Saturday, March 8, 2014

The only tuna salad recipe you'll ever need

The Times (of London) runs a regular food column titled The only five [insert food] recipes you'll ever need, with consistently good recipes for fish, chicken, Indian, biscuits, etc. I like the idea of having some go-to staple recipes that you can whip up quickly to suit particular occasions (weeknight dinner, snack, dessert, lazy weekend breakfast).
fresh and bright tuna salad, anything but soggy and lackluster
My mom has this theory down like a pro, unsurprising given her training as a middle school home-ec teacher and decades of preparing wholesome, homecooked meals for our family of five. So incredibly grateful for her teaching us healthy eating and food-prep habits. I remember setting the table for weeknight dinners while she sped around the kitchen throwing together our regular favorites from memory, without a recipe card in sight: chicken and rice casserole, spaghetti bolognese, Mexican rice, savory oatmeal muffins, brownies, vanilla bundt cake. I'm working on developing this skill, the problem is I like to experiment with dishes and rarely make the exact same thing twice.
tuna salad sandwich on wholegrain bread
But there are a few recipes and techniques that I stick to without much variation. This tuna fish salad recipe is one of them-- it's so simple and yields a wholesome, protein- and omega-3-filled dish that is perfect for a satisfying lunch or a quick weeknight dinner. A few chopped olives, some dried herbs, and a little squeeze of lemon mixed with low-fat yogurt and mustard bring a fresh taste that takes this far, far away from any mayonnaise-dense canteen tuna salad you've experienced in your past. Serve atop a bed of greens, garnishing with slices of avocado, or in between two slices of wholegrain bread lined with crisp lettuce leaves to keep the tuna from making the bread soggy.
tuna salad sandwich for an easy, fresh, protein-rich meal
Hope you enjoy this simple, tasty, filling (and inexpensive!) tuna salad, and find it a recipe that you keep turning back to when you need a quick and satisfying meal.

Tuna Salad (with olives and lemon, no mayo)
serves 4

1/4 to 1/2 cup low-fat plain or greek yogurt, to taste
1 tablespoon dijon mustard (or regular yellow mustard works fine)
small handful of pitted ripe olives, coursely chopped
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
big pinch of freshly ground black pepper
dash of red chili flakes
squeeze of fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 teaspoon)
small stalk of celery, finely chopped to make about 1/4 cup (optional)
425g (15oz) can of tuna (preferably in water with no salt), drained
(to serve: lettuce and wholegrain bread)

In a medium sized non-metal bowl, mix together with a fork all ingredients except the tuna. (Start with 1/4 cup of yogurt, and add more after adding the tuna if you'd like).

Add the tuna to the yogurt mixture, and mix well, breaking up the tuna chunks as you stir. At this point, add a little more yogurt if you'd like to achieve desired consistency.

Serve immediately on a bed of lettuce leaves (and sliced avocado is nice), or sandwiched between slices of wholegrain bread lined with lettuce to keep the tuna from making the bread soggy. 

Will keep, covered in the fridge, for 2-3 days.

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