I probably shouldn’t be admitting this on the BeeWell blog, but sometimes I think tuna gets a bad rap. Maybe it’s the association with mayo? I know plenty of people who don’t touch it with a 10-ft pole, and I would even venture to guess that even those that like it get bored with the same-old, ho-hum tuna salad. Personally, I love tuna. And in the past three years, I’ve probably had it with mayo only one or two times. So what else is there? A lot. Savory, sweet, spicy, crunchy, herby, creamy – the number of different tuna salads I’ve eaten cover them all. Today I’m sharing three of my favorite recipes. But first, let’s talk tuna.
Why eat tuna? Tuna is a source of high-quality, lean, cost-effective and convenient protein.
After years of experimenting with my diet, I finally figured out that I feel and perform my best when 30-40% of my calories are from protein. Canned tuna is a fast, easy way to get it since it requires no cooking. Some argue that protein is pricey, but I’d counter that tuna is one of the cheaper options – in fact, my husband and I pay special visits to a discount grocery store where Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore Tuna is frequently on sale. Low-fat, natural sources of protein, such as tuna, are known to fill you up more than simple carbohydrates, so adding them to your diet is a good idea whether you are trying to lose weight, maintain your weight, or simply feel more energetic and satisfied.
What else is so great about tuna?
The health benefits of canned tuna don’t end there. Tuna is a good source of omega-3 essential fatty acid. You have probably heard that a diet high in omega-3 is important for reducing cholesterol and preventing heart disease, but studies show that these good-for-you fats may also prevent Alzheimer’s disease, reduce inflammation and thus chronic pain due to rheumatoid arthritis, and even improve one’s mood and eliminate depression*.
What can I put in it besides mayonnaise?
So many things! For a quick fix, try any of the following:
- tuna mixed with hummus – sounds weird, but my husband turned me on to this one!
- tuna mixed with lemon juice and Mediterranean or Italian seasoning blend – nice and light!
- tuna mixed with cottage cheese and your favorite vegetables – perhaps this is an odd suggestion since cottage cheese might be even more polarizing than mayo, but I really do swear by this one.
And when you have a little more time to throw something together, here are three recipes to get you going. You can even skip the bread – these are good enough to eat straight out of the bowl if you like!
Asian Tuna Salad
1 can of solid white tuna in water
1 small carrot, grated
1/4 cup diced cucumber
1 large scallion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1-2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
3/4 tablespoon cashew butter (or all-natural peanut butter)
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy-sauce (or tamari, for gluten-free)
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
Drain the tuna and add to a bowl; break apart with a fork. Add the carrots, cucumber, scallion, cilantro, and ginger. Whisk together the nut butter, soy sauce, and chili garlic sauce, and pour over the tuna. Gently mix together until combined.
Balsamic Black Bean Tuna Salad with Avocado
1 can of solid white tuna in water
1/2 cup cooked black beans
1/4 cup each diced cucumber and tomato
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 of an avocado, diced
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Drain the tuna and add to a bowl; break apart with a fork. Add the black beans, cucumber, tomato, basil, and balsamic vinegar and mix to combine. Fold in the avocado and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Mediterranean Tuna and White Bean Salad
This is a recipe I created especially for Clean Eating Magazine, so you’ll have to head over to see the full details. Here I am showing it wrapped up in collard leaves – a great way to take your tuna on the go!
About Guest Blogger Cara Lyons:
Cara Lyons is the author of Cara’s Cravings, a food blog dedicated to indulgent recipes for healthy living. Cara has found that the key to maintaining her 75lb weight loss is spinning her passionate love of all foods and cooking into enticing, wholesome recipes featuring clean and nutritious ingredients. She has proven to herself and those around her that healthy food is far from boring. On the contrary, it can be rich, interesting, and unexpectedly delicious. In addition to her blog, her original recipes can also be found in Clean Eating Magazine. Recently Cara has taken an interest in cooking “inclusively,” meaning, she enjoys dabbling in gluten-free, vegan, and other specialty diets, so that more people can enjoy her recipes.