Sayonara boring, bland tuna salad! This sushi roll inspired, no-mayo spicy tuna salad with avocado chunks and crispy seaweed chips is full of bold, Asian flavors and makes for a quick and delicious meal or snack.
Far from the boring, bland, mayo-saturated tuna salad that may have haunted you as a child (or is that just me?), this sushi-roll inspired tuna salad recipe will quickly become your new favorite summertime staple.
It’s a breeze to throw together, which is why when it comes to simple, versatile summer fare, I find that few things top my list as much as a solid tuna salad recipe.
Canned tuna may not be the most glamorous pantry staple, but it really does have a lot going for it.
For one, I love that it’s super low maintenance (read: it doesn’t have to be refrigerated making it easy to keep on hand for lunchtime emergencies).
It’s an excellent source of protein and vitamins A and D, as well as crazy versatile.
Seriously there are never ending options when it comes to tuna salad recipes.
And for the record, I’m not talking about the boring, bland, mayo-saturated tubs of tuna salad lurking behind the deli counter of most sandwich shops or in the ready-made foods section of your local grocery (i.e. full of what’s surely farm-raised fish and hydrogenated oils).
I’m talking about fresh-made tuna salad recipes featuring wild-caught canned tuna, high quality fats, and nourishing ingredients served in a unique, healthful way.
…The kind of tuna salad you can throw together in a flash for a quick, transportable lunch or a light and satisfying mid-afternoon snack.
…The kind of tuna salad that serves as the perfect reset after a weekend full of one too many margaritas, ice cream cones, or burgers (hashtag summer, right?).
…The kind of tuna salad that gets you just as excited as your favorite sushi roll because it was inspired by none other than the best sushi roll EVER…The spicy tuna roll!
Because really, what goes better with tuna than spicy sriracha sauce and creamy, chunks of avocado?
Oh nothing? EXACTLY.
Maybe I should have led with avocado chunks, huh?
In case it’s not obvious, my unrelenting love for sushi roll-inspired recipes is a real thing (remember these deconstructed sushi bowls with cauliflower rice and ginger miso dressing?).
Considering the classic spicy tuna roll is a universal crowd favorite, how could you not love this tuna salad recipe?!
OK, OK so maybe I don’t have any data supporting that spicy tuna rolls are in fact the universal crowd favorite,* BUT considering it contains two of the most well-loved ingredients on the planet—sriracha and avocado—I’m willing to stand by my claim.
*Side note: What’s your favorite sushi roll? Chime in and share in the comments below—I’d love to know!
SAYONARA, SAD TUNA SALAD
If there’s one thing we can probably all agree on, it’s that there’s nothing sad about any recipe featuring avocado chunks.
And while some of you may think that tuna salad without mayonnaise is sad, I promise that you won’t miss it in this recipe.
Mayo may be the go-to for classic tuna salad, but I much prefer to use more flavorful, good-for-you fats like nutrient-rich mashed avocado, olive oil, or tahini. I think they work wonderfully well to blend everything together, but obviously avocado was the only logical option for this spicy tuna sushi roll-inspired salad.
I used a combination of extra ripe, mashed avocado and diced avocado chunks plus a tablespoon of unrefined sesame oil to achieve a creamy texture sans mayo.
Beyond swapping mayo with avocado and sesame oil for fat, this spicy tuna salad incorporates Asian-inspired ingredients like fiery sriracha sauce for a bold kick and slightly sweet-yet-salty coconut aminos to counter the heat. (You can always use less sriracha if you don’t like things too spicy.)
A splash of rice wine vinegar adds the perfect amount of acidity and fresh chopped scallions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds lend the perfect crunchiness.
As a final touch, I like to brush a few nori seaweed sheets with sesame or olive oil, top with sea salt and pepper, and bake them in the oven for 10-15 minutes until they get nice and crispy. So. Good.
Sometimes I’ll eat the tuna with the toasted nori sheets in a wrap or cut them into little chip-sized squares on the side. Mmmm.
WAYS TO EAT IT
- Sandwiched between two slices of gluten-free bread
- Scooped up with cucumber slices or grain-free crackers
- Rolled in a collard green leaf or sprouted grain wrap
- Spooned into butter lettuce leaf cups
- Heaped on top of a bed of seasonal nutrient-rich salad greens
- Straight up with a few baked nori sheets crumbled on top
BUYING CANNED TUNA: SUSTAINABLE WILD-CAUGHT SEAFOOD
While this simple no-mayo spicy tuna salad is perfect way to satisfy a craving for sushi without spending a lot of money or time, it doesn’t mean you should skimp when it comes to the quality of tuna you use.
Because as tempting as it might be to stock up on the less expensive cans of tuna, the slightly pricier wild-caught varieties are well worth the investment.
If it’s not specified as being “wild-caught” tuna, it’s safe to assume the fish was farm raised in crowded, polluted inland water farms (i.e. hundreds, if not thousands of miles from an actual ocean) or ocean-based holding nets/pins along the shoreline.
If you don’t know what that means or looks like, I encourage you to Google it. You’ll probably never buy farm raised again!
Farm-raised fish is equally harmful to your health and the environment and I can’t endorse consuming it under any circumstances. It’s even been shown that any benefit you might get from the fish is negated by all the nasties in farm-raised varieties so what’s the point?!
Farmed tuna (and all other farm-raised fish) are usually fed soy pellets that contain harmful pesticides and other chemicals that get passed along to you when you eat them, not to mention that the fish’s fatty acid profile will be much lower than one that’s wild caught.
A reputable brand that I trust is Wild Planet because they ensure their tuna is fished by sustainable practices, it’s high in omega 3 fatty acids, and reasonably priced.
Be sure to read the labels carefully and avoid purchasing any tuna that includes “hydrolyzed protein” in the ingredient list. It’s a source of neurotoxic chemicals, which is not something that I think any of us would willing consume (like ever) so why make an exception to save a few bucks, you know?
BUT WHAT ABOUT MERCURY?
I know someone will bring this up if I don’t address it, so let’s dive in (pun somewhat intended wink, wink) and debunk this rumor for a quick second…
Yes, mercury toxicity is a real thing.
However, if you’re someone who only eats seafood from sustainably, wild-caught sources and don’t go overboard on shellfish, there’s a very remote chance that you’re at risk of mercury poisoning.
Mercury is really only a big deal if your tuna or other deep sea fish consumption intake is off the charts OR if you are primarily eating tuna, mackerel, salmon, swordfish, or flounder from fish farms, which we’ve already said is NOT a good idea. Ever.
Even though the aforementioned fish contain some mercury, when they come from clean, deep sea waters the fish contain a substance that binds with mercury to removes some of it from the body. And again, so long as you’re not going overboard with the tuna tartare or sashimi, you’ll be fine.
The exception to all of this is anyone pregnant or nursing. Y’all know special rules always apply to the mamas and mamas-to-be, right? High fives.
Let’s do it.
Serves: 2 servings
- 2 cans wild-caught, chunk light tuna
- ½ medium extra ripe avocado (for mashing into the salad)
- ½ medium ripe-yet-firm avocado, diced into chunks
- 1 tbs unrefined sesame oil or avocado oil
- 2 tsp rice wine vinegar (or other mild vinegar)
- 1-2 tbs sriracha sauce '
- 2 fresh scallions, diced (scallions is the same thing as green onion)
- 1 tbs coconut aminos, gluten-free tamari, or soy sauce
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- sesame seeds
2 sheets of nori (if making crispy seaweed strips)
- grain-free crackers, sliced cucumber, romaine or red cabbage cups, spinach and other mixed greens
- Add all ingredients except diced avocado chunks and sesame seeds to a large mixing bowl and stir until well incorporated.
- Gently fold in the diced avocado chunks, transfer to a serving dish and whatever you plan to eat with the tuna salad (see optional ingredients for suggestions) and garnish with sesame seeds.
- Enjoy immediately or store refrigerated in an airtight glass container for up to 72 hours.
FOR THE CRISPY SEAWEED CHIPS
- Pre-heat oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit.
- Brush 1-2 sheets of dried seaweed (a.k.a nori sheets) with sesame oil and sea salt and pepper and bake for 10-15 minutes until crispy.
- Cut into square chips, strips, or use to make simple tuna salad wraps!
Hope you all love this simple spicy tuna salad with avocado chunks (hubba, hubba) and the crispy nori chips! If you make it, please snap a pic to share on Instagram be sure to tag me @honestlynourished and use #honestlynourished and #iamhonestlynourished in your photo when you post it!
I love hearing how the recipes turn out for you and always appreciate your feedback and suggestions. Don’t be shy! 🙂
YOUR THOUGHTS >>>
What’s your favorite sushi roll to order? How do you like to make tuna salad?