Ditch those boring, mayo-heavy tuna salads and give this bright, healthy tuna salad a try! Prepared Mediterranean-style with crunchy veggies, including celery; cucumbers; and onions, along with fresh herbs, and a zesty Dijon dressing. Watch my video below to see how I make it!
Turn this Mediterranean tuna salad into dinner by serving it in warm whole wheat pita pockets. Or, serve it along with homemade pita chips as an appetizer with other small plates like couscous salad or hummus.
The internet might be loaded with a ga-jillion tuna salad recipes but if we're honest, many of them are boring one-note tuna salads, that are completely drowned in processed mayonnaise--lacking in flavor and crunch.
Not this healthy tuna salad recipe!
This mayo-free tuna salad is a game changer. It's prepared Mediterranean-style with lots of crunchy veggies fresh herbs, and loads of Mediterranean flavors. And if you're wondering, "what can I mix with tuna instead of mayo?" I got you covered! You'l love the zesty Dijon dressing in this recipe.
Best part? You can put this tuna salad together in 15 minutes tops!
Before we get to today's tuna salad recipe, one question often pops up is whether tuna salad is a healthy meal option.
Is Tuna Salad Healthy?
Tuna on its own can be a wonderful healthy protein option. It is also nutrition rich, containing B-6, B12, vitamin A, iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium and omega-3 fatty acids.
Which kind of tuna to choose? There are a couple of kinds out there, white albacore and chunk light. I mostly turn to responsibly caught Albacore, it's higher in heart-healthy omega-3 fats.
And then there is the choice between tuna packed in either olive oil or water. If you're concerned about the fat content, your best bet will be tuna packed in water. I've used both in the past, but I do prefer to add my own extra virgin olive oil, that way I can use an olive oil I love (Early Harvest for sure here), and I can also control the amount.
Mercury levels in tuna can be a health concern, which is why my family consumes tuna no more than once every two weeks. (Talk to your healthcare provider if you have concerns about eating canned tuna)
Healthy Mediterranean Tuna Salad Recipe
Unlike classic tuna salad, this one has a bit of a Mediterranean flare. First, we ditch heavy mayo in favor of a healthier alternative, my zesty Dijon dressing with lime juice and Early Harvest extra virgin olive oil.
What all goes into this tuna salad? Loads of crunchy vegetables--cucumbers, celery, radish, and onions. Then, for a big extra fresh punch, I use a good amount of fresh parsley and mint. I like to throw in a handful of pitted Kalmata olives for a bit of a Greek twist.
Between the zesty dressing; the fresh herbs; and the peppery bite from radish and green onions, this tuna salad is one big flavor party in a bowl!
How to serve this Mediterranean tuna salad?
When tuna is what's for dinner, I usually add warm pita pockets and we just turn this tuna salad into loaded pita sandwiches.
But this Mediterranean tuna salad recipe makes a good amount to serve a crowd as a starter as part of a Mezze hour. Just add tomato slices that can act as a carrier, or these crispy homemade pita chips to go along.
Leftovers and Prepare Ahead Instructions
This Mediterranean tuna salad will keep well in the fridge, stored in tight-lid glass container, for about 2 days or so.
If you're looking to try and make it ahead, you can chop the vegetables and fresh herbs etc. and store them in the fridge in separate containers. When you are ready to serve, add the tuna and chopped items in one large mixing bowl and combine with the dressing.
Watch the Video for how to make this tuna salad:
More healthy salad recipes to try:
- Mediterranean sardine salad with white beans
- Healthy Chicken Salad
- Spinach Mango Salad
- Mediterranean-Style Cabbage Salad
Healthy tuna salad recipe with no mayo, prepared the Mediterranean way with lots of crunchy vegetables, fresh herbs, and a zesty Dijon dressing!
For the Zesty Dijon Mustard Dressing
- 2 ½ tsp good quality Dijon mustard
- Zest of 1 lime
- 1 ½ limes, juice of
- ⅓ cup Early Harvest extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp sumac
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes, optional
For the Tuna Salad
- 3 cans tuna, 5 ounces each (use quality tuna of your choice)
- 2 ½ celery stalks, chopped
- ½ English cucumber, chopped
- 4-5 whole small radishes, stems removed, chopped
- 3 green onions, both white and green parts, chopped
- ½ medium-sized red onion, finely chopped
- ½ cup cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
- 1 bunch of parsley, stems removed, chopped (about 1 cup chopped fresh parsley)
- 10-15 fresh mint leaves, stems removed, finely chopped (about ½ cup chopped fresh mint)
- Six slices heirloom tomatoes for serving
- Homemade Pita chips or pita pockets for serving
- To make the zesty mustard vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, lime zest, and lime juice. Add the olive oil, sumac, salt and pepper, and crushed pepper flakes (if using), and whisk again until well-blended. Set aside briefly.
- To make the tuna salad, in a large salad bowl, combine the tuna with the chopped vegetables, Kalamata olives, chopped fresh parsley and mint leaves. Mix gently with a wooden spoon.
- Pour the dressing over the tuna salad. Mix again to make sure the tuna salad is evenly coated with the dressing. Cover and refrigerate for half an hour before serving. When ready to serve, toss the salad gently to refresh.
- Serve in pita pockets for a sandwich dinner. Or to serve as an appetizer, transfer to a serving platter and add pita chips and sliced heirloom tomatoes on the side. If you like, serve a portion of the tuna salad over the sliced heirloom tomatoes. Enjoy!
- Cook's Tip for Storing: You can refrigerate this Mediterranean tuna salad in the fridge for up to 2 days. If you want to try and prepare it ahead, you can chop up the fresh ingredients and refrigerate in a tight-lid glass containers, but do not mix with the tuna and dressing until ½ hour before serving.
- Recommended for this Recipe: Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil. And from our all-natural spice collection, Sumac.
- Visit our online shop to browse our olive oil bundles and all-natural and organic spices, including our Ultimate Mediterranean Spice Bundle and the Exotic 4 Bundle
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Category: Salad
- Method: Tossed
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keywords: healthy tuna salad recipe, Mediterranean tuna salad, tuna salad with no mayo
*This post first appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in May 2015 and has been recently updated with new information and media for readers' benefit. Enjoy!