Simple, flavorful, affordable. Of course, there are a million ways to make tuna salad, but this one is our favorite. Yes, there’s a lot of mayo. If you’ve always wondered why delis and restaurants make better tuna salad than you, that’s why.
I created this recipe trying to copycat Panera’s tuna salad but I actually think it’s better. I make a batch every Sunday for lunch for myself 😊.
Tuna Salad with Relish and Dijon Mustard
- 2 cans tuna drained, 7 ounces each
- 2-3 tablespoons Dijon mustard adjust to taste
- 3 tablespoons dill relish
- ¾ cup mayonnaise Hellman's or Best
- salt and pepper to taste
- Make the dressing. Combine everything besides the tuna in a bowl. Stir until everything is well combined. The amount of mayonnaise can be adjusted based on your preference for creaminess.
- Add tuna. Add the drained, flaked tuna. Check for seasoning and adjust as needed.
- Chill and Serve. For the best flavor, you might want to chill the tuna salad in the refrigerator for a bit. Serve it as a sandwich, atop a salad, or with crackers.
The zesty relish and bold mustard transform simple tuna into a gourmet experience. It’s perfect for a quick yet satisfying meal.
🥣 important tools and ingredients
- Dijon Mustard. Dijon mustard is often found in the condiments aisle. It adds a unique tang and slight spiciness. It elevates the salad’s flavor profile.
- Dill Relish. Dill relish is near pickles and condiments. It contributes a crisp, tangy bite, balancing the creaminess of the mayonnaise.
- Mayonnaise. It provides the creamy base for the salad. Its quality can affect the texture and richness, so choose a good brand!
- Tuna (Canned). Quality canned tuna is key. If you can kind solid white albcore, that’s best. Solid light in okay too. Opting for tuna in water can ensure a lighter taste.
Of course, feel free to add anything you like.
- Mixing Bowl. A medium-sized mixing bowl is essential for combining the ingredients.
- Can Opener. You need a reliable can opener to open the cans of tuna.
- Measuring Spoons. Accurate measuring spoons are vital for measuring the Dijon mustard, relish, and mayonnaise. They ensure the right balance of flavors.
- Spatula or Mixing Spoon. You need a spatula or mixing spoon to stir the ingredients together. This ensures a consistent and well-blended salad.
- Refrigerator. It’s necessary to chill the tuna salad. Allowing it to cool enhances the flavors and texture.
- Serving Dish (optional). A nice serving dish is great for presentation if you’re serving the tuna salad at a gathering or for a special meal.
Now, let’s move on to some handy tips.
✨ Tips for the best salad
- Tuna Selection: Opt for tuna packed in water rather than oil for a lighter salad. The water-packed version absorbs the flavors of the relish and mustard.
- Dressing Consistency. If you prefer a lighter dressing, substitute part of the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt. It adds a tangy twist while cutting down on calories.
- Enhancing Flavors: Let the salad rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. This resting period allows the flavors to meld together, enhancing the taste.
- Texture Variation. Add a crunchy element like chopped celery or sliced almonds to the salad. This gives a pleasant contrast to the creamy texture.
- Serving Options. Also to sandwiches and salads, try serving the tuna salad in avocado halves. Or, serve it as a dip with whole grain crackers for a creative twist.
- Seasoning Tips: Adjust the salt and pepper only after adding the tuna. Canned tuna and relish already contain salt.
- Herbal Touch. Sprinkle fresh herbs like parsley or chives on top before serving. This adds a fresh flavor and appealing color.
- Quality of Ingredients. Use high-quality mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. Their flavors are prominent in the salad.
- Storage Know-How: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It’s best consumed within 2-3 days, as the flavor continues to develop.
🥫 Storage and make ahead instructions
Refrigeration: Place any leftover tuna salad in an airtight container. It’s best consumed within 3-4 days for optimal taste.
Freezing: Freezing is not recommended. Mayonnaise and relish can separate and change texture when frozen and thawed. This could affect the quality of the salad.
Safety Note: Never leave the tuna salad at room temperature for more than two hours. Bacteria grow at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, and the salad could become unsafe to eat.
Serving Again: When serving leftovers, always use a clean utensil to prevent contamination.
Can I use a different type of mustard instead of Dijon?
Yes, you can substitute Dijon mustard with other varieties. For a milder taste, use yellow mustard. For a more textured feel, try whole-grain mustard.
Is this tuna salad recipe healthy?
This recipe is high fat but low carb. I’ll let you have your own thoughts on how healthy it is! You can reduce fat if you use tuna packed in water and control the amount of mayonnaise. Tuna is a good source of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. For a healthier version, consider using Greek yogurt in place of some mayonnaise.
What are some serving suggestions for this tuna salad?
You can serve this tuna salad in lettuce wraps or as a filling for stuffed tomatoes. You can also serve it as a dip with whole-grain crackers or cucumber slices. Of course, you can still enjoy it in the traditional sandwich or atop a green salad.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes! Making this salad ahead of time allows the flavors to meld together. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and it should stay fresh for 3-4 days.
How can I make this recipe vegetarian?
For a vegetarian version, you can substitute tuna with chickpeas. Mash them and follow the rest of the recipe as is. The chickpeas offer a similar texture with a nutty flavor.
Can I add other vegetables to this tuna salad?
Yes, feel free to add chopped vegetables like cucumbers, bell peppers, or red onions. They will add extra crunch and flavor.
❤️ More cold salads you’ll love
In summertime, try to get into the habit of making a cold salad in the morning. Then, at dinnertime, make something quick on the grill and let everyone serve themselves.
Cucumber Chicken Salad: A refreshing and light salad, perfect for a summer day or a healthy lunch option. It combines the crispness of fresh cucumbers with filling chicken and acreamy dressing.
Simple Carrot Salad: This is a vibrant and crunchy salad with a light and slightly sweet flavor.
Cucumber and Tomato Salad: A classic salad that’s as simple as it is delicious, featuring ripe tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, and onions, all tossed with herbs and a zesty dressing. It’s a staple at picnics and pairs well with grilled meats.
Red Hot and Blue Potato Salad: A basic, creamy potato salad that everyone loves. Really!
Simple and affordable ingredients can make something good. You can whip it up for a quick lunch or serve it at a weekend gathering. This recipe is versatile, easy to adapt, and always satisfying. I hope this dish not only finds its way into your kitchen but also becomes a staple that you return to time and again.