Cheap Eats: 10 Ways to Use a Can of Tuna

Despite concerns about mercury, tuna remains one of the most economical ways to feed yourself on the fly. It's quick, it's cheap, and... OK, it's really boring if all you ever do is make it into tuna fish sandwiches.

We've got 10 ways to make this pantry staple a more interesting meal.One thing we recently read about mercury in canned tuna fish: Chunk light tuna has about a third of the mercury as solid white, albacore tuna. The chunk light stuff is usually made from skipjack, a type of tuna that's smaller and less predatory than albacore, which means it accumulates less mercury.

So here are 10 ways to eat a can:

1. Bean and tuna salad. Some creamy white beans, something crunchy (maybe celery or fennel) and chunks of tuna, dressed with a little lemon juice and olive oil. Try this recipe for Italian Marrow Beans with Tuna, one of our recipes from Rancho Gordo.

2. Pasta salad. Cold pasta salad with crisp vegetables, a light vinaigrette, and flecks of tuna is a great alternative to pasta salad with chicken.

3. Tuna croquettes. Similar to these salmon croquettes we wrote about, tuna croquettes are a fun (kid-friendly!) way to use up several pantry staples—tuna and crackers. Try this recipe: Tuna Croquettes, from Alton Brown.

4. Spelt Farotto with Tuna and Artichokes. Faith put this recipe together with some Trader Joe's artichoke spread and spelt berries.

5. Layered with eggplant. Go take a look at this Tuna Tonnato with Eggplant Salad from Gourmet. Chunks of tuna are layered with grilled eggplant (from a jar!) and tomatoes.

6. A classic salad niçoise. We love this salad, with its potatoes, crunchy green beans, hard-boiled eggs, and chunks of tuna. Try Elise's Niçoise Salad from Simply Recipes.

7. Tuna melts! Technically, this is still tuna salad. But good cheese makes it much more interesting. We've been making them lately with parmesan. Run under the broiler for a few minutes, then top with arugula.

8. No-mayo tuna salad. Why not try an olive oil-and-vinegar based dressing instead of mayonnaise? Take some tips from our Italian Chicken Salad.

9. In a casserole. Heat it up with some cheese and pasta. Try this Tuna Noodle Casserole from Gourmet.

10. Plain. Not exciting, we know, but have you ever just eaten tuna out of the can with some good salt and pepper? It's actually kind of nice. Don't feel like you have to have bread and mayonnaise. A cracker and a drizzle of lemon juice may be all you need.

Any other ideas out there?

Related: Company Spotlight: Kona Blue Water Farms

(Image: Chicken of the Sea)

69 Comments