by Olena

Healthy Tuna Salad

Olena's image
Olena Osipov
4.9 from 41 votes

This post contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy.

Less mayo Healthy Tuna Salad has fewer calories and fat but actually tastes good! It’s made with simple ingredients and turns out creamy, fluffy and flavorful. Serve it sandwich style or over a bed of fresh greens for a light lunch, cold dinner or easy weekend meal. Perfect for school and work lunch meal prep and stays fresh for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Other meal prep healthy salads we keep in the fridge on repeat are chicken salad, egg salad and chickpea salad. It helps to be prepared when eating healthy.

healthy tuna salad sandwich on a plate with veggies

Easy and Healthy Tuna Salad

It took me a few years to come up with healthy tuna salad recipe I like. I am more of a salmon salad girl but my kids love tuna salad, so I kept trying.

My passion for salads runs deep. But to be honest, I tried all healthy versions of tuna salad – with avocado, and with yogurt instead of mayo. Not the same although I do quite love avocado egg salad. Just not with tuna.

I already struggle with the whole concept of “tasty tuna salad”, so it took a few tries to come up with what I consider a healthy tuna salad that is healthy yet tastes great. I am finally happy to share the best healthy tuna salad recipe I can eat too haha. There just has to be a touch of mayo. The end.

Why This Healthy Tuna Salad Recipe Works?

This tuna salad recipe is quick and easy and also good for you!

Creamy from Greek yogurt with a touch of mayo.
Flavorful from dill pickles and garlic with a hint of tang from lemon or vinegar.
Crunchy from raw vegetables such as celery and red onion.
Convenient to meal prep for a week of lunches.
Quick and easy for a quick dinner during hot summer days.

Healthy Tuna Salad vs.Traditional Tuna Salad

Is a tuna salad healthy? If I could have a penny for every time I have been asked that question!

Traditional tuna salad has 1 cup of mayo that adds over 1600 calories and 24 grams of fat. I’m not here to tell you mayo is bad. Quality mayo like an avocado oil one or organic mayo in moderation is fine. This healthy tuna salad uses a touch of mayo combined with greek yogurt, you still get amazing taste but at a fraction of the calories and fat.

Another healthy consideration is that there is mercury in tuna. Yes, there is. Especially in albacore tuna – 3 times more than other varieties. But good news is that albacore tuna is more expensive, so I don’t buy it and you don’t need it for this healthy tuna salad recipe. And other good news is that we don’t eat tuna salad even every week, so moderation is in check. Healthy tuna recipes are high in healthy Omega 3s and protein.

#olenafact: A healthy lifestyle is all about balance and can include healthy tuna salad.

healthy tuna salad in a bowl

Ingredients for Tuna Salad Recipe

Healthy tuna salad recipe only takes 15 minutes of prep time. Simply mix the tuna salad ingredients, then place in the refrigerator to chill.

  • Canned tuna: I buy canned tuna packed in water. Open, drain and you are ready to use it in this healthy tuna salad with greek yogurt. See more information below on types of canned tuna and how to drain it.
  • Mayo + plain Greek yogurt: The best combination to get that ‘traditional’ tuna salad taste but with less calories. Use a mayo made with avocado oil and Greek yogurt with at least 2% fat for the tastiest healthy tuna salad results.
  • Dill pickles: Add a briny taste with sweet and sour notes that really make this tuna recipe outstanding.
  • Celery and red onion: Add crunch with bold earthy and sweet taste.
  • Fresh garlic: Because garlic is always a must in any dish, hands down.
  • Lemon juice: Adds tang and brightness.
  • Salt and pepper: To season, adjust as needed.

How to Make Tuna Salad

This healthy tuna recipe turns out delicious every time, and no matter how you choose to mix it, it is a satisfying meal idea you can easily whip up with some simple pantry and fridge ingredients.

First, let’s go over some basics on types of canned tuna and then 2nd, how to drain / flake tuna for salad and last how to put it all together for a healthy tuna recipe.

Types of Canned Tuna for Healthy Tuna Recipes

Canned tuna divides into 2 main categories:

  • Packed in oil and
  • Packed in water.

I buy canned tuna packed in water. I do not see a need for extra oil as we drain it anyways.

Then pick from based on your budget:

  • Albacore tuna has less “fishy” taste and white “meaty” texture or
  • Yellowfin/skipjack/light tuna is tan to pink in colour and has more strong fish taste.

Lastly, the texture. I always buy chunky one vs. whole because it’s cheaper.

How to Drain and Flake Canned Tuna

Draining and flaking canned tuna properly is “a life skill”. You do not want watery or not fluffy tuna salad.

Here is how I open, drain and flake tuna salad:

  • Prep: Get large bowl ready. I like glass one with a plastic lid. Work with 1 can at a time. Open can of tuna completely.
  • Drain until dry: Holding onto lid, flip the can and drain into the sink while pressing hard on the lid.
  • Flake: Using a fork, remove tuna from a can into a bowl and flake.

You can also add all 4 cans into a bowl and flake with a hand mixer.

Now it’s time to put your healthy tuna salad recipe together!

  • Add to your bowl with tuna the pickles, celery, red onion, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, yogurt and mayo.
  • Stir well with a fork and refrigerate.

Variations for Tuna Salad Recipe

Cold healthy tuna salad over a sourdough rye bread toast, tuna melt and zucchini fritter with tuna has grown on me a lot. Here are a few variations I also tried:

  • Curried tuna salad: Add desired amount of fresh curry powder for curried tuna salad. I used the same yellow curry powder I make chicken curry with and salad turns out so flavorful!
  • Pasta tuna salad: Mix with cooked whole wheat macaroni pasta for healthy tuna pasta salad.
  • Avocado: Love avocado? Substitute mayo with mashed avocado.
  • Egg: Add a few chopped hard boiled eggs – my fave too!

Serving Recommendations

Tuna salad may have salad in its name, but it can be enjoyed in so many more ways.

  • Low carb meal: Swap out the chicken for tuna salad and make a lettuce wrap.
  • Tuna sandwich: Make a sandwich with a few slices of cucumber – so good! Or go diner style and grill with a slice of cheese for a tuna melt.
  • Soup and salad: A classic combination with lentil soup or vegetable soup.
  • Breakfast or lunch toast: Top your whole grain bread with tuna salad for a healthy meal of fiber, fat and protein! Or make tuna avocado toast by smashing an avocado on toast and topping it with a scoop of this healthy tuna recipe.
  • In an avocado: Scoop out the avocado seed and fill the empty space with tuna salad! A restaurant quality healthy lunch.
  • Over fresh greens: A classic way to enjoy tuna salad and chicken salad too.
  • As a side to: Roasted asparagus, garlic green beans or any healthy side dish.
  • With crackers or pita chips: Choose some healthier prepackaged snack crackers such as organic Triscuits or sweet potato crackers.
healthy tuna salad served on toast with cucumbers

FAQs

Is tuna salad healthy?

Tuna in itself contains many healthy benefits. It is an inexpensive source of protein, low fat and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fats are beneficial for heart, eye and brain health.

When tuna is turned into the traditional salad we think of when we hear ‘tuna salad’ it contains a hefty amount of mayo which contributes to its higher calorie and fat content. This recipe for healthy tuna salad has only a touch of mayo combined with healthier Greek yogurt meaning you can enjoy this as an occasional meal. See recipe card for full nutritional information.

Can I make this tuna salad recipe without mayo?

Certainly, you can use all Greek yogurt in place of the mayo. The touch of mayo adds that traditional mayo taste, but feel free to make your own version of healthy tuna salad without mayo.

How long can you refrigerate tuna salad?

Tuna salad is good for up to 5 days which makes it a great option for lunch meal prep. Remember to cover the container you are storing it in so it stays fresh!

How many calories are there in tuna salad?

A 1/2 cup serving of traditional tuna salad contains approximately 230+ calories and 18+ grams of fat (this could vary on what you use in your tuna recipe). This healthified version in comparison contains 110 calories and 5 grams of fat! Hands down, I will take this healthy tuna recipe over the other any day.

Making Tuna Salad Recipe in Advance

Make Ahead: Tuna salad tastes best cold. After making one, let your healthy tuna salad sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and you will see what I mean.

Store: Here is the best part – tuna salad can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. It is perfect for meal prep – school and work lunches, cold summer dinner, weekend easy lunch. I like to make tuna salad in a large Pyrex glass bowl, then just pop a lid on and refrigerate.

Tuna salad has really grown on me. It is not something I ate growing up in Ukraine but tastes evolve!

More Healthy Seafood Recipes

healthy tuna salad in a bowl
Healthy Tuna Salad

Healthy Tuna Salad {That Tastes Good!}

Less mayo Healthy Tuna Salad has fewer calories and fat but actually tastes good! It's made with simple ingredients and turns out creamy, fluffy and flavorful. Serve it sandwich style or over a bed of fresh greens for a light lunch, cold dinner or easy weekend meal. Perfect for school and work lunch meal prep and stays fresh for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
4.93 from 41 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: North American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 110kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 4 x 6 oz cans tuna packed in water
  • 2 small dill pickles diced
  • 1 large celery rib diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion minced
  • 1 garlic clove grated
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2%+ fat
  • 1/4 cup mayo I use avocado oil one

Instructions

  • Drain cans with tuna well. I usually press hard onto the lid while draining the can completely.
    Healthy Tuna Salad
  • Transfer to a large bowl and separate into flakes with a fork.
    Healthy Tuna Salad
  • Add pickles, celery, red onion, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, yogurt and mayo.
    Healthy Tuna Salad
  • Stir well with a fork and refrigerate.
    Healthy Tuna Salad
  • Serve cold in a sandwich or over lettuce leaves.
    Healthy Tuna Salad

Make Ahead: Tuna salad tastes best cold. For best results, refrigerate 30 minutes before eating.

    Store: Refrigerate tightly covered for up to 5 days.

      Video

      Notes

      • What canned tuna to buy? I buy canned light tuna packed in water. Albacore tuna has less “fishy” taste and white “meaty” texture or yellowfin/skipjack/light tuna is tan to pink in colour and has more strong fish taste. I always buy chunky one vs. whole because it’s cheaper.
      • Curried tuna salad: Add desired amount of fresh curry powder for curried tuna salad.
      • Pasta tuna salad: Mix with cooked whole wheat macaroni pasta for healthy tuna pasta salad.
      • Avocado: Love avocado? Substitute mayo with mashed avocado.
      • Egg: Add a few chopped hard boiled eggs – my fave too!
      • Low carb meal: Make a lettuce wrap.
      • Tuna sandwich: Make a sandwich with a few slices of cucumber – so good!

      Nutrition

      Calories: 110kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 384mg | Potassium: 171mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 81IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg
      Join today and start saving your favorite recipes

      Recipes and images are a copyright of ifoodreal.com. It is against the law to republish recipes anywhere including social media, print and all world wide web. Nutritional info is provided for informational purposes only and to the best knowledge.

      Did you try this recipe?

      Follow @ifoodreal on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #ifoodreal. Show me what you are making!

      olena osipov in the studio

      Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

      My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

      The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease. You assume full responsibility and liability for your own actions.

      This page may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy. ifoodreal.com is a participant of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. It helps keep iFOODreal recipes free. Thanks for your support!