Back to basics: Transforming canned tuna into your new favourite quick meal!

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When we feel stressed and overwhelmed, returning to basic cooking and food preparation can help you feel more in control. I wanted to share recipes that focus on healthful, simple pantry ingredients that taste great and are good for you. Today’s pantry staple? Canned tuna!

Nutrition in tuna

Tuna is rich in nutrition! It is an excellent source of protein, Research shows that a consistent intake of protein throughout the day can help maintain our health. For example, as part of a physically active lifestyle, protein helps to preserve muscle mass (muscles tend to atrophy when they are not used). Protein also contributes to satisfaction from meals.

Tuna also has heart healthy omega-3 fats (though it is low in total fat), the B-vitamin Niacin, and is also rich in nutrients that can help promote a strong immune system: Vitamin D, Zinc and Selenium. So as a shelf-stable food, it’s worth making space for canned tuna!

Unopened canned or pouch tuna can be stored for several years as long as the container remains sealed. For the best product quality, try to consume within a year of purchasing. After opening, place previously canned tuna in a sealed container and store in the refrigerator. Use within 3–4 days. Once canned tuna is opened, it can also be stored in the freezer in an airtight container.

Tuna Salad Recipe Variations:

Tuna tastes great with many flavours: Avocado, basil, white beans, black beans, bell peppers, cucumbers, garlic, ginger, lemon, lime, mustard. Here are two variations of Tuna Salad, using ingredients from your pantry and a few from your fridge. Not a tuna lover? You can substitute the tuna with canned chick peas or canned white beans.

I’d love to hear from you – what are your ideas for switching up tuna salad?

Tuna Salad with Apples, Walnuts & Dill

1) In a small glass bowl, mix together the onion and EVOO. Microwave for 1 minute to soften the flavour and texture of the onion. Adding in a bit of heat will help to infuse the flavour of the onion in the oil.

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2) Blot the drained tuna dry with paper towels. Then mix the following ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

  • 1 – (5 ounce) cans solid white tuna in water
  • ¼ apple, cored and finely diced
  • 3 tbsp walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh dill or basil (use what you have).

3) Stir in the following ingredients into the bowl.

  • 3 tbsp light mayo
  • 1/3 stalk of celery, minced
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

Enjoy on an open-faced sandwich. Add in some lettuce of spinach for veggies, a few tomatoes and some fruit on the side for a satisfying and mostly fuss-free lunch.

Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.

 

Tuna Salad without the mayo

1) In a small glass bowl, mix together the onion and EVOO. Microwave for 1 minute to soften the flavour and texture of the onion. Adding in a bit of heat will help to infuse the flavour of the onion in the oil.

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2) Blot the drained tuna dry with paper towels. Then mix the following ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

  • 1 – (5 ounce) cans solid white tuna in water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp minced celery
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (dill), basil, chives
  • salt and pepper to taste

Recipe adapted from Chef Michael Smith  

Non-bread vehicles to deliver tuna to your mouth

If you are interested in having a non-bread option for delivering tuna to your mouth, there are many options. Sliced apple rounds, sliced cucumbers, lettuce leaves, celery, to name a few. You could also enjoy this tuna salad as an avocado boat. Cut the avocado in half and add in tuna salad filling over top the avocado.

Kristyn Hall
Kristyn Hall
Kristyn Hall MSc, RD, Food, Nutrition & Culinary Coach, Registered Nutritionist and Calgary Dietitian, Calgary, AB.

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