Classic Tuna Fish Salad

Classic Tuna Fish Salad

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This classic tuna fish salad makes one of my all-time favorite sandwiches. I love how flavorful it is.

Mama got me hooked (pun intended) on tuna fish salad when I was little. On Friday nights my daddy had hunting club suppers or ate with the other men folks in the neighborhood. Mama would make us tuna fish salad sandwiches for supper. Other nights she fried hamburgers in a skillet and served them on square bread. I have been making both ever since!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Simplicity: It’s my go-to recipe when I need a quick and easy lunch during the workweek.
  • Make-Ahead: For best results, make this recipe ahead. Tuna salad is always better after the flavors of the ingredients have time to meld together in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Few Ingredients: Just open a can of tuna, drain, chop, and stir all the goodness together.
  • Versatility: can be used in a sandwich, wrap, or served as an appetizer on crackers.
ingredients to make classic tuna fish salad

Ingredients Needed To Make Classic Tuna Salad

Classic tuna fish salad requires just a few simple ingredients:

  • Tuna Fish: fresh or canned packed in water, drained
  • Celery: gives texture and crunch
  • Sweet Pickles: slices cut into relish + some of the pickle juice. To me, it’s the sweet pickles and the extra bit of pickle juice in this tuna salad that really sets off. The sweet pickles are the ones I make myself. They give this salad a sweet and tangy crunch along with the celery.
  • Mayonnaise: Personally I love the taste of Sir Kensington’s mayonnaise, but use your favorite.
  • Paprika: A light sprinkle of paprika on top for presentation purposes only. (optional)

Add-Ins:

Just recently I adapted her recipe to include a little bit of diced red onion and jalapeno peppers which sends it over the top!

  • Red Onion: I love the savoriness and the slight sweetness diced red onions add to this salad. (optional)
  • Jalapenos: I have some sweet pickled jalapenos. They are totally optional but if you love spicy food, try a few diced jalapenos in your tuna salad.
classic tuna fish salad on bed of lettuce

How To Make Classic Tuna Fish Salad

  1. Use a hand-held chopper, to chop the pickles and celery (red onion and jalapenos, if using) in a medium bowl, until you get a chunky relish. Alternatively, if you don’t have a hand-held chopper, dice the relish ingredients with a knife.
  2. Drain the can of tuna and add to the relish with 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise. Stir in more mayonnaise if needed to get to the desired consistency. (I found 2 tablespoons is about the right amount for one 5-ounce can of tuna.)
  3. Finally, add about ½ to 1 tablespoon of the sweet pickle juice to the tuna fish salad; stir well to combine.

How To Serve Tuna Fish Salad

Serve this tuna fish salad plain as is, served up on toasted sandwich bread. If you are looking for a low carb option, you can serve this tuna fish salad on a romaine or Boston lettuce leaf for a tuna salad wrap.

What About Hard-Boiled Eggs?

Not in this recipe, but feel free to add them. That’s because my mama doesn’t eat eggs. She never has, so she never included eggs in any of her salads, so I never add eggs to my salad recipes either. However, feel free to add them in for that special touch you’re are looking for.

How Do I Make Classic Tuna Salad Lighter?

To make classic tuna salad light swap out the mayonnaise with a ripened avocado. The creamy texture of the avocado is similar to mayonnaise without all the calories.

Another option is to use plain Greek Yogurt instead of mayonnaise. I prefer avocado, but feel free to use yogurt if you love it.

classic tuna fish salad with mountain view

I hope you’ll enjoy this tuna recipe as much as I do. If so, comment below!

Classic Tuna Fish Salad
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4 from 1 vote

Classic Tuna Fish Salad

This simple recipe for classic tuna fish salad is made with canned tuna, mayonnaise, celery, red onion, and sweet pickles.
Course Appetizer, lunch, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword tuna fish salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 169kcal

Ingredients

  • 5 to 6 ounces tuna fresh or canned packed in water, drained
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 4 to 5 sweet pickle slices + 1 tablespoon pickle juice
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 sprinkle paprika for presentation (optional)

Add-Ins:

  • 1 tablespoon red onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon sweet pickled jalapenos minced

Instructions

  • Use a hand-held chopper, to chop the pickles and celery (red onion and jalapenos, if using) in a medium bowl, until you get a chunky relish. Alternatively, if you don't have a hand-held chopper, dice the relish ingredients with a knife.
  • Drain the can of tuna and add to the relish with 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise. Stir in more mayonnaise if needed to get to the desired consistency. (I found 2 tablespoons is about the right amount for one 5-ounce can of tuna.)
  • Finally, add about ½ to 1 tablespoon of the sweet pickle juice to the tuna fish salad; stir well to combine.

Serving Classic Tuna Fish Salad:

  • Serve this tuna fish salad plain as is, served up on toasted sandwich bread. If you are looking for a low carb option, you can serve this tuna fish salad on a romaine or Boston lettuce leaf for a tuna salad wrap.

Notes

For best results, make-ahead. Tuna fish salad is always better after the flavors of the ingredients have time to meld together in the refrigerator overnight.
 
This stainless steel hand-held food chopper is perfect for the job. Easy to use and minimal cleanup, making this recipe even easier than it already is! Find it HERE!

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 169kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 499mg | Potassium: 254mg | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 520IU | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 1.5mg
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