That pale tuna salad dripping with mayo that we grew up eating? Let’s be honest: It’s not fun. When a tuna salad is overdressed, it turns into sad, soggy, oatmeal-looking mush that tastes like too much mayo.
This chunky tuna salad promises a better way. Canned tuna, but drained and flaked with the reverence it deserves. Sweet red onions with crunchy celery, capers for a briny tang, Dijon mustard to wake up the flavors. Just enough mayo to bind everything together without waterboarding the tuna. The result? A tuna salad that’s vibrant, full of flavor, and a joy to eat—no wet, soggy bread in sight.
This recipe doubles (or triples) wonderfully, making it a winner for lunch prep and hearty meriendas.
- 2 185g-cans premium tuna chunks, packed in oil or brine
- ¼ cup mayonnaise, preferably Kewpie
- 1 small red onion, minced
- ¼ cup minced celery
- 2 tbsp capers
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
Make tuna salad: Drain canned tuna through a fine-mesh strainer. Add drained tuna to a mixing bowl with mayonnaise, red onions, celery, capers, and mustard. Mix everything with a fork until tuna is evenly coated but not soggy, and fish has broken up to your desired chunkiness. Add olive oil in small quantities, folding it in after every addition, to help it emulsify into the mixture.
Season with salt and black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. For extra zest, drizzle in some of the brine (about a teaspoon) from the capers.
Cover and store in the fridge overnight—this helps the flavors meld better.
Serve: To serve, Cody personally likes an open-faced sandwich: thickly sliced bread with cold tuna salad spread on top. If you like texture, use crusty bread that’s been lightly toasted. For something like your mom would make, smoosh the tuna salad between slices of white bread; keep or trim the edges as you like.