BEST Tuna Salad Recipe (No Mayonnaise!)

Jump to Recipe
5 from 3 votes

For healthy lunch in a pinch, this tuna salad recipe is all you need! Loaded with crunchy veggies and dressed with fresh lemon and olive oil, you won’t miss mayonnaise for a second. Top on sandwiches, salads, lettuce wraps, and even crackers for a quick make-ahead appetizer or snack!

This recipe goes way back to memories of my school lunchbox. While on the occasion I had the classic creamy tuna salad sandwich, the tuna salad I’d beg for was lemony and fresh. This recipe is a take on that tuna salad that I still dream of, to this day!

It’s a Mediterranean take on tuna salad, packed with finely chopped celery, onion, and cucumber, and then finished with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. It’s healthier than the classic mayo versions, and 1,000% better tasting too! Speaking of Mediterranean and mayo-free, you haven’t had great Tuna Pasta Salad until you’ve had my recipe. Don’t miss the oppor-tuna-ty! Laugh please…

Tuna Salad Recipe Ingredients

With just 6 ingredients (and most of them you probably already have on-hand!), you can make the best tuna salad to load on sammies, lettuce wraps, or just spoon-to-mouth!

  • Canned tuna in olive oil – my favorite type of canned tuna is yellowfin in olive oil (extra virgin is always best). Yellowfin tuna has a rich flavor and meaty texture. I also find it to be less dry than albacore!
  • Celery – celery adds crisp, earthy sweetness.
  • Red onion – red onion is nice and crunchy with an assertive onion flavor that’s perfect in this Mediterranean version of tuna salad.
  • English cucumber – English cukes are extra crunchy with a more delicate skin that isn’t as tough as your standard American cucumber. You can also use pickling cucumbers if they are available.
  • Fresh lemon juice – don’t use the lemon squeezy bottle; the fresh stuff makes all the difference.
  • Extra virgin olive oil – my biggest trick for this tuna salad is to squeeze out the olive oil from the can and use fresh extra virgin olive oil. The stuff in the can has been sitting with the tuna for a while, so it is fishy and old tasting. Fresh extra virgin olive oil makes all the difference!
Tuna salad recipe ingredients

Step-by-Step Instructions

Let’s make the best tuna salad ever. You’ll never want mayo in there again!  Full instructions in the recipe card; this is an outline.

  1. Assemble.

    Add celery, onion and cucumber to a large bowl.Add veggies to a bowl.

  2. Drain.

    Drain cans of tuna, squeezing out as much of the canned olive oil as possible.

  3. Add.

    Scoop drained tuna into the bowl.Scoop drained tuna into the bowl.

  4. Mix.

    Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir and enjoy!Mix and serve.

Watch How to Make Tuna Salad: Video

With only 6 ingredients, watch me make the best tuna salad you’ll ever taste!

Recipe Tips and Variations

  • You can make 4 large sandwiches with this recipe, each with 1 cup of tuna salad. Toast good quality bread, scoop on the salad, top with a piece of bibb lettuce, add a drizzle of olive oil to the top bread, and enjoy!
  • Adding your own fresh extra virgin olive oil is the key to the best tuna salad ever! The olive oil from the can doesn’t taste fresh and can be fishy.
  • Don’t use water-packed tuna which isn’t as moist and flavorful.
  • Additions: avocado, cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, kalamata olives, pickles, parsley, chives
  • Substitutions: mayo or Greek yogurt instead of olive oil

Ways to Serve Tuna Salad

Let’s be honest, this tuna salad is so good, that you really don’t need anything but a big ole spoon to serve it. Alone or served one of these ways, you can’t go wrong:

  • Sandwiches: good toasted bread and lettuce is all you need!
  • As a tuna melt: add cheese on bread and toast in a pan.
  • Wraps: change it up with a tortilla instead of bread.
  • Stuffed veggies: stuff bell peppers or hollowed out tomatoes.
  • On a green salad: top an Italian Salad or Antipasto Salad with tuna salad for extra protein and flavor.
  • As a pasta salad: mix into or top on Greek Pasta Salad.
  • On crackers: need a quick appetizer or lunch? Spoon on crackers.
  • On crostini: instead of crackers, use Homemade Crostini for bruschetta!
  • Lettuce wraps: serve as lettuce wraps alongside this amazing Egg Salad recipe.
  • Avocado boats: stuff avocado halves.

How Long Does It Last?

This tuna salad recipe is great made ahead. I recommend making it 1-2 days in advance, although you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

I don’t recommend freezing leftovers. It doesn’t thaw well!

More Salad Recipes You’ll Love!

BEST Tuna Salad Recipe (No Mayonnaise!)

For healthy lunch in a pinch, this tuna salad recipe is all you need! Loaded with crunchy veggies and dressed with fresh lemon and olive oil, you won’t miss mayonnaise for a second. Top on sandwiches, salads, lettuce wraps, and even crackers for a quick make-ahead appetizer or snack!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Lunch, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean
Keyword: spring, summer
Servings: 4 servings (about 1 cup each)
Calories: 290kcal
Author: Tastefully Grace

Ingredients

  • 4 cans tuna in olive oil I like yellowfin tuna
  • 2 medium celery stalks with leaves finely chopped
  • ½ medium red onion finely chopped
  • ½ English cucumber finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Add celery, onion and cucumber to a large bowl.
  • Drain cans of tuna, squeezing out as much of the canned olive oil as possible. Why do this? Adding fresh extra virgin olive oil to the tuna salad will taste so much better!
  • Scoop drained tuna into the bowl.
  • Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir until well-combined. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • Instead of an English cucumber, you can use 2 pickling cucumbers.
  • You will need 1-2 juicy lemons.
  • Want to make tuna sandwiches? You can make 4 large sandwiches with this recipe, with 1 cup of tuna salad on each sandwich. Dress up your sandwiches with 4 large bibb lettuce leaves.
  • While you can use the olive oil from the can instead of adding your own, trust me, fresh extra virgin olive oil tastes so much better! The olive oil in the can tastes old and fishy. I don’t recommend using water-packed tuna which isn’t as flavorful and moist.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 290kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 400mg | Potassium: 442mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 227IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
picture of grace eating

Never Miss A Recipe?

FREE SUBSCRIPTION: SIGN UP TO RECEIVE THE LATEST RECIPES FROM GRACE, PLUS SOME EXCLUSIVE UPDATES ONLY SHARED WITH SUBSCRIBERS!

We don’t spam! Read our Privacy Policy for more info.

Follow:
Share:

6 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    June 26, 2024 / 11:11 am

    5 stars
    I love tuna, and this tuna salad is healthy and so delicious too! I will be making this a lot over the summer!

    • June 26, 2024 / 11:31 am

      It’s such a great summer staple recipe, right? Thanks for your review!

      Grace

  2. Anonymous
    June 25, 2024 / 6:24 pm

    5 stars
    After trying this recipe I will NEVER go back to tuna with mayo. Not only is this a healthier alternative, but the flavor and texture are far superior.

    Delicious!!!

    • June 26, 2024 / 8:44 am

      I love this and totally agree! Thanks for your review and please do let me know if you try any other recipes 🙂

      Grace

  3. Anonymous
    June 25, 2024 / 3:51 pm

    5 stars
    I’ve been looking for a good no mayo tuna salad recipe and this is it! Thanks so much.

5 from 3 votes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




Featured On:


Looking for Something?