Canned Tuna Four Ways

Categories: Recipes

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Homemade dinners on a weekday can be difficult to coordinate. Between working, school, going to the gym, and the other ten thousand things on your to do list, the last thing you want to worry about is putting together a complicated dish at the end of the day. In these situations, I often turn to canned tuna to serve as my main protein source. It's already cooked, it's cheap, and it's pretty healthy (minus the mercury, which is only an issue if you eat it nearly every day). Here are four of my favorite ways to prepare canned tuna in simple, yet satisfying homemade meals.

Tuna Spaghetti: This is one of my go-to pasta recipes, because it's fast and delicious, and I usually have all the ingredients on hand. Cook half a package of spaghetti until al dente, reserving one cup of the cooking liquid. Open a can of tuna packed in oil and drain the tuna-infused oil into a saucepan. Heat over medium flame, and add a minced glove of garlic and a teaspoon or so of crushed red pepper. After the garlic turns golden, add in the tuna and the zest and juice of one lemon. Stir in the spaghetti and add the reserved cooking liquid ¼ cup at a time until you reach your preferred consistency. Plate the pasta and sprinkle with dry crumbs before serving.

Tuna Wraps: Open a can of tuna packed in water, drain, and pour into a bowl. Add a drizzle of olive oil, shredded carrots, diced cucumbers, and a handful of toasted chopped walnuts. Stir to combine and season to taste with salt and pepper. Next spoon the mixture onto a crisp leaf of iceberg lettuce and wrap it up. Depending on how healthy you want to go, you can take this a step further and wrap it in a tortilla, or you can stick with the lettuce. I usually add a whole grain tortilla just to bulk the meal up.

Tuna Melt: The epitome of simple and satisfying. Preheat broiler. Combine a can of drained tuna with a minced glove of garlic, one tbsp mayo, salt and pepper. Split two English muffins in half. Top two of the muffin halves with cheddar cheese. Lightly butter the other two halves. Place the split muffins on a pan and broil until the bread is toasted and golden and the cheese is melted. Place a scoop of the tuna mixture on ½ of the English muffin. Add a leaf of crisp iceberg and slice of tomato. Combine the two halves to make a sandwich.

Asian-Inspired Tuna Salad: Fill a bowl with a blend of spinach and crunchy lettuce. Add in a handful of sugar snap peas, shredded carrots, diced cucumber, and sliced mushrooms. Next toss in some peanuts, wasabi peas, and sesame sticks for crunch. Add in a can of drained tuna. Make a dressing by whisking together ½ cup of sesame oil with ¼ of rice wine vinegar and two tbsp of sweet chili sauce. Toss the salad with the dressing. This salad is so good that even my friends who usually sneer at eating salad ask for seconds.

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7 comments
Bruce R
Bruce R

I do the tuna spaghetti and stir in a lot of dried oregano and at the very end add feta.

Jr
Jr

I use 1can of drained tuna, pesto sauce, 1 tsp lite mayo (optional), a sliver of olive oil, pine nuts (or whatever available), mix in a bowl and serve on any bread you like with spinich or lettuce and sundried tomatoes.

Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

Ugh. It is "clove" of garlic.

The tuna spaghetti sounds interesting, but it is nearly undiscernable. Do we zest the entire lemon? Are we supposed to pour the spaghetti into the saucepan with the tuna, garlic and oil? Where is this cup of reserved liquid coming from?

ragazzotexano
ragazzotexano

I actually find the smell of regular canned tuna utterly revolting. I literally have to leave the room when one is opened. That said, one of the best canned tuna dished in the world - and honestly just one of the best dishes period - is the classic Italian dish of Vitello Tonnato. It's one of the first things I try to order whenever I get to Italy. (Somehow the smell of olive oil packed Italian tonno doesn't make me want to hurl.) Anyone know if any restaurants in Houston serve it?

Gaaston
Gaaston

Use tuna from Italy packed in oil and almost all of it will be better.

Rgwalt
Rgwalt

Try mixing in a can of drained, olive oil packed tuna in with a jar of tomato sauce. Add some minced garlic, chili flake, a squeeze of lemon, and some capers to make a delicious sauce to go on rotini. Play with the ratio of tomato sauce and tuna and pasta to achieve the balance that best suits your taste and calorie/carb goals for the meal.

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