This flavorful, healthy tuna salad recipe leaves out the traditional mayonnaise and instead uses dijon mustard, lemon juice, and olive oil. You can make this tuna salad creamy with Greek yogurt, or keep it dairy free!
Why You'll Love This Dish
You won't miss the mayo! Whether you love it or hate it, the mayonnaise won't be missed here. This light and refreshing tuna salad is full of flavor, with rich olive oil, bright lemon juice, and fresh herbs. If you haven't tried lemon tuna salad before, I think you're going to like it!
You have the option to make it creamy with a bit of Greek yogurt instead of using mayo.
It's adaptable. You can use this tuna salad as the base of different flavor profiles. Make a Mediterranean tuna salad by adding olives or artichoke hearts, Moroccan by adding a little harissa paste, or Italian with a bit of torn basil.
It's versatile. Serve it in your favorite sandwich, over a bed of lettuce, on crackers, in lettuce wraps, or have a small bowl as a snack.
It's great to add to a bowl of grains with some dressed greens or cucumbers. I like to have a scoop of tuna salad with some crudités: sliced celery, green and red bell pepper, carrots, radishes. It's a great recipe for a light, healthy lunch!
It's quick and super easy to make. Ready in less than 10 minutes, this no-mayo tuna salad will help you have a delicious, healthy meal with a good source of protein on the table quickly. I hope you love this tuna salad as much as I do!
What You'll Need
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- Canned Tuna Oil-packed or water-packed tuna is fine here. A good quality tuna will shine, but anything you have on hand will be great. I personally like the solid white albacore tuna packed in oil. There are some wonderful Italian brands, like Tonnino.
- Olive Oil This is my personal favorite brand.
- Lemon Juice If you can't find fresh lemons, this bottled lemon juice will work just fine.
- Red Onion A sweet onion would work well, too.
- Fresh Parsley
- Fresh Dill I would not substitute with dried for either herb, but you can use just one (parsley or dill) if you'd like.
- Kosher Salt and Pepper This is my favorite brand of kosher salt.
- Greek Yogurt I would only use Greek yogurt here, not regular yogurt. They have distinctly different flavors.
- Dijon Mustard If you aren't a mustard fan, just omit this.
- Cornichons These are those adorable baby pickles, You could also chop a bit of regular pickle if you prefer.
How to Prepare Tuna Salad Without Mayonnaise
Step One: Thinly slice the onion. Drizzle over the lemon juice and let sit a few minutes to absorb the flavor.
Step Two: Pick the herbs from their hard stem. Chop roughly or tear into small pieces. Finely chop the celery.
Step Three: Add the tuna, olive oil, celery, herbs, dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the Greek yogurt if using.
Step Four Mix together well and taste for seasoning. If adding the capers or cornichons, sprinkle them over the top before serving.
Creamy As explained above, you can have a more classic tuna salad creaminess by adding Greek yogurt.
Mediterranean Add some olives or artichoke hearts to your finished tuna salad.
Spicy Add chili flake, chopped hot peppers like jalapeno, or pickled peppers for a bit of zest.
How to Store
This tuna salad is best stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 to 5 days.
Be sure to move to the fridge within 2 hours.
I do not recommend you freeze tuna salad.
If you want to mimic the creaminess of mayonnaise, I recommend using Greek yogurt. However, tuna is also delicious with just a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice.
It can be. High in protein and low in calories and carbs, tuna is a great source of fuel for your body. Ready more about the health benefits of tuna here.
Outside of the greek yogurt and olive oil and lemon mentioned above, some of the best things to add to canned tuna are fresh herbs, bright, pickled things like cornichons, capers, or pickled peppers, lots of cracked black pepper, and a bit of dijon mustard.
How to Serve Tuna Salad
Make tuna salad for...
- Tuna Melts
- Lettuce Wraps
- Grain Bowls
- Tuna Stuffed Peppers (so good, trust me!)
- Snack with Crudités
- Find the flavor combinations that work best for you. If you want a simple tuna salad with no frills or herbs or lemon, it's your salad - enjoy it how you like it!
- Taste as you go. No need to serve up your tuna only to find it's bland and needs more salt.
- If anything seems off balance, try adding more of the other ingredients to even out the flavor. If it's too creamy, add more acidic ingredients, like capers or dijon. If it's dry, add some olive oil.
Other Recipes You'll Love
If you're in the mood for more easy lunch recipes, try these:
- Mediterranean Grain Bowls
- Orzo Pesto Salad
- Beet and Cucumber Salad with Feta and Dill
- Arugula Caprese Salad
- Burrata Salad with Balsamic Glaze
- Turkey Avocado Sandwich
- Side Salad
- Arugula Salad
- Sesame Noodles
- Halloumi Tacos
Healthy Tuna Salad without Mayo
- 2 cans tuna 5 ounces each, oil-packed or water-packed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- ¼ cup red onion sliced thin, about ¼ of an onion
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice or to taste
- 2 stalks celery finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh dill picked from the hard stem and roughly chopped or torn into pieces
- ¼ cup fresh parsley picked from the hard stem and roughly chopped or torn into pieces
- kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt or to taste
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard optional
- 2 tablespoons capers or chopped cornichons
- Add the onion to a bowl and drizzle the lemon juice over. Let sit for a few minutes to let the flavor absorb.
- Add the tuna, celery, olive oil, herbs, dijon, salt and pepper, and Greek yogurt if using, to the bowl. Mix thoroughly and taste for seasoning.
- If using capers or cornichons, sprinkle over the top of the finished tuna salad. Serve.
- 1 can of tuna can be used for 1 to 2 people, depending on appetites.
- Approximate calories are based on half of a can of tuna per person and include the option for Greek yogurt, dijon, and capers.
- This tuna salad is best stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 to 5 days.
- Be sure to move to the fridge within 2 hours.
- I do not recommend you freeze tuna salad.