The classic American tuna sandwich is a lunchtime staple that I grew up eating but it was often made with a massive load of mayo that wasn’t quite as healthy as it seemed. While it was almost an afterthought, as an adult, I’ve been craving healthier alternatives.
After experimenting in the kitchen, I’ve finally mastered a delicious no-mayo tuna sandwich, which has been a game changer in my home! Not only is it absolutely delicious, it’s easy to prepare and is packed with nutrients for a nourishing meal.
Why you’ll love this recipe
What’s not to love about a delicious and satisfying hearty sandwich? Although mayo does help bind the ingredients and adds creaminess to the tuna mixture, it also adds a significant amount of unhealthy fats. Instead, the ingredients used in this tuna filling is both healthy and nutritious while achieving a similar creamy texture from the combination of the olive oil (which contains healthy fats), avocado, and Dijon mustard.
This healthy and delicious tuna sandwich also comes in clutch when I don’t feel like cooking. It’s also been a lifesaver for hot and humid days in the summer when stovetop cooking is just not an option!
I love switching up the veggies based on what’s in season or what I have in my pantry which makes this sandwich easily customizable. Best of all, it all comes together in just 15 minutes, and even quicker if you’re a fast chopper!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Canned tuna: I highly recommend using Korean canned tuna. It is way superior to the ones you can find in American grocery stores because it tastes like actual tuna! The brand I like to use is Dongwon which can be found in H Mart or on Amazon.
Bread: the bread is the pillar of the sandwich, so make sure you’re using a fresh and good-quality one. I like using sourdough, but you can also use any of your favorite breads, including ciabatta, whole wheat, or white bread.
Garlic: the garlic is used to rub on the bread after it’s toasted to impart a delicious garlicky flavor. You don’t want to add garlic to the tuna mixture as it can be overpowering!
Avocado: avocado adds a buttery and creamy texture to the sandwich. It gives a similar texture to mayo.
Shredded cheese: cheese always enhances the flavors of any sandwich. I like using pepper jack, but you can also use any of your preferred cheeses, including cheddar, Monterey jack, Swiss, or American.
Lemon: a squeeze of lemon juice will add a refreshing zesty bite to complement the ingredients in the tuna mixture. You can substitute it with lime or apple cider vinegar.
Olive oil: the olive oil adds richness and creaminess to the tuna.
Dijon mustard: Dijon mustard adds tanginess to round out the flavors of the tuna mixture, however, you can also use regular or stone-ground mustard.
Red onion: red onions add a spicy and sweet taste to the tuna, but you can also substitute it with shallots or white onion.
Cucumbers: cucumbers add a nice refreshing crunch which I really enjoy. You can substitute cucumbers with radish.
Celery: celery’s prominent flavor complements the tuna really well. It’s a common ingredient in tuna salad!
Bell pepper: bell peppers add a crunchy texture. You can use red, green, or yellow bell peppers – or combine all three for a vibrant sandwich!
Scallion: scallions add a subtle spicy and peppery flavor. If you’d like, you can skip this and add a bit more onion.
Gochugaru: gochugaru adds a spicy kick to the tuna salad, but you can also add some chopped chili peppers or use chili flakes, cayenne pepper, or chili powder.
Ground Black Pepper: the black pepper adds a subtle peppery flavor. Just a pinch is all you need!
If you’re wondering what other ingredients you could experiment with for the tuna salad, here are a few ingredients that would work well:
1. Pickles – if you’re a fan of the sweet and sour flavors of pickles, they will harmonize well with the tuna. You can even skip the step of dicing them by using pickle relish instead of whole pickles.
2. Leafy greens – for added nutrients, top this healthy sandwich with the leafy green of your choice. Lettuce, arugula, or kale are a few vegetable go-to’s that add a refreshing texture.
3. Capers – you can also add diced capers to the tuna mixture. They’re salty and savory with a hint of tartness that adds a bite to the tuna salad. Add them in small amounts at a time and taste as you go as their flavor can be intense. If using capers, adjust the amount of lemon juice added.
4. Boiled eggs – if you want to add more protein to the mix, hard-boiled eggs are the way to go. Make sure to dice them into smaller pieces so they’re easy to spread.
5. Lemon pepper seasoning – this may be a wild card ingredient, but lemon pepper seasoning enhances the flavor of the lemon juice. It brings a refreshing zing that makes the sandwich simply irresistible!
How do I prepare Healthy Tuna Sandwich?
This healthy tuna sandwich is a major lifesaver since it’s quick and convenient to make. To prepare this recipe, just follow the steps below:
Step 1: Chop the vegetables
Prep and chop the red onion, cucumbers, celery, bell pepper, and scallion.
Step 2: Combine the tuna salad
In a bowl, combine the chopped vegetables, drained can of tuna, lemon juice, olive oil, dijon mustard, gochugaru, and ground black pepper.
Mix them together until they’re thoroughly combined. Don’t forget to take a taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
Step 3: Toast the bread
Toast the bread in a toaster or on a pan over the stovetop. Be careful not to over-toast them otherwise, they’ll be too crunchy!
Step 4: Rub the garlic cloves
Once the slices of bread are golden brown, transfer them to a plate and carefully rub the garlic cloves on both sides of the bread.
Step 5: Assemble the sandwich
Spread the tuna salad on one slice of bread. Then, arrange the avocado slices on top. Add a generous amount of shredded cheese, and complete the sandwich by placing the other bread on top.
*Tip: Use a blow torch to melt the cheese for best results!
Step 6: Serve
Serve with a side of chips or pickles and enjoy!
Preparation Tips for Healthy Tuna Sandwich
Making this sandwich is fairly effortless, but here are a few tips you can keep in mind to make the most delicious sandwich every time:
- Remember to drain the canned tuna well beforehand so the tuna mixture isn’t too wet.
- The vegetables should be diced fairly small so that they’re easier to mix and eat.
- If you’d like to melt the cheese, use a blow torch but be careful!
- Feel free to adjust the amount of gochugaru based on your preferred spice level. If you prefer a mild sandwich, you can just skip this ingredient.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between Dijon mustard and regular mustard?
Both condiments are made from mustard seeds. Regular yellow mustard is made from white and yellow mustard seeds while Dijon mustard is made from black and brown mustard seeds. This is why yellow mustard usually tastes spicier than Dijon mustard. It also has a thicker and creamier consistency because it contains less vinegar. Its flavor is more intense since it also contains verjuice (juice from young grapes). I personally prefer Dijon mustard because the flavors are not as intense.
Can you make this tuna sandwich in advance?
If you have a busy day ahead of you, you can definitely make this tuna sandwich the night before. Just make sure to wrap it securely with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge so it stays fresh and prevents the bread from drying up.
Can you add mayo to the tuna salad?
Yes, you can! The mayo will make the tuna salad creamier and more flavorful. But if you’re not a fan of classic mayo, you can also switch it up with Greek yogurt or make my homemade vegan mayo recipe!
How long can you store the tuna salad in the fridge?
When stored in an airtight container in the fridge, the tuna salad can last for 2 to 3 days. If you like, you can even make a big batch to have a ready-made salad spread for your sandwiches throughout the week.
Looking for more quick & delicious sandwich recipes?
Check out these recipes for more easy-to-make sandwiches:
1. Gilgeori Toast – this sandwich is a Korean street food staple that you can easily recreate at home. It’s an egg sandwich that’s jam-packed with vegetables and a secret ingredient that makes it stand out!
2. Hong Kong French Toast – this is probably the most indulgent French toast you’ll ever have. It’s served with peanut butter in every layer and fried to golden brown perfection. Don’t forget to top it with a drizzle of condensed milk for the ultimate treat!
3. Brown Sugar Butter Toast – your day will be ten times better when you have this toast first thing in the morning! It’s crispy, sweet, and buttery, and incredibly addicting!
4. Mushroom Steak Burger – if you’re searching for a meatless burger option, this recipe is the one for you. It has a meaty Portobello mushroom that’s covered in a smoky and savory glaze, served with gochujang mayo. Once you have a bite of this, you’ll forget other burgers exist!
5. Perfectly Steamed Bao Buns – if you want to step out of traditional yeast breads, you must try this fluffy steamed bao bun. It’s the perfect vessel for any filling, and I have a few recipes with various fillings:
Healthy Tuna Sandwich
- 4 slices of bread I like sourdough
- 2 cloves of garlic for bread
- 1/2 avocado sliced
- 1/4 cup shredded cheese I like pepperjack
- 1 (150g) canned tuna drained
- 1 lemon juiced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp red onion chopped
- 3 tbsp cucumbers chopped
- 3 tbsp celery chopped
- 3 tbsp bell pepper chopped
- 1 scallion chopped
- 1 tsp gochugaru Korean red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- Prep and chop red onion, cucumbers, celery, bell pepper, and scallion.
- Combined the chopped vegetables, drained tuna, lemon juice, olive oil, dijon mustard, gochugaru, and ground black pepper.
- Mix together well until thoroughly combined. Taste and adjust for seasoning if desired.
- Toast the bread in a toaster or in a pan over the stove top. Be careful not to over-toast them otherwise, they will be too crunchy!
- Remove the bread onto a plate and carefully rub the garlic cloves on both sides.
- Serve and enjoy!
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