Tuna salad is a tried-and-true lunchtime classic. Whether you pile it into a sandwich, eat it with crackers, or mix it into your salad greens, it makes for a fast and satisfying meal. But as good as it is, I think we can agree that it's high time things got a little more interesting.
Meet five new versions of tuna salad that give the classic a major overhaul. It's not just about the flaked fish, mayo, and celery anymore — instead, think of canned tuna as a total blank canvas for new tuna salad combinations.
Read More: Your Canned Tuna Label Decoded
1. Bánh Mì-Style Tuna Sandwich
While this might not look like a bánh mì sandwich, it captures all the flavors that make it so wonderful, like strands of quick-pickled veggies, plenty of cilantro, and the finishing touch of Sriracha mayo.
Mix together about 1/4 cup mayonnaise with 2 to 3 tablespoons of Sriracha. In a medium bowl, stir together one can of drained albacore tuna with about 1/2 cup of shredded quick-pickled carrot and daikon, about 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, and 2 to 3 tablespoons of Sriracha mayo.
2. Edamame + Sesame Tuna Sandwich
Crisp shredded red cabbage, edamame, and toasted sesame oil are three of my favorite ingredients to toss in a soba noodle stir-fry — and it turns out they work equally as well in tuna salad.
Mix together about 1/4 cup mayonnaise with 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 can drained albacore tuna, about 1/2 cup shredded red cabbage, about 1/4 cup shelled edamame, and 2 to 3 tablespoons of sesame mayo.
3. Kale + Smashed Avocado Tuna Sandwich
This tuna sandwich was inspired by a chicken sandwich from one of my favorite lunch spots in New York. Instead of topping my tuna with greens and sliced avocado, they get sliced, diced, mashed, and mixed right into the tuna, along with some spicy harissa mayo for a smoky kick.
Mix together 1/4 cup mayonnaise with 1 tablespoon harissa. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 can drained albacore tuna, 1/2 cup shredded kale, 1/2 chopped avocado (use the other half to mash and spread on the bread), and 2 to 3 tablespoons harissa mayo.
4. Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Tuna Melt
Breakfast and lunch collide with a mash-up of two sandwich favorites: a bacon, egg, and cheese, and a tuna melt.
In a medium bowl, stir together 1 can drained albacore tuna with 1 chopped hard-boiled egg and 4 strips of crumbled cooked bacon. Divide tuna between two slices of bread, top with shredded cheddar cheese, and cook under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
5. Lemony Tomato & Basil Tuna Salad
Filled with tangy lemon, grape tomatoes, and fresh basil, this tuna salad is bright and fresh; it's the kind of lunch that reminds me of warm summer days. Eat it as a sandwich, or toss it with a handful of arugula.
In a medium bowl, stir together 1 can of drained albacore tuna with 1/3 cup halved grape tomatoes, 2 tablespoons torn fresh basil leaves, the zest and juice of half a lemon, 2 tablespoons olive oil, a pinch of flaky sea salt, and fresh ground black pepper.
(Image credits: Kelli Foster)