by Olena

Healthy Tuna Salad

by Olena

4.9 from 27 reviews

Healthy Tuna Salad with less mayo that actually tastes good. It is creamy, fluffy and flavorful. Meal prep, refrigerate for up to 5 days and use for school and work lunches, cold dinner or easy weekend meal.

Other meal prep packed healthy salads we keep in the fridge on repeat are healthy chicken salad and healthy egg salad. Helps a lot with eating healthy. Enjoy!

healthy tuna salad sandwich on a plate with veggies

How to Make Tuna Salad

It took me a few years to come up with healthy tuna salad recipe I like. My kids love tuna salad, so I kept trying.

To be honest, I tried all healthy versions of tuna salad – with avocado and yogurt instead of mayo. Not the same.

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

This tuna salad is creamy, flavorful and is so convenient for a week of healthy lunches. Or during hot summer days.  healthy tuna salad in a bowl

Is Tuna Salad Healthy?

What is wrong with traditional tuna salad?

Probably 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 avocado oil one or organic in moderation is fine.

Also 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 other good news is that we don’t eat tuna salad even every week, so moderation is in check. Tuna is high in healthy Omega 3s and protein.

IMHO, healthy lifestyle is all about balance.

3 cans of tuna

Types of Canned Tuna

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.

Albacore tuna has less “fishy” taste and white “meaty” texture. 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.

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:

  1. Work with 1 can at a time.
  2. Get large bowl ready. I like glass one with a plastic lid.
  3. Open can of tuna completely.
  4. Holding onto lid, flip the can and drain into the sink while pressing hard on the lid.
  5. 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.

healthy tuna salad ingredients


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

  • Add desired amount of fresh curry powder for curried tuna salad.
  • Mix with cooked whole wheat macaroni pasta for healthy tuna pasta salad.
  • Love avocado? Substitute mayo with mashed avocado.
  • Add a few chopped hard boiled eggs – my fave too!
  • Make a lettuce wrap.
  • Make a sandwich with a few slices of cucumber – so good!

healthy tuna salad in a bowl

How Long Can You Refrigerate Tuna Salad?

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.

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.

More Healthy Protein Packed Salads


Healthy Tuna Salad

healthy tuna salad

4.9 from 27 reviews

Healthy Tuna Salad with less mayo that actually tastes good. It is creamy, fluffy and flavorful. Meal prep, refrigerate for up to 5 days and use for school and work lunches, cold dinner or easy weekend meal.

  • Author: Olena of
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: North American


  • 4 cans (6 oz each) 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)


  1. Drain cans with tuna well. I usually press onto the lid while pressing it.
  2. Transfer to a large bowl and separate into flakes with a fork.
  3. Add pickles, celery, red onion, garli, lemon juice, salt, pepper, yogurt and mayo.
  4. Stir well with a fork and refrigerate.
  5. Serve cold in a sandwich or over lettuce leaves.

Store: Refrigerate tightly covered for up to 5 days.


You can add curry powder to taste. Also feel free to mix in some cooked pasta for tuna pasta salad.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

73 comments on “Healthy Tuna Salad

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  1. Absolutely the best tuna salad we’ve ever had! Amazing flavour and oh so healthy. Stays super fresh in the fridge for days. Thanks so much for the recipe

  2. I followed the recipe exactly (with the exception of using non fat yogurt and reduced fat mayo with olive oil) and it was excellent! I’m so happy I found this. I am personally not a big fan of pickles, but it added a very subtle, enjoyable flavor. I also didn’t notice a yogurt flavor at all and it provided a good “binding” to the salad. I will be keeping this recipe and using it again. Thank you for sharing!

    For anyone interested, this made 28 total oz. for me, so I broke it down to 8, 3.5 oz. servings. The nutritional breakdown per serving (with the changes I made) were roughly: 94 Calories, 3 g Fat, 3 g Carbs, 14 g Protein, 345 mg Sodium.

    1. Hi Melissa. Using mostly plain greek yogurt is the healthier version of tuna salad. Traditionally, tuna salad is made with all mayo (not as healthy of a choice).

  3. Been craving tuna salad and I’m not a big may fan of mayo so this one was just right. Used light mayo and non fat Greek yogurt and it was very tasty/ Will definitely make again.

  4. I’m not a huge tuna fan but I’m trying to eat healthy after just having a baby. This will be a go to recipe. I’ve made it twice now. The first time I had it by itself on top of romaine leafs and the second time I put it on top of greens, quinoa, and tomatoes to make a salad. It’s delicious. The only substitution I made was the onions, I don’t like red so I used a couple green onions instead.

  5. Absolutely perfect. This tasted amazing on toasted sourdough bread and we are loving the TWO GOOD Plain Greek yogurt with 90 calories and 3 carbs per 3/4c serving. Once again the whole family loved it. We will never go back to mayonnaise for tuna salad. Thank you again Olena and staff for the delicious healthy recipes you provide.

  6. Absolutely delicious!
    I’m not a huge Tuna fan but this was crisp and crunchy.
    I added my cucumber straight into the salad and used tuna which was canned in a lemon vinaigrette along side a can with mixed tuna and jalapeños along with substituting the mayo for avocado.

      1. So delicious 😋
        Great dinner after my workout
        Absolutely u have to try it
        I add some Pickled Jalapeno Slices and some cherry tomatoes
        Absoulotly wonderful thank u

  7. Only using 4 stars because I didn’t make this exactly (I used garlic salt, no celery, relish instead of pickles, & I don’t like pepper). Other than that, this is a hit! If I had celery I would’ve used it as well as garlic but I utilized what I already had (I wanted a little sweetness so that is why I went with the relish as well)

  8. GREAT recipe! It will officially be added as one of my go-tos for a healthy snack or lunch prep. Thank you 🙂

  9. Love your blog. I use plain yogurt and one tablespoon of mayonnaise in tuna salad.
    Please share dishes from the Ukraine.

  10. I will definitely try this recipe. I was raised on tuna salad (1 can for a family of 4 on white bread). Is there a difference between salad dressing versus Mayo in terms of texture and calories? I really like the recommendation to use dill pickles. I have found using relish makes the tuna salad to wet or runny. Certainly not flaky.

    1. Hi Nerak. My recipe calls for using yogurt and a small amount of mayo. Mayo and salad dressing are not the same- very different ingredients. Hope that helps.

  11. Excellent! Very tasty! This healthier version of an old favorite is guilt free. I plan to make it often.

      1. Can I use mayo only, not crazy about yogurt, and it still be low calorie for losing weight?

        1. You can use all mayo but won’t be as low calorie as with yogurt. Try with yogurt and mayo like recipe calls for. That is why I add a bit of mayo so it doesn’t taste completely like yogurt tuna salad but is lighter. Give it a chance. 🙂

  12. I am so glad I found you! I don’t remember how, haaa. But I do know you are my kind of person. Looking forward to recipes and good food! Thank you!!! Evelyn K

  13. Very tasty. The garlic adds a nice touch without overpowering. I used some goat milk yougurt and added a little Dijon mustard. You can play with lots of variations.

  14. Loved all the flavors and how creamy it is … I added extra celery and onions only because we like veggies ❤️

  15. Love this recipe! I love to add a little dill seasoning and avocado to mine. This has become my go to tuna salad recipe.

  16. I found your recipe on Pinterest as I was looking for low carb meals. I‘ve always had it in my head that tuna salad is just tuna and too much mayo… Yuck. I don’t think I’ve had it since childhood. I love your recipe because I love veggies and seasonings, so now I’m thrilled to have a delicious light lunch that’s totally changed my perception of tuna salad! I was out of real garlic cloves so I substituted with garlic powder, and it’s still delicious.

  17. I tried this (with greek yogurt & mayo instead of just mayo like I usually would), but with pan fried tuna steaks. I also put more spices like paprika, chili powder, cayenne, parsley and dill but those are all preferences. I prefer it with the greek yogurt! Thanks for the recipe! 🙂

  18. I enjoyed reading your recipe you are a for real person telling us how it is. There are so many veggies my husband and I don’t like so this is very hard but I have to say your recipe looks delicious. Thanks

  19. Hi, your recipes look fantastic. I will be trying one of your quinoa salads tomorrow. Your tuna salad is very similar to my own except I skip the pickle and add chopped walnuts. I think you will like it with the walnuts. I usually eat it on apple slices.

  20. So good without all the calories and fat of the classic all mayo batch! I had mine as a lettuce wrap and the fam loved sandwiches. I’ll be adding it to the rotation.

  21. Sounds great! There is so much you can do to make tuna salad healthy! I need to try that avocado mayo – thanks! 🙂

  22. It is lovely recipe, I have tried few times. I stopped using mayonnaise because of the high fat content and substitute with hummus now. I also load it with many fresh veggies ? win-win.

  23. Your tuna salad sounds good. I like to use tuna packed in olive oil, it’s expensive, but worth it. I put a jar of it in the refrigerator along with a can of cannalini beans. I combine them with some good olives parsley, and whatever else strikes my fancy. I drain and rinsed the beans. I always drizzle a little more olive oil on it too. It is healthy and has lots of protein. It also keeps very well.

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