10 Amazing Ways to Turn a Can of Tuna into a Meal

updated May 1, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Long-time a pantry staple, the can of tuna is reliable. It’s there when you need it. It’s inexpensive. It’s packed with flavor and protein. And it’s definitely not boring.

While the traditional tuna salad sandwich is one of my favorite comfort foods, I love that the humble can of tuna can be transformed into a range of amazing meals.

1. Toss it.

Into a salad, that is. There are so many ways you can assemble a tuna salad. You can go with mayo, of course, but also with vinaigrette, hummus, and even avocado. Bust out a new flavor profile to take your tuna salad over the top.

Get the recipe: Greek-Style Tuna Salad

(Image credit: Jessica Fisher)

2. Serve it on lettuce wraps.

Lettuce wraps are a quick and easy way to enjoy some of your favorite salad toppings and sandwich fillings. You can even buy the lettuce leaves prepped and ready in the produce department, making for quick and easy lunches. Tuna is a perfect topping.

Get the recipe: Nicoise Salad Wraps

3. Pair it with beans.

Yep, with beans. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how well the textures blend. My college-aged son, who’s into bodybuilding, recently stirred it into chili. Apparently, it’s a thing. Tuna pairs well with beans in soups, chilis, and especially bean salad.

(Image credit: Jessica Fisher)

4. Top a salad with it.

Lunch salads are my go-to. Often I use whatever leftover proteins we have from dinner, but the can of tuna is a great fall-back, particularly when it’s made into the traditional Salade Niçoise.

Get the recipe: Salade Nicoise

(Image credit: Izy Hossack)

5. Think outside the bowl.

While fresh tuna is certainly a treat, you can enjoy all your favorite sushi or poke flavors alongside the more affordable canned tuna. No, it’s not the same, but it’s still super tasty.

(Image credit: Jessica Fisher)

6. Stir it into pasta.

From puttanesca to the humble macaroni salad, canned tuna works well stirred into your favorite pasta dishes. It adds a hearty boost of protein without increasing the cost of the dish.

Get the recipe: Tuna Macaroni Salad

7. Mix it into patties.

Cooked and flaky already, canned tuna is a perfect base for your favorite fried patties. Serve with cocktail or tartar sauce on the side for a comforting lunch.

Get the recipe: Tuna Patties

8. Say cheese.

Make your favorite tuna salad sandwich, only layer on some cheese and pop the whole thing in the panini press. Hot, gooey, and creamy, it’s one of the best things since sliced bread.

Get the recipe: Easy Tuna Melt Sandwiches

(Image credit: Closet Cooking)

9. Stir it into soup.

Soup lunches are some of my favorites. They’re quick and easy and super simple to pull together with pantry staples. Add a can of tuna to your weekday soup for extra protein, texture, and flavor.

(Image credit: Jerrelle Guy)

10. Take a trip to the Mediterranean.

The pan bagnat is the Mediterranean version of the tuna sandwich. It literally means “bathed bread,” thanks to the addition of a flavorful vinaigrette dressing. For best flavor, my French mom insists that you use tuna canned in oil.

Get the recipe: Pan Bagnat