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5 Great Recipes for Canned Tuna

I love to cook and try new foods and recipes. I try to do my best to incorporate healthy foods, but sometimes I need a little comfort food.

Creative and Original Canned Tuna Recipes

How about we try some canned tuna recipes other than a tuna noodle casserole?

Let's discuss this versatile fish. The darker the canned tuna, the stronger the flavor tends to be. There also tends to be variations by brand. I find that Starkist has a stronger flavor than Bumblebee. It's up to you. Some people like a fishier taste than others. I would use a more pungent-flavored version if I was mixing it with something bland, like pasta.

I tried skipjack once. I found it to be the most pungent of the pungent. It is, however, a very sustainable fish and reproduces rapidly. It is also considered to have "moderate" amount of mercury.

I usually use Natural Sea albacore or tongol tuna. It is caught in the Pacific Ocean where, supposedly, there is less mercury in Pacific than Atlantic fish. Although there is supposed to be more mercury in albacore than skipjack. Natural Sea claims it is sustainably caught in the Pacific and is dolphin and marine mammal safe.

When I can find it, I get tongol tuna. It tastes great and is supposed to be lower in mercury. I look for brands who label their products as sustainable and line caught—not endangering dolphins.

Creamed Tuna on Toast

Creamed Tuna on Toast

Creamed Tuna

My mother used to make this for me for lunch when I was a child. It's quick and easy, and the cream sauce is a simple béchamel sauce.

Prep timeReady inYields

30 min

30 min



  • 4 pieces of toast.
  • 5 ounce can of tuna
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 3 Tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 3 Tablespoons of flour
  • 1 cup of milk (regular or soy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon Sherry or Port - regular or cooking (optional)


  1. Melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour slowly and continue stirring over low heat. Stir the cup of milk in very slowly. Stir constantly until the mixture becomes thick and smooth.
  2. Add the tuna, flaking it apart and also the peas. If you used a mild tuna, you might want to add salt. If you used a more pungent one, you might have more than enough flavor.
  3. For a little extra flavor add the tablespoon of sherry or port and let it cook 30 seconds more to burn off the alcohol content. Spoon over toast.
  4. Other options are: to spoon it over biscuits, English muffins or puff pastry.
  5. Variation: Use pieces of sweet roasted red pepper instead of peas.

Curried Creamed Tuna - Serve Over Rice

This recipe is just a slight variation of the above recipe. If you have mastered the above, this is simple.

For the milk, you can use regular or soy. I use almond milk; it adds a subtle sweetness that adds to the exoticness of the dish.

Try substituting coconut oil for the butter or margarine. It will add an extra smoothness, and a subtle coconut flavor. That, and it is very healthful.

Prep timeReady inYields

30 min

30 min



  • 2 servings of cooked rice
  • 5 or 6 ounce can of tuna
  • 3 Tablespoons of butter, margarine or coconut oil
  • 3 Tablespoons of flour
  • 1 cup of milk (regular or soy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon curry
  • 3/4 cup mandarin orange sections


  1. Melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour slowly and continue stirring over low heat. Stir the cup of milk in very slowly. Stir constantly until the mixture becomes thick and smooth. Add the curry. You might want to taste it. If you are fond of curry you might want to add more.
  2. Add the tuna . If you used a mild tuna, you might want to add salt. If you used a more pungent one, you might have more than enough flavor.
  3. Take it off the heat and stir in the mandarin oranges. Spoon over rice.

Curried Tuna Salad Recipe

Cool and creamy, with a savory little crunch and spice.

Prep timeReady inYields

20 min

20 min



  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 5 or 6 oz can of tuna drained and flaked
  • 6 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 3/4 cup mandarin orange pieces


  1. Mix the first 5 ingredients together thoroughly. Then, gently stir in the mandarin orange slices.
  2. Serve on a bed of greens.

Waldorf Salad With Tuna

This is a nice refreshing salad.

If you like, you may use your favorite Waldorf Salad recipe and just add tuna. Or you can use my recipe.

Prep timeReady inYields

20 min

20 min



  • 1 cup diced apples
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 3/4 cup mayonaise or Veganaise
  • 5 or 6 ounce can of tuna


  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Chill well. Serve.

Tuna, Black Olives and Shells Salad - A Different Twist on Tuna and/or Macaroni Salad.

I used to have a "friend" named Gayle, she stole or tried to steal every man I ever dated. In her favor, she gave me this delicious recipe. Thank you Gayle, 30 years later, I still enjoy the recipe—it's forever, the men were fleeting.

Somehow the combination of the texture and taste of the black olice slices is just right with the small shell macaroni. I have tried it with other shaped pasta, but it just isn't right. I used whole wheat, but you could use regular (good old Gayle always did). They taste better if they are al dente—not overcook.

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

15 min

45 min

1 hour

3 to 4


  • 1 5 or 6 oz can of tuna (drained)
  • 3 cups cooked small pasta shells
  • 2.5 oz can sliced black olives (drained)
  • 1/2 cup mayonaise


  1. Put the pasta in a bowl. With a fork break up the tuna in the can, so it is flakey. Add it to the shells, add the olives and mayonnaise. Stir gently so as not to break the shells. Refrigerate for an hour. Serve cold.
Red Kidney Bean and Tuna Salad

Red Kidney Bean and Tuna Salad

Red Kidney Bean and Tuna Salad

This salad is high in protein from both the tuna and the beans. The beans and celery provide fiber.

It has a little different "chew" to it. The beans have an interesting texture and I always cook the pasta al dente. For the recipe shown here, I used whole wheat elbows.

I prefer elbows over any other shaped pasta for this recipe.

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

1 hour 20 min

1 hour 30 min



  • 3 cups cooked elbow macaroni
  • 5 or 6 oz can of tuna flaked
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 15 oz can of red kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise or vegannaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed


  1. Drain the cooked elbows well. Place in a large bowl. Add the celery. Flake the tuna in the can with a fork and add it to the bowl. Add the drained and washed kidney beans. Add the mayonnaise and the celery seed. Mix gently and chill for an hour.
  2. See step by step photos below.
  3. Hint: To get the gel like sauce off of the kidney beans, I put them in a colander and rinse under running water.

Additional Tuna Information

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Ellen Gregory

Do you ever make meals or side dishes with tuna?

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 31, 2019:

We always keep canned tuna in our pantry. It is so versatile as you have readily shown with your recipes. Thanks for more ideas.

Elyn MacInnis from Shanghai, China on July 22, 2014:

I LOVE creamed tuna on toast. My Mom used to make it too.

Merry Citarella from Oregon's Southern Coast on March 17, 2014:

Definitely! I love tuna casserole, though I'm the only one in the family who does. I even enjoy it on crackers. The recipe with the beans is one I will definitely try. Thanks for putting this together!

Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on February 24, 2014:

At home, we simply mix canned tuna with mayo and a dash of sugar. We eat it as filling for our sandwiches.

Renaissance Woman from Colorado on February 23, 2014:

That tuna and kidney bean salad is calling my name. I had forgotten about creamed tuna on toast. That sounds really good right about now. Thanks for helping me expand my tuna menu options. I was stuck in a rut.

sybil watson on November 16, 2013:

I used to love my mom's creamed tuna on toast - I'd forgotten all about it. It was so warm and comforting. You have a lot of great ideas on this page - I'll definitely be back.

anonymous on November 16, 2013:

Are you kidding me? I've been on such a tight budget lately, tuna has been my go-to meal. I just open a can, drain it, and toss it on a bed of lettuce and tomato. Sometimes I'll add a few croutons. I tend to stock up on it when it's on sale. I only buy albacore tuna because I love the taste and texture. Bumblebee albacore tuna is my go-to brand. I gave up on Starkist because it's too shredded and there's too much liquid in the can.

Your Waldorf Salad with Tuna recipe looks good. Think I'll give it a try. Thanks for sharing.

Sara2901 on November 08, 2013:

Yes. I add it to my salad for quick protein rich dinner.

nonya222 on September 28, 2013:

I love tuna but needed new ways to use it. Got my wish with the red kidney bean and tuna salad. Can't wait to try it.

Pat Goltz on July 28, 2013:

All the time, I make tuna dishes. It looks like one of them is essentially Chicken a la King, with tuna instead. I will want to try that one, because I like Chicken a la King, but they put monosodium glutamate in it, which I can't eat.

Erin Mellor from Europe on June 29, 2013:

I have crazes on tuna and eat lots, then stop for months. I like it in omelets for a quick, filling lunch.

noner on June 05, 2013:

I'm pretty simple when it comes to tuna. I will mix some mayo in and make a sandwitch, or add a can of tuna to a pre-packaged alfredo pasta mix. That's about it.

Melissa Miotke from Arizona on January 28, 2013:

The curried tuna sounds really good!

theallin1writer on November 01, 2012:

I love tuna but I sometimes get stuck on doing the same recipe with it over and over. Refreshing lens, I am going to try one of these!

casquid on October 17, 2012:

I sure do, and intend to use your Curried Tuna recipe soon! Thanks!!

GeekGirl1 on July 19, 2012:

Thanks for the recipes. I am drying to try all of these since it all sound simple and delicious.

Ellen Gregory (author) from Connecticut, USA on June 29, 2012:

@Bellezza-Decor: They are good summer dishes -- or to serve at an outdoor cookout. Hope you enjoy them.

Bellezza-Decor from Canada on June 28, 2012:

I've bookmark you because I would like to try out the Tuna Waldorf Salad and the one with Black Olives.

dave-sutton on June 18, 2012:

Almost a good a spam. I love tuna

Heidi from Benson, IL on June 16, 2012:

Those look yummy. I might have to try some of these recipes next time I get hold of some cans of tuna.

Heidi from Benson, IL on June 16, 2012:

Those look yummy. I might have to try some of these recipes next time I get hold of some cans of tuna.

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on June 14, 2012:

Wow! Thanks for all of the great tuna recipes!

OrganicMom247 on June 07, 2012:

These are definitely something I haven't tried but would love to.

Ellen Gregory (author) from Connecticut, USA on June 07, 2012:

@sherioz: You are a women after my own heart. You cook the way that I do. A happy cook is a good cook.

sherioz on June 07, 2012:

I was going to look at one of your several vintage lenses (being a collector myself), but then the title of this one caught my eye. I love tuna and I love your suggestions here. I didn't get farther than the sherry in the first recipe - going to pour myself a glass now and relax and bookmark this lens for future reference.

June Campbell from North Vancouver, BC, Canada on June 01, 2012:

I confess to being a very big tuna fan. I have used it in lots of ways. Too bad about the high mercury content now. It makes me limit the amount of tuna I eat.

jlshernandez on May 30, 2012:

Tuna salads are one of my favorites with chopped celery for that extra crunch. Thanks for sharing the different recipes. I should test them out.

mrsclaus411 on May 30, 2012:

I love this. I'm going to try out your recipes. I love eating tuna but I would also like a little variety aside from the ones I usually make.

Mary from Chicago area on May 21, 2012:

I love the olive/shells salad idea, despite its origins with your frenemy Gayle! Bet you could add some chopped herbs to that, maybe a little fresh ground pepper - mmm. Very nicely done lens -- *blessed*

Spiderlily321 on May 14, 2012:

I also love tuna. These recipes you talked about sound so good.

I sometimes put corn, mayo, a little bit of shredded cheese, jalapenos, a little bit of diced tomatoes.

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