Quick-and-Healthy Tuna Salad Sandwiches

Once you try this easy recipe for Quick-and-Healthy Tuna Salad Sandwiches, you’ll never wonder what to make for lunch again!

A Quick-and-Healthy Tuna Salad Sandwich cut in half on a plate with produce behind it.

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.

A Quick-and-Healthy Tuna Salad Sandwich held together with a toothpick with lettuce, tomatoes and slices of bread in the background.

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!

KETCHUP.

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!

A Quick-and-Healthy Tuna Salad Sandwich cut in half and ready to enjoy.

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
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 

Once you try this easy recipe for Quick-and-Healthy Tuna Salad Sandwiches, you’ll never wonder what to make for lunch again!

Course: Main Course
Keyword: after-school, healthy, kid-friendly, portable, sandwich, school lunch, tuna
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 372 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
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
  • Lettuce
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Avocado (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place all tuna salad ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until thoroughly combined.

  2. Spread mixture onto prepared bread to make 4 sandwiches. Add lettuce, tomato and avocado (if using) to complete the sandwich and serve!

Recipe Notes

DISH DENSITY: Low

Mixed Mushroom and Leek Bruschetta

Sauteed leeks and a medley of mushrooms create the perfect appetizer, whether served warm at home for a light dinner or chilled at a casual beach picnic.

Leeks and a medley of mushrooms combine to form a delicious appetizer that's perfect for picnics, entertaining and more!

Boy, have I got a delicious treat for you today, and it comes in the form of this Mixed Mushroom and Leek Bruschetta! I sure hope you’re on #teammushroom, because this recipe is chock full of them. If not, you should probably stop reading now and I promise you’ll have better luck with my next post ;-P But seriously, gimme all the mushrooms and nobody will get hurt. I love those little funghi and I’m getting my fair share of them thanks to this new favorite recipe for topping bread!

I’ve made something similar before as part of my homemade Bruschetta Bar, but this Mixed Mushroom and Leek Bruschetta climbs to a whole other level with not one or two but THREE different types of mushrooms plus more leeks than you’ll know what to do with (hint: eat them.) It’s healthy yet filling at the same time and, when piled on top of hearty, freshly baked bread (my fave is a darker sourdough or multigrain loaf) it can easily pass as a light meal.

Another bonus? Even though it CAN be served warm, Mixed Mushroom and Leek Bruschetta tastes just as good when served room temperature (or even cold), making it an ideal dish to serve for entertaining or to take with you for a picnic, to the beach, to a potluck, etc.

This Mixed Mushroom and Leek Bruschetta is perfect for everything from an elegant dinner party to a casual beach picnic.

As the mother of a very small child with what seems like no time at all to spend in the kitchen, recipes like these are the ultimate lifesaver right now. In fact, don’t put it past me to make a batch on a Sunday and head to the fridge for it multiple times during the week when I want something healthy and quick. As a certified carb lover, it also makes me feel like I’m working some slightly more nutrient-packed foods into my day-to-day.

This Mixed Mushroom and Leek Bruschetta appetizer is best served over slices of your favorite rustic, crusty loaf of bread.

I’m going to keep it short today because, well, it’s 75 degrees out and there are much better things I could be doing than sitting behind my computer, but I hope you are having a wonderful week!

As I’m getting more and more back into regular posts, I’d love to hear what sort of recipes you’d like to see from me. Cocktails? Healthy food? Seasonal fare? Meal prep? Entertaining?

Let me know in the comments below!! xx

Mixed Mushroom and Leek Bruschetta
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

Sauteed leeks and a medley of mushrooms create the perfect appetizer, whether served warm at home for a light dinner or chilled at a casual beach picnic.

Course: Appetizer
Keyword: appetizer, bruschetta, make-ahead, mushroom
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 259 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 leek (white part only), sliced
  • 2 shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 12 ounces mixed mushrooms, sliced (I used baby bellas, shiitake and cremini)
  • 1/2 cup cream sherry
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 loaf hearty bread, sliced
  • Olive oil to coat bread
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. 

  2. Add leek, shallots and garlic and sauté until leek is translucent and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and stir to combine.

  3. Add sherry, vinegar and fresh herbs and cook over medium heat until mushrooms release their juices and have wilted significantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Remove mushrooms from heat and let cool. Turn oven on to medium broil and place rack in middle of oven. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. 

  5. Brush olive oil lightly over both sides of each piece of sliced bread and place on prepared baking sheet. Broil bread until golden, somewhere around 5 minutes for each side (keep a close eye on it, as oven temps vary greatly and your bread can go from golden to charred in a matter of seconds.)

  6. Let bread cool and then serve alongside mushrooms (you can either load the bread slices with mushrooms yourself before serving or let guests load their own.)

Healthy Curried Chicken Salad with Apples

This Healthy Curried Chicken Salad takes the deli counter favorite and lightens it up. It’s packed with Greek yogurt, zesty curry powder and sweet apples.

Healthy Curried Chicken Salad | CaliGirl Cooking for The Fit Blog

Let’s be real for a minute. Chicken or tuna salad in any way, shape or form, used to be my nemesis. You see, I once had a not-so-healthy relationship with food and thought anything with any amount of fat was the devil, even avocado! (Annndddd I can’t believe I just admitted that.) The good news is, I eventually found my way back to balance and now feel more armed with information on what’s good for me (including healthy fats!) and what’s not, and of course I want to share it all with you J

But, backing up for a minute, I have a serious question to ask you. I’ve touched on it here and there, but you may have picked up by now that part of the reason I am so passionate about balanced living (and eating!) is because of certain personal struggles I’ve had in the past with eating, working out excessively, etc. that I’ve learned to overcome over a very long period of time. Since I started CaliGirl Cooking, I’ve been a bit remiss to write about them, partly due to shyness (the Internet is a big, scary world!), partly due to trying to find my voice in the blogging community, and partly because (as any of my IRL friends would tell you) I just hate putting my fears, problems and struggles on others. I’m such a giver and a fixer that I never want to burden anyone with my troubles or worries.

The thing is, as I continue this blogging journey and my mission to share balanced-living recipes with you all, I want you to understand that I’ve been there too, and it has most DEFINITELY not been an easy (or quick) road for me to get to the mindset, about eating in particular, that I have today. So, tell me, are you interested in hearing my story? If so, I’ll be more than happy to share. I’m here for YOU, and if I can help just one person find their way to a balanced lifestyle a little more quickly than I did, I’ll consider that a success.

The reason I decided to bring this up now is because of this tasty Healthy Curried Chicken Salad with Apples I’m sharing with you and my friends at The Fit Blog today. This reminds me of how far I’ve come in my eating struggles for a couple of reasons. One, I first came across a version of curried chicken salad when I lived in Hawaii, but it was at the height of my struggles with food so I never let myself get it and enjoy it to the fullest. I always looked at it longingly in the deli case and then proceeded to grab fresh mango and a couple of apples as my “snack.” No wonder I was always hungry. Two, I did something about it, and created my own healthy version that gave me all of the same great taste without all of the calories that I was so fearful of (read “tons of mayo”.)

Healthy Curried Chicken Salad | CaliGirl Cooking for The Fit Blog

Today, I’m not nearly as fearful of a little fat or mayo as I was back then, but I’ll still welcome a healthy substitute if it tastes just as good as the non-healthy version. Enter this Healthy Curried Chicken Salad with Apples. So how did I do it? First off, I subbed in nonfat plain Greek yogurt for the mayo. This is the “savior swap” for me for any salads, dips, etc. that are typically mayonnaise based. It’s thick and creamy, just like the mayo, without all of the fats and other sketchy stuff. The one major difference is that it tends to taste a bit tarter than mayo, so I usually try to balance that out with some other ingredient, in this case, tahini. Other yummy-tasting additions to the Greek yogurt substitute might be miso paste or even just a dash of garlic powder or salt.

That’s really the only major swap we need to make to take the Curried Chicken Salad from indulgent to “healthified.” I do use chicken breasts (as opposed to the dark meat chicken that many of these types of recipes call for), but that’s more of a personal preference as opposed to a health-centered one. Some would argue that breast meat is healthier than thigh meat, but chicken is such a good-for-you, lean protein that you’ll really be fine whichever direction you tend to lean in your day-to-day life.

Healthy Curried Chicken Salad | CaliGirl Cooking for The Fit Blog

What I love even more about this recipe is that, once you take out the mayonnaise, all of the other ingredients are already nutritional powerhouses. Curry powder has TONS of health benefits, and the celery and apples give us lots of filling fiber. Not to mention all of the protein from the Greek yogurt, the cashews AND the chicken! Is this Healthy Curried Chicken Salad making you shout “Hallelujah!” yet or what?

Okay, if it’s not, let me give you one more little tip. You can tell that this dish is already great as is for lunches, a light dinner, picnics, snacking, etc. But, the little secret I haven’t let you in on yet is how absolutely, freaking amazing, delicious Healthy Curried Chicken Salad with Apples is when served in a scooped out half of a papaya. Seriously, just give it a shot. If it doesn’t give your taste buds the perfect sweet and spicy balance, it will at least take you to a tropical deserted island somewhere. And that’s all we can ask for on a Wednesday, right?Healthy Curried Chicken Salad | CaliGirl Cooking for The Fit Blog

To get this recipe for Healthy Curried Chicken Salad with Apples, hop on over to The Fit Blog!

And please, please, please give me your feedback on whether you’d be interested in a more in-depth post about my struggles in the past and how I’ve come to have the mindset around balanced living that I do today. The longer I do this blogging thing, the more I feel that you all are my “tribe.” I want to be real and honest with you, and at the same time be resource for those of you who may currently be struggling with that balance. As always, I’m here for you @ [email protected].

XO,

Robin

If you like this recipe, be sure to check out my other latest contribution to The Fit Blog, Ahi Poke Salad with Macadamia Nuts.

Healthy Curried Chicken Salad | CaliGirl Cooking for The Fit Blog

Hand me a mai tai and I’m set!