It is really sad that tuna gets such a bad rap when in reality, it’s a great source of protein packed with minerals your body needs. Canned tuna not only contains selenium, an antioxidant that can help protect your cells from damage, but it also contains potassium, which helps keep your heart and kidneys healthy. Plus, it’s a great canvas for any flavor combination your heart desires. Depending on what recipe you choose, you’ll want to know the difference in variations, since each has its own flavor profile and texture. I tend to lean toward two varieties: solid white albacore packed in water and an Italian version that contains packed light tuna in olive oil.
If you buy the variety packed in water like the albacore tuna above, it tastes incredibly light. The tuna is a tad more chunky and firm than its lower quality counterpart, so it’s great for mayo flavored salads since it won’t fall apart as easily. Plus, you can really expand your horizons by experimenting with seasonings since it’s basically a blank slate for any combination of flavors. Tuna packed in olive oil is my absolute favorite because of its fruity accents and mild flavor. It’s a tad saltier than its albacore cousin, but not enough to overwhelm your palate.
For lunch last week, I wanted something with a little staying power since I would only have one day to prep my lunches. I decided to play around with tuna salad, but couldn’t decide what flavor combination would keep me entertained for days. I looked to my fridge for some inspiration and after spotting some frozen mango, I knew exactly where I wanted this salad to go.
I drained the tuna and flaked it gently into a large bowl. After dicing up the frozen mango, I grabbed an orange bell pepper and cubed it into equally small cubes and tossed them alongside the flaky fish. For a little green color and plant-protein boost, I added a handful of thawed edamame beans and got to work on the sauce. Since I had plans to play around with curry, I wanted the dressing to be creamy but certainly not heavy. To avoid a sauce packed with saturated fat, I opted to make the base out of greek yogurt and flavored it with a tiny bit of mayonaise and a little dijon mustard for bite. Next, I added a good dose of curry powder (you can opt to add less) and a sprinkle of smoked paprika. For a touch of sweetness and a little bite, I rounded the recipe out with some honey and lemon juice. Mixed together, the sauce is an explosion of spices the minute it hits your palate and rounds nicely ending with smoky, sweet notes.
I enjoyed mine over crusty bread the first serving, then atop a green salad for the next. To mix it up on the third day, I chose to use some wheat thins for a fun, utensil-free meal. Just dip, scoop and enjoy!
Curry Mango Tuna Salad
2 five ounce cans of tuna (I used one albacore in water and one soaked in olive oil)
1 orange bell pepper, diced into 1/2 in cubes
1/2 cup frozen mango, thawed and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 cup frozen edamame, thawed
2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
1 tablespoon mayo
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
cracked black pepper
Drain both cans of tuna thoroughly. Flake tuna into the bottom of a large bowl. Add the diced orange pepper, mango and edamame to the bowl and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk yogurt, mayo, mustard, honey and fresh lemon juice. Add paprika, curry powder, salt and pepper and whisk again. Pour over tuna and vegetable mixture. Using a large spatula, gently mix until the ingredients are evenly distributed and well dressed. Taste to season. Serve immediately alongside crunchy bread or atop a green salad. The tuna salad will keep for up to 3 days chilled in an airtight container.