Some words are pretty inseparable. You hear Mickey, you think Mouse. You hear tuna, you think salad. But even if you don't like tuna salad, don't knock the fish completely because there are many creative and appetizing ways to prep this lean protein.
Readily found in grocery stores, tuna is low in fat and calories and high in protein, making it a smart addition to just about any recipe. A three-ounce serving of white tuna in water totals 109 calories and 20 grams of protein, according to the USDA.
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Tuna also packs vitamin B12, which helps your body form red blood cells and supports your brain health, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Along with salmon, tuna is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, according to Harvard Health Publishing. These polyunsaturated fats are not only great for your heart health but may also have positive effects on your brain function, inflammation levels and vision.
If you're ready to add some of this heart-healthy fish to your diet but want to skip the tuna salad, add some of these simple canned tuna recipes to your menu.
Wondering which type of tuna is best? Consumer Lab tested popular brands based on mercury levels, omega-3 levels and other metrics, and deemed the following good choices.
Best Tuna Brands to Buy
- Trader Joe's Chunk Light Skipjack in Water With Sea Salt ($1.49 per can in stores)
- Genova Yellowfin Tuna in Olive Oil ($19.98 per 8-pack on Amazon.com)
- Safe Catch Elite Wild Tuna ($3.99 per can on Mercato.com)
- Wild Planet Skipjack Wild Tuna ($38.28 per 12-pack on Amazon.com)
1. Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Calories: 390
- Protein: 22.3 grams
Nothing says comfort quite like a casserole. But this tuna noodle casserole isn't your average comfort dish.
Unlike the heavy, sodium and fat-laden cream found in most casseroles, this is made with a lighter parmesan-mushroom sauce.
You can even make this dish dairy-free by using vegan butter, a dairy-free milk of your choice and a plant-based parmesan. And swap the refined pasta for a whole-grain alternative to add some extra fiber.
Get the Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe at Ambitious Kitchen.
2. Thai Tuna Patties With Cilantro Cabbage Slaw
- Calories: 268
- Protein: 17 grams
Stuffed full with veggies and lean protein, these mini burgers make the perfect red meat alternative. And at only 268 calories a per tuna patty with slaw, you definitely won't miss the beef.
Also unlike your standard burger, these patties are topped with shredded carrots for a healthy twist.
A half-cup of carrots alone will provide more than half your daily recommended intake of vitamin A, which helps support your vision, reproductive system and immune function, according to the NIH.
Get the Thai Tuna Patties With Cilantro Cabbage Slaw recipe at Ambitious Kitchen.
3. Stuffed Avocado
- Calories: 282
- Protein: 14 grams
If you're a fan of avocado, this recipe is sure to become one of your favorites.
Avocados are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, according to the Mayo Clinic. And with about 19 grams of healthy, unsaturated fat per serving, this dish is definitely a winner when it comes to heart health.
The fruit (yes, avocados are a fruit) is also a solid source of fiber, which helps promote regular digestion and may lower your risk of developing diabetes and heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Get the Stuffed Avocado recipe and nutrition info here.
4. Farmers' Market Spicy Tuna Wraps With Homemade Chipotle Greek Yogurt Ranch
- Calories: 386
- Protein: 22.4 grams
If you're strapped for time, these lunch wraps make the perfect speedy lunch. With only ten minutes of prep time required, you'll be out the door with a healthy meal in no time.
Instead of a standard mayo-based dressing (which is often high in saturated fat), this recipe calls for a healthier Greek yogurt ranch sauce, which is lower in calories and higher in healthy nutrients such as protein.
Yogurt is also a probiotic food, which means it can help support and improve your digestive health.
Get the Farmers' Market Spicy Tuna Wraps With Homemade Chipotle Greek Yogurt Ranch recipe at Ambitious Kitchen.
5. Tuna Cucumber Boat
- Calories: 139
- Protein: 21 grams
High in protein and easy to prepare, these tuna cucumber boats make the perfect snack. And with only five ingredients, chances are, you already have everything you need right in your fridge.
Making the perfect boat for your tuna, cucumbers make an excellent healthy pairing with just about any protein. The crunchy vegetable is high in vitamin K, which promotes bone health and regulates your blood flow, according to the NIH.
Get the Tuna Cucumber Boat recipe and nutrition info here.
6. Dijon Tuna Bites
- Calories: 208
- Protein: 40 grams
This recipe is low in calories and high in protein, which means you'll stay feeling full throughout the day.
Diets high in protein are pretty effective when it comes to weight management, as studies have found protein to be the most satiating nutrient, according to a July 2017 study published in Food Hydrocolloids.
So, if you're feeling particularly peckish, this snack will do the trick.
Get the Dijon Tuna Bites recipe and nutrition info here.
- USDA: "Canned White Tuna (Water Packed)"
- NIH: "Vitamin B12"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Omega-3-rich Foods: Good for Your Heart"
- NIH: "Vitamin K"
- Food Hydrocolloids: "Revisiting the Role of Protein-Induced Satiation and Satiety"
- Mayo Clinic: "Mayo Clinic Minute: Avocado Gets an ‘A’ for Health Benefits"
- Mayo Clinic: "Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet"
- NIH: "Vitamin A"