Funky-smelling or not, eating canned tuna is one of the most affordable ways to get lean protein and an array of important nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids (which support your heart health and mood) and potassium (which helps maintain healthy blood pressure). This protein-filled fish keeps you satisfied and full with almost 17 grams of protein in three ounces, which can help promote a healthy weight.
Luckily, since many healthy eaters are concerned about issues of sustainability and mercury levels, many wild-caught, sustainable brands have hit supermarket shelves, and to this day, I still have lunch dates with tuna regularly.
I get it, though: Your go-to mayo-filled tuna salad gets old quick. So to help you add more variation your weekly menu, I asked a few of my colleagues to think outside the can and share some of their favorite ways to eat tuna.
Hummus Tuna Salad
This healthier version of tuna salad is packed with protein and a secret ingredient: hummus! “Instead of a traditional mayo, this recipe uses plant-based hummus to create a creamy, delicious, and nutritious salad,” says Elizabeth Shaw, M.S., R.D.N., C.L.T., nutrition communications consultant at Shaw’s Simple Swaps. Whether you pair it with whole-grain bread or dollop it onto a crisp salad, this is definitely not your grandmother’s tuna salad.
Tuscan Tuna Bowls
Who doesn’t love a trendy bowl meal? Adding canned tuna makes for a portable, high-protein bowl. “These Tuscan tuna bowls are made with tuna, edamame, tomatoes, whole-wheat pasta, kale (or spinach), and avocados,” says Liz Weiss, M.S., R.D.N., of Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen. Talk about a colorful and flavor-filled work lunch or weeknight dinner.
Balsamic Tuna Sorghum Salad
“If you’ve never prepared sorghum, this dish is such an easy way to introduce yourself to the chewy whole grain,” says Lauren Harris-Pincus, M.S., R.D.N., owner Nutrition Starring You. “This low-calorie lunch is filled with protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats.”
Curried Tuna Salad Cups
Betchya never thought to curry your canned fish! “The avocado oil in this recipe provides healthy monounsaturated fats that combine with the immune-friendly curcuminoids in curry powder for these inflammation-fighting tuna salad cups,” says Gabriella Vetere, R.D.N., wellness expert and dietitian in the Silicon Valley and founder of Macrobalanced. Vetere loves to eat this meal post-workout for a dose of protein and an anti-inflammatory boost.
Tuna Salad-Stuffed Grilled Avocados
Here comes a fun meal that just happens to pack protein, omega-3s, monounsaturated fat, and fiber. “I adore this recipe because the serving vessel for the tuna salad is also edible!” says Lindsey Pine M.S., R.D.N., C.S.S.D., C.L.T., and owner of TastyBalance Nutrition. “The creaminess of the avocado really pairs well with the acid from the vinegar and tomatoes and the pungent flavor of the mustard.
Healthy Tuna Nicoise-Stuffed Baked Potatoes
“The combination of protein in the tuna and the complex carbohydrates and potassium in the potato makes this meal perfect after a workout to fuel muscle recovery,” says Chelsey Amer, M.S., R.D.N., New York City-based private practice dietitian and creator of C it Nutritionally. Beat it, bacon bits and cheese!
Tuna Burgers With Smashed Avocado And Tomato
Save a spot on the grill for—canned tuna? “These burgers are super easy to make and pack protein and omega-3s,” says Elizabeth Ward, M.S., R.D.N., author of Expect the Best: Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, and After Pregnancy. The recipe also provides heart-healthy fats from the avocado and two servings of whole grains from the bun.
Greek Salad With Tuna
This recipe packs two economical protein sources: tuna and beans. “Beans’ high-fiber means they can help promote healthy blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels and aid in blood sugar regulation—plus that dose of fiber can keep you feeling full longer,” Judy Barbe, R.D.N., recipe developer, speaker, and creator of LiveBest.
Tuna Pesto Pasta Salad
This meal will practically transport you to the Mediterranean. “My tuna pesto pasta salad is quick to prepare, good for your heart and brain, and bursting with flavor,” says Christy Wilson, R.D.N., nutrition counselor at University of Arizona private consultant. “I love using chunk light tuna because it has a mild flavor, is available in practically every grocery store, and I can easily substitute it in for chicken or meat in several recipes.”
*Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D.N., C.D.N., is an award-winning author, spokesperson, speaker, consultant, and owner of BTD Nutrition Consultants, LLC. She has been featured on TV, radio, and print, as well as in digital media, including Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Women’s Health, and U.S. News & World Report. She is a recipient of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Media Excellence Award.