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

Honey, Peach & Basil Two-Cheese Grilled Cheese

A sweet, salty and savory two-cheese grilled cheese featuring the fresh peaches and basil, mozzarella and crumbly bleu cheese.

Honey, Peach & Basil Two-Cheese Grilled Cheese | CaliGirl Cooking

We’re doing this season right with allll of the late summer flavors, and this Honey, Peach & Basil Two-Cheese Grilled Cheese is helping us get there.

It seems like now that I don’t have wedding planning taking over every spare second of every day, my eyes have finally opened up to all of the beautiful produce that’s abounding at the Farmer’s Markets and grocery stores this summer. I feel so lucky to live in a place that has pretty decent produce available all year round, but there’s something really special and exciting about going out and buying a fruit or vegetable that’s at the peak of its season, fresh off the tree or out of the ground.

For example, you can buy a peach at the store here in California (almost) 365 days a year, but do the December peaches that have likely been shipped from somewhere south of the equator REALLY taste as good as the mid-August peaches that were just plucked from the orchard earlier that day? I think not.Honey, Peach & Basil Two-Cheese Grilled Cheese | CaliGirl Cooking

That being said, I’ve not only been hoarding figs (as I mentioned in Friday’s post about this Rosemary, Fig & Date Tequila Smash), but I’ve also been hoarding peaches. Big, fat, juicy peaches. And they have been doing me right, let me tell you. So, naturally, my brain has been churning with ideas of how to use them in anything and everything.

Let me back up for a minute before I get into this delicious, indulgent, season-friendly Honey, Peach & Basil Two-Cheese Grilled Cheese. In case I haven’t filled you in on the latest, the hubs had his Achilles surgery last Monday, so my nurse and TLC duties have been on point for the past week. As we all know, surgery and “going under” take a lot out of you (says the gal who’s gone under for knee surgery oh, just five times.) Not only do you wake up with someone having cut you open somewhere, but often the anesthesiology is just as hard to recover from, making you feel nauseated and icky once you wake up.

My poor man most definitely experienced this, so his appetite was touch-and-go there for a few days. One of the only things that sounded good to him was bread and cheese in any form. So of course I jetted off to our corner bakery to pick up some delicious multigrain bread, and stopped in at our neighborhood TJ’s to grab some cheese. It was on the way home that the light bulb went off in my head. I had peaches on hand, I had basil on hand (stay tuned for another recipe with LOTS of basil!) and now I had delicious bread and cheese on hand. The Honey, Peach & Basil Two-Cheese Grilled Cheese was born.

Honey, Peach & Basil Two-Cheese Grilled Cheese | CaliGirl Cooking

In a sense, this sandwich is modeled after a take on the caprese salad, using peaches instead of tomatoes. But of course I had to jazz it up a bit. For the second cheese, I decided to crumble on some pungent, salty bleu cheese to counteract the soft, smooth and buttery taste of the fresh mozzarella. Then, to top it all off, of course I had to drizzle on some honey (because honey + bleu cheese + peaches = HEAVEN.)

Honey, Peach & Basil Two-Cheese Grilled Cheese | CaliGirl Cooking

Guys. Do yourself a favor here. Go out and buy all of these ingredients ASAP and turn on your griddle. You are NOT going to want to miss this. This Honey, Peach & Basil Two-Cheese Grilled Cheese is seriously the perfect flavor trifecta. We have the savory, we have the buttery, we have the salty, we have the sweet. Plus, it takes almost no time at all to make! Feeling overwhelmed with kids back in school and no time to get dinner on the table? Make these sammies and have a delicious, late-summer meal on the table in under 20 minutes. Trust me, once you join the Honey, Peach & Basil Two-Cheese Grilled Cheese club, there’s no turning back.

Honey, Peach & Basil Two-Cheese Grilled Cheese | CaliGirl Cooking

Honey, Peach & Basil Two-Cheese Grilled Cheese
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
6 mins
Total Time
16 mins
 
A sweet, salty and savory grilled cheese featuring the fresh peaches and basil, mozzarella and crumbly bleu cheese.
Ingredients
  • 2 slices multigrain bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • 2.5 ounces sliced yellow peach
  • 8 fresh basil leaves cut in a chiffonade
  • 1 ounce crumbled bleu cheese
  • 1 teaspoon honey
Instructions
  1. Place a griddle, cast iron skillet or sauté pan on the stove over medium-high heat.
  2. Place bread in toaster and toast until lightly golden, then spread butter on one side of each piece of bread.
  3. Placing the buttered side of one slice of bread on a plate, paper towel, or cutting board, start assembling the sandwich. Layer on the mozzarella, sliced peach, basil and bleu cheese (in that order.) Drizzle honey over top of the bleu cheese and then place the other piece of bread on top of the stack, with the buttered side facing up.
  4. Place sandwich on preheated griddle, cast iron skillet or sauté pan and cook for about three minutes, or until bread is golden-brown. Flip over and cook an additional few minutes, letting the second piece of toast brown just like the first piece. You may want to press the sandwich with a spatula every once in a while to make sure all of the cheese melts.
  5. Remove from heat and cut sandwich in half. Serve immediately.

 

Honey, Peach and Basil Two-Cheese Grilled Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

Cheese for life.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like…

BLT Sliders with White Cheddar Brioche Buns

These BLT Sliders with White Cheddar Brioche Buns are a bite-sized version of the classic sandwich. You can’t go wrong with bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and of course, avocado!

BLT Sliders with White Cheddar Brioche Buns | CaliGirl Cooking

Today I’m so happy to be bringing you these little bites of deliciousness. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a snacker. It might be a little bit obvious from some of my past favorite recipes (namely this, this and this), or maybe I just love food too much, but I’d rather sample little tastes of everything than have to stick to one entrée for my meal. In fact, I’m somewhat notorious in my family for stealing bites off of everyone else’s plates before finishing my own dish. My dad used to tell me that the calories don’t count if you didn’t order them, and I’m totally on board with that.

BLT Sliders with White Cheddar Brioche Buns | CaliGirl Cooking

But enough of my snacking tendencies, and on to these BLT Sliders with White Cheddar Brioche Buns (say that ten times fast.) I know, they’re pretty self-explanatory, but let’s just pause for a minute and think about what we’ve done here. We’ve taken possibly one of the best sandwich creations of all time and turned it into a bite-size (well, maybe a couple of bite-size) version, and we’ve totally upped the ante by making homemade white cheddar brioche slider buns. You digging this yet? Let me spell it out for you: B-L-T S-L-I-D-E-R-S W-I-T-H W-H-I-T-E C-H-E-D-D-A-R B-R-I-O-C-H-E B-U-N-S. Are we all on the same page now? Good. Let’s get on with it.

BLT Sliders with White Cheddar Brioche Buns | CaliGirl Cooking

Truly, the only semi-challenging part about this recipe is the making of the buns. And if you’re patient and have a couple of hours (maybe three) to let the dough do its thing, you’ll have no trouble at all baking these puppies off and making a lovely, billowy, cheesy throne for your bacon, lettuce and tomatoes.

BLT Sliders with White Cheddar Brioche Buns | CaliGirl Cooking

We’re all (at least barely) familiar with cooking bacon, right? (And if not, please take careful note of my no-fail bacon-baking method below so we can actually be on speaking terms again.) Good. Because that’s literally the ONLY additional cooking skill that this recipe requires. Guys and gals, once we get over the bread-baking hump, it is really that easy. We’ll have our cocktail party snack (or dinner, or children’s birthday party menu, etc. etc.) ready in no time at all. We simply adorn our buns and bacon with the classic tomato, lettuce, mayo, mustard and maybe some avocado (if you’re lucky/an avocado freak like me!) and we are all set! You could also add some scrambled eggs and call them brunch? BLT Sliders with White Cheddar Brioche Buns to the rescue!  My mind is just swimming with possibilities.

BLT Sliders with White Cheddar Brioche Buns | CaliGirl Cooking

But alas, we’re going to start with this simplest of simple version and if you’re lucky we’ll elaborate on the idea in the future 😉 So are you ready to get in the kitchen and start assembling these bad boys? What are your favorite “snacky” foods for nibbling? Anything you want to see me recreate as bite-sized? I always love hearing your ideas!

BLT Sliders with White Cheddar Brioche Buns | CaliGirl Cooking

BLT Sliders with White Cheddar Brioche Buns
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Resting Time
2 hrs
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
 

A bite-sized version of the classic sandwich. You can't go wrong with bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and of course, avocado!

Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Keyword: appetizers, bacon, bite-size, BLT, hors d'oeuvres, kid-friendly, sliders
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 342 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the White Cheddar Brioche Buns:
  • 1 packet Rapid Rise yeast
  • 1 cup milk, warmed to 110 degrees Fahrenheit ("bathtub" temperature)
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 eggs, divided (2 for dough, 1 for egg wash)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 1/2 - 3 cups all-purpose flour
Remaining ingredients:
  • 4 pieces applewood smoked bacon
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup mustard (choose your favorite!)
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, cut into 4 slices each
  • 1 cup mixed greens
  • 1 avocado, sliced
Instructions
To make the buns:
  1. Mix yeast, milk, butter, sugar, 2 eggs and salt in a stand mixer. Add grated cheddar cheese, mix until combined. Add flour in ½ cup increments until dough comes together as one large ball but is still slightly sticky. Cover in bowl and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, for 1-2 hours (or until doubled in size.)

  2. Remove from mixing bowl onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently. Separate dough into 12-15 portions (slider size!) Place on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper (or a silpat), cover and let rise again for one hour.

  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, use a fork to scramble the remaining egg, then brush it over the slider buns. Place in preheated oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden. Remove from oven and let cool before slicing in half to assemble the rest of the sliders.

To make the bacon:
  1. Place bacon slices on a rimmed baking pan covered with aluminum foil. Place in oven and turn oven on to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Set a timer for 20 minutes. The bacon cooks perfectly as the oven preheats, and when the timer goes off it will be perfectly cooked! Remove from pan onto a plate covered in a paper towel. Once cool, cut each slice of bacon into thirds.

To assemble the sliders:
  1. With slider buns cut in half, spread about 1 teaspoon mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon mustard on either side of each bun. Carefully stack bacon, tomato, lettuce and avocado on top of bottom half of each slider bun. Top with other half of slider bun. Enjoy!

 

BLT Sliders with White Cheddar Brioche Buns | CaliGirl Cooking

Bite me.