The Absolute BEST Tuna Salad

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The tastiest and simplest Tuna Salad has a flavor-packed creamy dressing, olive-oil-packed tuna, and crisp veggies. With only 15-minutes of prep time, you’ll be hooked on this recipe!

Once you’ve fallen in love with this recipe, you’ve got to try other reader favorite’s including this chicken salad, cucumber salad, and quinoa salad.

Image of Tuna Salad on a croissant

Delicious, healthy, and quick meal!

I’ve mentioned a few times that tuna is one of my go-to lunches during the week. It takes only minutes to whip together, tastes great, and it’s pretty healthy! These avocado tuna wraps are my go-to on a daily basis, but the one drawback about them — the avocado doesn’t last over a day.

So lately I’ve been making a slightly bigger batch of a variation of that same Tuna Salad (without the avocado) and we eat it throughout the first few days of the week. 

Overhead view of all the Tuna Salad ingredients in a bowl, ready to be combined.

How to make Tuna Salad

  • Drain and flake the tuna. Thoroughly drain the tuna to avoid a watered-down salad. 
  • Combine. After you’ve drained the tuna, add it to a bowl with the red onion, pickle relish, freshly chopped parsley, mayo (I use an avocado-based mayo), Dijon mustard, sliced celery, fresh lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, and salt + pepper.
  • Toss. Mix it all together and it’s ready to go!

What can I mix with canned tuna?

The following four veggie additions are our favorites with canned tuna. You’ll be amazed at how much life they bring to an ordinary can of tuna!

  • Red onion. If you’re sensitive to the flavor of raw red onion, soak the diced onions in salted ice water for 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly before using in this recipe.
  • Pickle relish or bread-and-butter pickles. We love either of these in tuna salad; they add a nice sweet-tangy flavor. I use relish in the mix most of the time and then also add the bread-and-butter pickles as a sandwich topping!
  • Celery. Swap out the celery for green onions or a diced sweet bell pepper if you’d like.
  • Parsley. Go with flat-leaf Italian parsley, as opposed to curly for this recipe. Flat-leaf parsley has a more robust flavor.

Beyond the veggies, we add mayo, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt & pepper to further enhance the flavor of canned tuna.

How to tune up the tuna flavor

  • Start with good, canned tuna. I highly recommend tuna that has been packed in extra-virgin olive oil; this makes a huge difference to the overall taste of the salad. Our favorite is Genova’s® canned tuna (not sponsored).
  • Toss the tuna with good quality mayo. Hellman’s/Best Foods® (not sponsored) is my favorite in this recipe — it’s got a great consistency, texture, and perfect amount of sweetness.
  • Add crunchy ingredients. Bread-and-butter pickles or pickle relish adds a great tangy, sweet and salty flavor with a wonderful crunch. The celery also adds a nice crunch and contrasting flavor to the tuna.

Image of the Tuna Salad all mixed together.

Tuna Salad FAQs

1Can I lose weight eating tuna salad?

A lot of people who are looking to lose weight are advised to eat tuna because of its high protein level. For just 3 ounces of tuna, you’re getting a whopping 20g of protein and only 100 calories. Tuna is great to eat while trying to follow a lower carb/lower calorie diet. As long as you are aware of how much mayo you are adding (mayo will add the most calories) you will have a great low-calorie meal.

2Is it healthy to eat tuna salad?

This recipe is much healthier than most you’ll find because we use quite a few other ingredients in the dressing, not just a ton of mayo. The Dijon mustard, pickle relish, parsley, lemon juice, and seasonings add loads of flavor with virtually no added calories. Tuna is a great protein to consume, you can read more about the health benefits here.

3What do you eat with tuna salad?

4What can I substitute for mayonnaise in tuna salad?

I highly recommend mayo in this recipe.

You can use an avocado-based mayo instead of regular or light mayo as opposed to full-fat mayo.

If you’re really against using mayo, you can use plain Greek yogurt, but it will taste slightly different. Alternatively, give this Avocado Tuna Salad a try; it replaces some of the mayo with mashed avocado.

5How long can you keep this tuna salad in the fridge?

3 to 5 days. If you store the tuna salad in airtight containers in the fridge it will last 3-5 days. I usually make this Monday morning and eat it through Wednesday or Thursday for lunches.

Image of the tuna all meal prepped out.

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Tuna Salad

5 from 2 votes
The tastiest and simplest Tuna Salad has a flavor-packed creamy dressing, olive-oil-packed tuna, and crisp veggies. With only 15-minutes of prep time, you'll be hooked on this recipe!
Print Recipe

Tuna Salad

5 from 2 votes
The tastiest and simplest Tuna Salad has a flavor-packed creamy dressing, olive-oil-packed tuna, and crisp veggies. With only 15-minutes of prep time, you'll be hooked on this recipe!
Course lunch, Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword tuna salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 158kcal
Author Chelsea
Cost $5.21

Ingredients

  • 3 cans (5 oz. EACH; 142g) tuna, drained and flaked with a fork Note 1
  • 3 tablespoons (26g) finely chopped celery
  • 2 tablespoons (16g) finely chopped red onion Note 2
  • 2 tablespoons (40g) pickle relish (or finely chopped bread and butter pickles)
  • 2 tablespoons (8g) finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3 cup (70g) mayo (we love Hellman's/Best Foods) Use up to 1/2 cup for "creamier" tuna.
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon (13g) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Serving Suggestion Ideas

  • Croissants or bread, lettuce, bread & butter pickles
  • Serve in a lettuce wrap alongside fresh veggies such as cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber, sliced bell peppers, snap peas, broccoli, etc.
  • Serve with pita chips, crackers, or whole-grain bread

Instructions

  • SALAD: Thoroughly drain the tuna and place in a large bowl. Add the finely chopped celery and red onion (drained, if you soaked in water), pickle relish, parsley, mayo, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt + pepper to taste. I add a heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
  • SERVE: Stir to combine and enjoy immediately as is or loaded in a sandwich with lettuce, in a lettuce wrap, or with chips/crackers/etc.
  • STORAGE: Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Stir before serving and add a touch more mayo if needed.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: I recommend albacore packed in olive oil for this recipe
Note 2: If you’re sensitive to the flavor of raw red onion, soak the diced onions in salted ice water for 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly before using it in this salad.
Nutritional information does not include the croissant, bread or crackers.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 158kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 232mg | Potassium: 40mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 63IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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