Once you try this easy recipe for Quick-and-Healthy Tuna Salad Sandwiches, you’ll never wonder what to make for lunch again!
Sometimes the simplest things are the best things.
Does anyone else have fond childhood memories of tuna salad sandwiches? They’re a classic lunchbox staple – perfect for field trips and picnics – however, in our house they were usually reserved for the weekends because Dad worked during the week and, well, Dad made the absolute best tuna salad sandwiches!
On the rare weekend we were actually home relaxing and not at some volleyball tournament or dance competition, my Dad would pop out to the garage around 12:30 or so and come back with a trusty can or two of tuna to whip up some salad sammies in just a few quick minutes. They were simple, but they were oh-so-good. And they had one secret ingredient that I’m going to let you in on in today 😉
SO HOW DO YOU MAKE TUNA SALAD HEALTHY?
While my Dad’s tuna salad sandwiches were delicious, they definitely weren’t what I would consider “healthy.” The tuna salad had a decent amount of mayo, and I’m still quite sad that my unnecessarily strict relationship with food in some of my early teen years held me back from enjoying those sandwiches every time my Dad made them. BUT, one good thing that came out of those struggles with food was the idea that things like Dad’s tuna salad (and many other indulgences he made) could be lightened up by just a couple of simple swaps.
It didn’t take me long to realize that plain Greek yogurt was a great stand-in for most mayonnaise-based salads, and it has become one of my favorite “lightening up” hacks to this day. For example, I’ve made a couple of great chicken salads that are lighter in calories than the original, like this Healthy Curried Chicken Salad with Apples and this Protein-Packed Healthy Chicken Waldorf Salad. And you want to know my secret? I still add in a little bit of mayonnaise!
I sometimes find the tang of Greek yogurt to be a bit too much, and I find myself missing the good stuff, so I still throw some in. I find it helps trick my brain into thinking I’m eating the indulgent version of something, with a lot fewer calories.
WHAT’S THIS “SECRET SAUCE”?
No, it’s not the Greek yogurt. I hinted earlier at a secret ingredient I felt really took my Dad’s tuna salad over the top and now I’m going to tell you what it is!
That’s right, my friends, we put ketchup in our tuna salad. Sacrilegious? No. Delicious? Yes.
It adds a slight sweetness and almost umami taste to the mix, and I honestly no longer like most tuna salads that don’t have this secret sauce. Give it a try, my friends. You won’t be sorry.
WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO MAKE A HEALTHY TUNA SALAD SANDWICH?
The easy answer: Not much!
Seriously, the tuna salad itself uses just the four ingredients I’ve mentioned (tuna, Greek yogurt, mayonnaise and ketchup) plus a little garlic powder, salt and pepper. You can also add in some diced celery if you like, I’m just not a huge celery fan so I choose to omit it. But it’s so easy! You can’t afford NOT to make this ASAP.
The only other components you need to make these delicious Quick-and-Healthy Tuna Salad Sandwiches are some good bread (anything works, but I like soft sliced multigrain bread like Dave’s Killer Bread), sliced fresh tomato and crispy green lettuce.
And if you find yourself REALLY missing the mayo, go ahead and spread some on the bread. (Oooo…or for some extra creaminess, some nutrient-dense avocado!) I know there are strong camps on either side of the toasted bread equation, but I personally find a tuna salad sandwich on lightly toasted bread (not too crunchy, not too soft) the absolute BEST.
Do you have any secret ingredients you put in your tuna salad sandwiches? I want to know in the comments below!
Quick-and-Healthy Tuna Salad Sandwiches
- Medium mixing bowl
- 1/3 cup measure
- 1/2 teaspoon measure
For the tuna salad:
- 2 5-ounce cans water-packed tuna, drained
- 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Diced celery (optional)
For the sandwiches:
- 8 slices soft sandwich bread (I prefer Dave's Killer Bread) Lightly toasted, if desired
- Sliced tomatoes
- Avocado (optional)
- Place all tuna salad ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until thoroughly combined.
- Spread mixture onto prepared bread to make 4 sandwiches. Add lettuce, tomato and avocado (if using) to complete the sandwich and serve!
- DISH DENSITY: Low
- If the Greek yogurt is too tangy for you, feel free to increase the mayo as you decrease the amount of Greek yogurt. Just keep in mind that the mayo isn't quite the nutritional powerhouse that the yogurt is!
- This is a great option to make ahead for packed lunches during the week as it requires no reheating.
- It's also great for baby-led weaning if your child does not have a seafood allergy.