Make-Ahead Veggie-Packed Tuna Salad

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A veggie-packed tuna you can make in advance for a quick and healthy lunch.

What a week!

A week that definitely calls for kicking back this weekend, staying out of the kitchen, and enjoying the outdoors.

A veggie-packed tuna you can make in advance for a quick and healthy lunch.

On Monday, our family came down with a case of the sniffles. By Monday night, I had made a large bottle of elderberry syrup and four quarts of chicken broth, and purchased the largest bottle of vitamin C from the local health food store. There was no way that a full cold was going to take us down after only the second week of school.

As it turns out, a case of the sniffles wasn’t our biggest issue. The biggest issue was slowly brewing in the Gulf of Mexico…

A veggie-packed tuna you can make in advance for a quick and healthy lunch.

Our family currently lives in the thumb of Florida. If you look at a map of Florida, we’re the thumb that sticks out on the west coast. Hey!

We have gorgeous beaches, tropical heat waves, and hurricanes. Well, we haven’t actually had a hurricane hit us in a long time, but we usually get the outer rainbands of storms. On Wednesday, we met our hurricane match. A match named Hermine.

I didn’t even know there was a tropical storm brewing, that later turned into a hurricane, until Wednesday morning when I woke up to rain and complete darkness at 7am. The next three days turned into no-school-and-hurricane survival as Hermine decided to park her giant self right next to our county.

A veggie-packed tuna you can make in advance for a quick and healthy lunch.

For the first time in three days we’re finally seeing the sun! Yay! I honestly don’t know how my northern friends survive snow days. We’re definitely ready to bust out of the house and just sit outside in the warm sun this weekend. Which means that I don’t plan on spending much time in my kitchen.

A veggie-packed tuna you can make in advance for a quick and healthy lunch.

This morning, as I watched the sun come through my kitchen window, I prepped a large bowl of Make-Ahead Veggie-Packed Tuna Salad. This salad is the ultimate make-ahead kind of meal because it’s super versatile. We regularly enjoy this veggie-packed tuna salad on crackers (Jovial or Simple Mills brands), wrapped in collard greens or butter/romaine lettuce cups, as a sandwich, or on top of a green salad (like this weeknight salad).

Veggie-Packed Tuna Salad
5 from 1 vote
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Make-Ahead Veggie-Packed Tuna Salad

Servings 5 cups
Calories 397 kcal
Author Kristin Marr

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped bell pepper red, yellow, or green
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots I use the pre-shredded carrots from the store for this salad. If you don't have any shredded carrots use chopped carrots.
  • 1/3 cup quartered red radishes
  • 15 oz cannellini beans drained and rinsed, (1 can)
  • 10 oz skipjack tuna or albacore tuna, (2 cans)
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 TB dijon mustard
  • 1/4 lemon about 2 TB of lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place all the veggies (celery, red onion, bell pepper, carrots, and radishes) in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the veggies for about 5-10 seconds, just a few pulses, to finely chop the veggies.
  2. Add the beans, tuna, mayo, mustard, and lemon juice to the veggies, and pulse again for just a few seconds. The tuna salad should be slightly creamy, without being pureed. Do not puree! The goal is to chop the tuna and beans, not create baby food ;). Scrape the side of the food processor, if needed, in between the pulses. If you need to finish combining the mayo and mustard with the ingredients, gently stir the ingredients, once chopped.
  3. Add the salt and pepper, to taste. I like 1/2 teaspoon of each, but I recommend starting with 1/4 teaspoon and seasoning according to your taste preference. Stir in the fresh cilantro. If you're not a cilantro fan, try fresh dill or parsley.
  4. Store the tuna in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. We use this tuna to make sandwiches, wraps, served with crackers, or as a topping on a salad.

Ingredient Notes 

This recipe makes a creamy tuna salad. If you want a chunkier tuna salad, reduce the mayo, or skip the food processor and chop the ingredients.

I absolutely love to use cannellini beans in this recipe. They add a creamy texture, and extra protein and fiber. If you don’t want to use cannellini beans, try garbanzo beans, or skip the beans and use 1-2 additional cans of tuna. The hand-holding photo (above) features the tuna made with cannellini beans, and the plate and napkin photo (below) features the tuna made with garbanzo beans. If you’re using home-cooked beans, use 1 1/4 cups.

I purchase tuna from Costco (Wild Planet–which is available in many stores) and/or Trader Joe’s (look for the pole-caught skipjack tuna). I highly recommend using a tuna that’s been pole-caught and sustainably sourced.

Any veggies, which you can consume raw, may be used this recipe. Try creating your own veggie combos according to what’s on sale and in season. Avoid watery vegetables, like cucumbers.

There are a few great options for a real food mayonnaise. I use Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Mayo. Other great store-bought options include: Primal Kitchen Mayo and Sir Kensington’s Mayo. Most of these options may be found at health food stores or Costco (Chosen Foods). Another option is to make mayo at home.

A veggie-packed tuna you can make in advance for a quick and healthy lunch.

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