A classic tuna salad with celery, purple onion, dill pickle, hard-boiled egg, and just the right amount of mayonnaise.
Growing up in Central Texas, summertime meant heading outdoors to a favorite swimming hole for the day. Mom always packed drinks, snacks and lunch. Most of our friends got bologna, turkey, or even PB&J, but our mom always made us Tuna Salad Sandwiches.
Classic Tuna Salad
After leaving for college, I realized that not all tuna salads were created equal. Most sandwich shops I have encountered serve a little tuna with a whole lotta mayo. Years later my mom's classic tuna salad continues to be a favorite lunch recipe that I now make for my own children.
In today’s post I’m going to talk about why you should incorporate seafood into your diet, including recommendations from the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and what tuna I typically buy for my family.
- Purple Onion
- Dill Pickles
- Hard Boiled Eggs
- Salt & Pepper
- Lemon Juice
- Tabasco Sauce or a dash of cayenne pepper or smoked paprika
- Celery, onion and pickles can be chopped in advance. Allow the hard-boiled eggs to cool before adding to the tuna.
- If the can of tuna has juice or liquid, be sure and drain it before adding to the veggie mixture.
- For the hot sauce, I use Tabasco. Tabasco Sauce can be substituted with a dash of paprika or cayenne pepper.
Storage: Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Best if eaten within 3 days.
Serving Ideas: Serve as a sandwich on whole grain bread, on a bed of lettuce or spring mix, or with crackers.
Tuna can be an affordable source of protein. If possible, choose a “light tuna” packed in water.
Many fish contain mercury. For women of child-bearing age, young children and consumers who frequently eat seafood it is important to choose fish lower in mercury. Tuna such as the Skipjack variety are smaller and therefore naturally contain lower levels of mercury.
Choosing Tuna Lower in Mercury
Look for words on the label like “canned light tuna” or “skipjack tuna”. Those are choices that have lower levels of mercury. Albacore tuna are larger and therefore have more mercury.
If you have more questions on mercury levels in tuna, the EPA and FDA has a great handout including best and good choices regarding mercury levels for pregnant women and children.
What type of onion is the best to use in tuna salad?
I prefer using a red or sometimes called purple onion. It adds some nice color and crunch to the tuna salad dish.
What tuna do you recommend?
Mom's Classic Tuna Salad
- 3 stalks Celery finely chopped
- ½ cup Purple Onion finely chopped
- ½ cup Dill Pickles diced
- 2-3 whole Hard Boiled Eggs diced
- 2 5 oz. cans Tuna packed in water, drained
- ⅓ cup Mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon Pepper
- ½ teaspoon Lemon Juice
- 3 dashes Hot Sauce
- Salt to taste
- Finely chop celery, purple onion, dill pickles, and hard boiled eggs. Combine in medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Drain and flake tuna. Add to chopped vegetable mixture.
- Add remaining ingredients and mix well. For best flavor, chill tuna salad for 1 hour before serving.
Serving Size: ½ cup | Calories 143 kcal | Protein 12.5 g | Carbohydrates 4 g | Fat 8 g | Sodium 380 mg
Seafood for Health
According to the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we should all aim to eat seafood twice per week. This includes children and pregnant women (1).
Seafood has important nutrients including protein, healthy fats, vitamin D and vitamin B12.
Enjoy. Y'all come back soon!
This recipe was originally published on May 24, 2014 on My Texas Kitchen. Updated in June 2021 with new photos and relevant text.
1. Home: Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Home | Dietary Guidelines for Americans. (n.d.). https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/.