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need enhancement ideas for classic tuna salad

gandro Dec 19, 2009 02:41 AM

Please share your ideas on adding some unique flavors for standard tuna salad.
I'm tired of just adding onion, lemon juice, mayo and celery.

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  1. v
    Val Dec 19, 2009 03:48 AM

    How about chopped radishes? Red onion instead of white? Haven't tried this yet but have seen recipes for spicy mustard added to tuna salad. One item I always always add is fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley. Oh, how about some finely chopped mustard greens? Just bought some from farm market and what a blast of flavor, wasabi-like!!! I might start using the mustard green addition instead of the parsley.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Val
      hotoynoodle Dec 19, 2009 09:11 PM

      i always use mustard in there.

      diced apples
      julienned radish
      potato cubes
      hard cooked eggs
      white beans
      celery leaves
      smoked paprika
      no mayo -- evoo, hot cherry peppers, olives, capers
      make a niçoise salad

      1. re: hotoynoodle
        rainey Dec 19, 2009 10:33 PM

        I just LOVE celery leaves.

        1. re: rainey
          Val Dec 20, 2009 06:08 AM

          Me, too, have been using them to dip in hummus these days, but they really brighten up whatever you put them in!

          1. re: Val
            rainey Dec 20, 2009 10:20 AM

            Yes. I cut them off diligently these days when I use celery and put them in a sieve to dry to crumble into everything.

    2. g
      gordeaux Dec 19, 2009 04:45 AM

      choped sour pickle (not sweet pickle, sugar and fish don't mix well for me)
      drop of sesame oil or sesame chile oil
      tobiko or masago
      ground hot red pepper

      Plenty of threads on tuna salad if you search

      1. Cherylptw Dec 19, 2009 07:16 PM

        My aunt uses dill pickle in her tuna salad; potato salad too...
        I like sweet pickle relish, chopped green or red onion, celery, shredded carrot, chopped hard boiled egg, jalapeno pepper, and mayo with a touch of whole grain mustard...

        For an asian theme, teriyaki sauce, pickled ginger, green onion, crushed wasabi peas or a little wasabi paste and lightly toasted mixed sesame seeds

        1. m
          MazDee Dec 19, 2009 07:26 PM

          I always put capers and a little of their juice. Sometimes I put dill weed. Sometimes I mix a can of tuna with a can of sardines. I always buy the imported tuna in olive oil now. If I had a family to feed, I probably wouldn't do that!

          1. f
            foiegras Dec 19, 2009 08:38 PM

            My grandmother always made it with apple and onion.

            I make it with chopped boiled eggs and Sechler's candied dill pickles/juice.

            1. Cheese Boy Dec 19, 2009 09:22 PM

              Try chopped green bell pepper in your tuna instead of celery . President Obama puts pickle juice straight from the pickle jar in his tuna salad. I happen to like a good EVOO, some white wine vinegar, a tangy mustard, and a spoonful of mayo added to my tuna salad. Tastes even better the next day when left in the fridge. (Sometimes I add a few capers too).

              1. ipsedixit Dec 19, 2009 09:24 PM

                Wasabi (or horseradish powder) and water chestnuts (or diced jicama)

                1. t
                  toveggiegirl Dec 20, 2009 02:32 AM

                  I like these two ways of preparing tuna salad.

                  Tom Colicchio's Sicilian Tuna Salad

                  Bon Appétit's Tuna, Pickle, and Chopped-Vegetable Pita Sandwiches

                  1. Antilope Dec 20, 2009 02:34 AM

                    A few drops of flavored vinegar.

                    1. f
                      FishTales Dec 20, 2009 06:11 AM

                      Red wine vinegar.

                      1. coll Dec 20, 2009 10:25 AM

                        To me, the most important ingredient is lots of ground black pepper. More than you would think. Otherwise I do as you do, though I'm iffy on the onion, depending on who's eating it.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: coll
                          rainey Dec 20, 2009 10:32 AM

                          I really love the flavor of good tuna. For me, for a sandwich, it's mayo and, as you say, a ton of freshly ground pepper. Nothing else needed or, actually, welcome.

                          1. re: coll
                            greygarious Dec 20, 2009 10:40 AM

                            I like Old Bay seasoning for both tuna salad and egg salad. It contains mustard, paprika, celery seed, bay leaf, both black and red pepper, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and ginger. I use it in addition to celery, onion, mayo, and pickle relish. If adding dill to tuna salad, I omit the Old Bay, celery, and relish, and add ground black pepper.

                          2. shaogo Dec 20, 2009 10:34 AM

                            Lemon juice and a bit of the zest is always very nice.

                            Horseradish and seeded, chopped tomato are really good.

                            Cornichons add a luxurious flavor to the fish salad.

                            I had a marvelous salad made of tuna fish, olives, and chopped boiled egg that was served on fresh mozzarella rounds, on a bed of greens.

                            1. shanagain Dec 20, 2009 02:00 PM

                              Mine has apples, onion, celery, diced cheddar - not shredded - and pickle relish - sweet or dill, I'm not picky.

                              And, now I want it right now.

                              1. momskitchen Dec 20, 2009 02:05 PM

                                My standard tuna salad is this: hard boiled eggs, chopped dill pickle, mayo and tuna., Try chopped dill pickle.

                                1. thew Dec 20, 2009 02:28 PM

                                  chick peas

                                  1. Emme Dec 20, 2009 02:41 PM

                                    my mom's recipe was always red delicious apples, red onions, celery, mayo and a little curry powder. i didn't know it was different til a friend came over and said so when i was making tuna for lunch...

                                    1. c
                                      cookie44 Dec 20, 2009 03:55 PM

                                      Wow - loads of add-ins here!

                                      Me, I guess I'm more of a tuna purist than most. My favorite would be mayo, celery (though now I'm thinking I'd love celery leaves instead), lots of fresh ground black pepper, and dill (dried works fine). I love this mix in a sandiwch on its own, but especially in a tuna melt with a nice cheddar or other flavorful cheese.

                                      1. d
                                        dmd_kc Dec 20, 2009 05:24 PM

                                        My personal favorite (which I used to make too often and have recently given a rest for a bit) uses white beans, raw scallion, kalamata olives, celery, lemon juice and olive oil. It's a really good brown-bag lunch item, because it's much better after sitting overnight.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: dmd_kc
                                          pasuga Jun 3, 2010 06:44 PM

                                          A favorite lunch place used to make it almost like this, leaving out the beans and olives, and adding capers and just a tiny bit of raw red pepper.

                                        2. eight_inch_pestle Dec 20, 2009 05:29 PM

                                          Sriracha, of course. (Somebody had to say it, right?)

                                          1. j
                                            jencounter Dec 20, 2009 06:43 PM


                                            1. mcsheridan Dec 21, 2009 03:21 PM

                                              Homestyle: Red Onion, Celery, Mayo, pickle relish, small squeeze of ketchup (not even enough to turn the salad pink - just a tiny bit.)

                                              Italian Style Tuna Sandwich, not really a salad: Progresso Tuna, Cento Roasted Peppers, Romaine Lettuce - nothing else.

                                              1. rikasings Dec 22, 2009 05:36 AM

                                                I recently made one with:

                                                tarragon, celery, red onion, apples, pecans, a good dollop of mayo, splash of apple cider vinegar a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. It's always better the next day.

                                                I've tried it with curry too, Emme! Delicious!

                                                1. serenarobin Dec 22, 2009 10:23 AM

                                                  wow-these all sound amazing!
                                                  Our family recipe :
                                                  add finely chopped red pepper, yellow pepper, celery, red onion, and scallions
                                                  shredded carrot
                                                  celery seed
                                                  fresh lemon juice
                                                  serve on a whole grain roll with a slather of honey mustard (homemade- mix dijon mustard and honey to taste)

                                                  1. l
                                                    laliz Dec 22, 2009 02:50 PM

                                                    I use white solid tuna in water, drained.
                                                    Add combination of cream cheese and mayonnaise, flavored with worchestershire sauce.
                                                    Grated carrots, can of chopped ripe olives, and a handful of frozen petite peas.

                                                    I love tuna.

                                                    1. abbiethekitty Jan 16, 2010 10:17 AM

                                                      I like to slice up quartered artichoke hearts and black olives to add to the mayo for tuna salad. My Mom prefers diced onions, sweet pickle relish and some pickle juice in the mayo for hers. Both of us then add a little salt and pepper. I have to admit I like the crunch of using celery too.

                                                      1. k
                                                        Kater Jan 16, 2010 11:14 AM

                                                        I add red onion, chopped calamata olives, capers, lemon zest and roasted red peppers.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Kater
                                                          flourgirl47 Feb 9, 2010 07:04 AM

                                                          I make a big batch and use 4 cans of white solid tuna in water, then add mayo and lots of diced celery, as usual, but since I don't like the "tuna-y " taste I also add equal amounts of diced sweet pickles and juice and diced dill pickles and juice. Then I add a squirt or two (or more) of lemon juice or lime juice. Sometimes I dice a couple of green apples and add them. I recently found a blend of dried berries at Walmart that has cranberries, cherries, and blueberries, and I put the whole packet in. Then I add nuts...lately I've liked the subtlety of pine nuts. To finish it off I cook some seashell pasta and fold that in. Last, salt and pepper to taste.

                                                        2. n
                                                          normalheightsfoodie Feb 9, 2010 11:16 AM

                                                          Celery salt and chopped cashews.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: normalheightsfoodie
                                                            pine time May 2, 2012 01:35 PM

                                                            Thought I was weird with adding nuts, but I like to add chopped toasted walnuts.

                                                          2. boyzoma Feb 9, 2010 11:42 AM

                                                            I sometimes add diced water chestnuts and frozen baby peas as well as celery and diced green pepper. These also work well with chicken salad.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: boyzoma
                                                              shaogo May 5, 2010 07:54 AM

                                                              I second the peas; we've used the big ones and now I'm dying to try getting the baby ones; or better yet -- I'll wait another month this year and there'll be peas in the garden, hopefully.

                                                            2. a
                                                              Auriana Feb 9, 2010 11:53 AM

                                                              Instead of pickles, I use chopped pickled jalapenos. You still get the pickly tang, but with a nice dose of heat too.

                                                              1. todao Feb 9, 2010 01:07 PM

                                                                Pieces of sliced/diced/chopped or whole sections of mandarin orange add a nice touch to a summer tuna salad and cashews also work well.

                                                                1. o
                                                                  ozinboz May 3, 2010 11:00 AM

                                                                  We had a "honey what's in the fridge" moment last week and came up with this tuna salad. To my surprise, my husband liked it so much he asked for a repeat last night. Thought it would be alright to tack the recipe to this old post as it hasn't passed the 6 month mark yet. All measurements approximate, I was just dumping stuff in.

                                                                  1 medium can tuna in spring water/brine, drained
                                                                  1/2 onion (preferably red or spanish onion) sliced paper thin, marinated for 5 minutes in 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar and 1/2 tsp salt
                                                                  1 cucumber thinly sliced
                                                                  1 medium carrot grated
                                                                  3 handfuls rocket
                                                                  Splash soy sauce, sesame oil, Fresh cracked black pepper, Salt. All seasoning to taste
                                                                  Spalsh extra virgin olive oil

                                                                  Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Including the onion marinade.

                                                                  Last week, I used the leftovers to make a pan bagnat style sandwich with half a loaf of chewy bread. Cut bread lengthwise, splash with some olive oil, pile on the tuna salad. Wrap in plastic and squish (I used a litre bottle of pepsi balanced on a loaf tin) in fridge for 2 hours.
                                                                  Last night when we made it again, we added cooked spiral pasta enough for 2, and just upped all the seasonings and added a handful of grated parmesan.

                                                                  1. mcsheridan May 5, 2010 06:43 PM

                                                                    I just recalled a combo I saw over in Ireland some years back; I never tried it, but it's worth throwing into the mix:

                                                                    Tuna and sweetcorn (they say sweetcorn, we say corn kernels). Just add corn into the basic mix of tuna, mayo and a bit of onion.

                                                                    Just posting this 'cause the thread survives and is revived. My own recc's are up thread:

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: mcsheridan
                                                                      Cheese Boy May 8, 2010 09:51 PM

                                                                      Goya products has canned varieties of tuna with tasty added ingredients just as you describe. You can get tuna with ... Jalapeños, Vegetables, or Sweet Corn. They are all very tasty and sometimes you even forget you're eating tuna because the flavor is so masqueraded.

                                                                      Pic --> http://www.goya.com/english/products/...

                                                                      1. re: Cheese Boy
                                                                        shclogic Jun 3, 2010 12:33 PM

                                                                        Just posted this on another board, but...

                                                                        tuna, light mayo, sliced almonds, dried cranberries and curry powder = yummy goodness!

                                                                    2. RealMenJulienne Jun 3, 2010 10:51 PM

                                                                      Here in Beijing you can find Century brand tuna in soybean oil in any old supermarket - which I've never seen in the states - and each $2 can is packed with dense, oily, long-muscle-fiber pieces... it's superb! If I'm eating Century I drain off the neutral-tasting oil, add a little rice vinegar and just eat it plain on a baguette.

                                                                      If I'm stuck with chunk light tuna or the shredded cat food grade in water, then is the time to add Kewpie mayo, finely minced celery, horseradish, and a little mustard.

                                                                      1. yankinparisot Jun 4, 2010 12:03 PM


                                                                        Here is my version of the classic French tuna salad = Salad Nicoise.

                                                                        An all time summer favorite

                                                                        1. melpy Jun 4, 2010 09:54 AM

                                                                          When I was a kid the neighbors used either sweet relish or grated carrot. When I was a kid we only ate Italian tuna packed in oil, with mayo, salt and pepper and I always added garlic powder.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: melpy
                                                                            Whosyerkitty Jun 4, 2010 02:33 PM

                                                                            Always white pepper
                                                                            Grapes, sliced in half, red ones look prettier. Chopped cucumber. Not together.

                                                                          2. grampart Jun 4, 2010 02:55 PM

                                                                            The "unique" crap will just make it less "classic".

                                                                            1. m
                                                                              marypoix May 2, 2012 01:29 PM

                                                                              Fresh jalapeno! My favorite: oil packed tuna (drained of half of the oil), jalapeno, red onion, celery, lemon (or lime) juice, coarse kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper. And, depending on the taste of my guests, some cayenne and cumin.

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