the traditional combination of tuna plus a little light mayonnaise, then add bread and butter pickles, hard-boiled egg, celery, green onions, and coarse-grain mustard. Sriracha Spiced – Spice is nice with Albacore.

How do you dress up canned food? ›

Topping your dish off with a bit of crunch is an easy way to create the satisfying textural variety that's often missing with canned foods. “A really good thing for adding texture in general is a crispy breadcrumb topping,” Lola Milne, author of Take One Can: 80 Delicious Meals From the Pantry, tells SELF.

How to eat tuna out of a can? ›

Tuna in the can is cooked within an inch of its life. It's fine to eat right out of a can, though not exactly exciting. I've done so when pressed for time and extremely hungry. I prefer to add mayonnaise, minced onion, minced celery, and maybe some minced garlic and eat it on lightly toasted bread.

What goes well with tuna fish? ›

Here are some ideas:
  • Side salad.
  • Celery and carrots.
  • Coleslaw.
  • Pickles.
  • Fresh pepper slices.
  • Sweet potato chips.
  • Classic potato chips.

How to make canned tuna taste less fishy? ›

Fortunately, a spoonful of sugar can help make the tuna go down easier, and it may even leave you wanting more.

What herbs go well with tuna? ›

Here, grilled tuna is smothered with a mixture of flavorful herbs, made more potent by the addition of chopped olives and a little raw garlic. A mix of parsley, basil, chives, chervil and marjoram, for example, would be splendid, as would one of cilantro, mint and basil.

How do you spice up a tuna fish sandwich? ›

Add crunchy, tangy, pickle-y things to your tuna salad

Onions and celery are popular (and good) additions that add texture, but they're not the only options. Choosing something that adds crunch but also brings a hit of tangy, pickle-y flavor is my favorite way to punch up a tuna melt.

What does a dressed tuna mean? ›

Dressing - Once the fish has expired and been bleed, you need to remove gills and entrails as soon as possible to reduce internal body temperature. Lay the fish on its bad side, preferably on a tuna bag or padded surface and always away from any excess heat or sharp objects.

Why should you not eat canned tuna every day? ›

Certain types of tuna are high in mercury, which can have harmful effects on health in high amounts or in certain populations. For most healthy adults, it's recommended to consume at least 2 servings of fish per week, which can include tuna.

Should you rinse canned tuna? ›

In dishes where you aim for a fresh, clean taste, like in salads or light pasta dishes, rinsing tuna can help achieve the desired flaky texture and light flavor profile. It removes the oil or brine that might otherwise weigh down the dish or clash with delicate dressings and ingredients.

How do you mask the smell of canned tuna? ›

Acid is a great odor neutralizer when it comes to fish, such as lemon juice or vinegar. Milk and baking soda can also help to neutralize fish odors.

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