Fresh and bold, this Mediterranean Tuna Salad Recipe brings a healthy batch of flavor and zero mayonnaise to your favorite lunchtime sandwich. It's a mid-day miracle!
Finding a healthy tuna salad recipe that still offers delicious flavor can be challenging. Well no more, friends!
With just a couple of cans of tuna (preferably in olive oil!) and a handful of fresh herbs and tasty add-ins, your classic tuna salad gets a huge upgrade. There are so many different ways to serve this masterpiece. Go low carb with lettuce wraps or serve it in a bowl with crunchy veggies for dipping.
Pack it between a few slices of whole wheat bread for a quick snack. Or go all out with the Ciabatta and Provolone Tuna Melt included below.
Ingredients you'll need for this recipe:
Before we get to the step by step directions, a few notes about the ingredients.
Tuna: tinned tuna in olive oil is my preference, but use what you have. If that's light tuna in water, plan to taste and adjust seasoning as you may need more salt. I've made this recipe with canned mackerel and it was equally delicious!
Onion: red onions bring a bit of sweetness to the sharp onion energy, so they're my preference here. But use yellow onions, sweet onions or even diced green onions instead.
Olives: the recipe calls for green olives. An Italian olive like Castelvetrano is perfect, but good old Spanish olives work well, too. Substitute with capers, pickled peppers or even dill pickles, if you prefer.
Garlic: just a small clove of grated garlic adds a fresh, savory punch to the dressing. Substitute a pinch of garlic powder, if you must.
Herbs: fresh basil and flat leaf parsley (or Italian parsley) bring an herbaceous tidal wave of flavor. Substitute fresh dill, fresh chives or fresh tarragon, if you'd like.
Full ingredient list and measurements included in the printable recipe card below.
Step by step instructions:
1. Make mustardy vinaigrette
Combine 2 tablespoons of the olive oil drained from your tuna (or two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil), with red wine vinegar, the grated garlic clove and a good pinch of salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Whisk to combine.
Add thin-sliced red onion and stir. Set aside to marinate while you assemble the salad.
2. Toss together tuna salad
Combine chopped olives, diced basil, parsley and drained tuna in a bowl. Toss to mix.
Pour dressing over the mix and toss again. Taste and adjust seasoning. The tuna salad is ready to serve in bread, on crackers or over a salad!
3. To Make Mediterranean Tuna Melt
Slice open a ciabatta roll and add a slice of provolone to each side. Lay a small piece of parchment in between and close the sandwich.
Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a drizzle of olive oil to the pan, then lay the closed sandwich in the skillet. Use a second skillet to weight the sandwich.
Grill for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. Remove weight and flip sandwich. Return the second skillet as weight and grill for another 2-3 minutes.
4. Serve and enjoy
Remove the sandwich and open, discarding the sheet of parchment. Add Mediterranean tuna salad to the bread. Close and cut in half to serve warm.
FAQ's and Serving Suggestions:
You can! It doesn't bring the richness and flavor of fish tinned in olive oil, so plan to add a bit more salt and pepper to the final tuna fish dish.
I'm partial to this Mediterranean herb and Dijon dressing instead of tuna. But if you're looking for a healthier alternative to creamy mayo, try greek yogurt with fresh herbs instead!
Smoky Tuna Dip and Tuna Empanadas are two of my favorite recipes to make with this pantry staple! And I also open a can of tuna over this Mediterranean Tossed Salad at least twice a month for a quick and healthy lunch.
Store leftover Mediterranean Tuna Salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.