5 Ways to Dress Up a Can of Tuna

Looking for what to add to canned tuna beyond mayo? Here are some creative new ideas for what to make with canned tuna for a satisfying meal from the pantry.

Classic Niçoise Salad

I can think of so many reasons to adore the humble canned tuna fish: It's affordable. It's high in omega-3 fats (psst… those are the ones that are good for your heart, your mood and your skin). I love that I can store it in my cupboard until just when I need it. And it's such a versatile ingredient. Plus, canned albacore tuna has low levels of mercury and is a sustainable choice if it's labeled as troll- or pole-caught, from the U.S. or British Columbia. Another healthy choice is chunk light tuna, which comes from the smaller skipjack or yellowfin, and has less mercury than canned white albacore tuna.

Classic mayo-based tuna salad has a place in my heart. But when I think of drenching the poor canned fish in so much heavy mayonnaise you need an ice cream scoop just to ladle it onto your sandwich, I feel like there needs to be an intervention.

Step away from the mayo, folks! Adding just a few fresh and nutritious ingredients can help elevate a simple can of tuna from pantry staple to an elegant, satisfying meal. Dress up your canned tuna in these healthy recipes.

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1. Tuna Cakes: Add Eggs, Herbs & Breadcrumbs

Easy Herby Tuna Cakes over Greens
Antonis Achilleos

Dried herbs, white beans and canned tuna come together in these easy tuna cakes served over greens. A lemony dressing ties this quick dinner together.

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2. One-Pot Pasta: Add Pasta, Olives & Lemon

Joy Howard

Use the one-pot pasta cooking method to make this tuna pasta recipe that calls for just 5 ingredients and is ready in just over half an hour. For extra crunch and a tuna noodle casserole feel, sprinkle this speedy pasta dish with toasted whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs.

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3. Tuna Melt: Add Greek Yogurt, Veggies, Cheese & Bread

10-Minute Tuna Melt
Joy Howard

This variation of a classic sandwich uses mayonnaise, but not where you think! Mayo is brushed on the outside of the sandwich in place of butter to make the sandwich golden and crispy as it heats in a skillet. Plain Greek yogurt takes mayo's place in the salad—along with crunchy celery, roasted red bell peppers and scallions—for a satisfying lunch with less saturated fat.

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4. Niçoise Salad: Add Potatoes, Hard-Boiled Eggs, Green Beans & Dressing


This colorful platter salad with origins in the south of France makes a well-balanced and satisfying hot-weather meal. Coating the potatoes in dressing while they are still hot helps them absorb the flavors.

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5. Tuna Salad Spread: Add Avocado, Greek Yogurt, Herbs & Spices


This healthy twist on tuna salad uses avocado and Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise. Serve it on cucumber slices, butter lettuce leaves or whole-grain crackers.

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