Recipe Review

I Tried Food Network’s Best Tuna Salad and It Lives Up to Its Name

published Feb 28, 2022
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

When gathering recipes to include in our tuna salad recipe showdown, I knew that there needed to be a classic tuna salad. No unexpected ingredient additions and no unusual methods — just a humble, traditional version. A control group, if you will. Something that I could enjoy next to other, more outspoken tuna salads, to help gauge if the added flair was beneficial or unnecessary. So, did the traditional tuna salad of the bunch live up to the hype? I got out my mixing bowl and got to work.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

How to Make Food Network’s Best Tuna Salad

To make it, mix two cans of white meat tuna (packed in water) with minced celery, minced red onion (that’s been soaked in cold water for 5 minutes, then drained), minced parsley, mayonnaise, whole-grain mustard, salt, and pepper. Give the salad a squeeze of lemon to your liking. Humble. Quick. Easy.

My Honest Review of Food Network’s Best Tuna Salad

I’ll be the first to admit that I am always looking for ways to amp up a classic. What unlikely ingredient can I add to this to make it extra special? Frankly, because this recipe was so basic, I wasn’t expecting much. However, this tuna salad was a great reminder of the underappreciated beauty of simplicity. I grew up eating at delis on Long Island, and this one tastes exactly like the tuna salad that I remember loving from behind the deli case window.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

All of the ratios of ingredients were spot-on, and I think the minced vegetables were crucial because they provided a subtle crunch without being overly chunky and obstructive. I love raw red onion because it’s so sharp, but I appreciated the instruction to quickly soak the minced onion in water to help mellow it out a bit. The fresh lemon juice at the end was the perfect way to balance out all of the flavors.

This recipe also boldly asks the question, “What if I told you to add 1/3 cup of mayonnaise? Can you do that?” Frankly, it was just right. Because the recipe calls for tuna that’s packed in water as opposed to oil, the salad needs a good amount of fat to balance out the dryness of the tuna, and the mayo provides that. This salad by no means felt like it was swimming in mayo. The tuna-to-condiment ratio was just right. 

A Tip If You’re Making Food Network’s Best Tuna Salad

The only thing I’d change about this tuna salad if I made it again is that I’d add a little bit more parsley. One teaspoon of finely minced parsley is really not a lot, and I am an herby girl, so next time I might be a bit more liberal with my greens.

Rating: 9/10