Monday, March 26, 2012

Makeover Monday: Secret Ingredient Tuna Salad

Today's makeover recipe is going to be short and sweet.  Why?  Because after 5 straight days of rain and clouds last week, it is 80 degrees and beautiful today, and I want to be outside!  Also, I am writing about tuna salad which is simple to make!  Now, you might be wondering why I am making over tuna salad.  It's tuna.  It's salad.  Must be healthy already, right?  Wrong.  There is one particular ingredient in standard tuna salad that sullies the good name of tuna. 

Yes, I'm talking about mayonnaise.  Even the measly amount of mayonnaise in the traditional tuna salad I made over, just 1/4 cup, packs in 19 grams of fat and 230 calories!  That's more than twice the calories you get from the can of tuna in this salad.  So what you end up with is your lean, healthy, tuna swimming around in a sea of fatty mayonnaise, and after a few innocent seeming sandwiches, you find yourself with a sea of fat around your midsection.  Fortunately, I have a life raft to take you out of your sea of fat and onto skinny island!

This time I'm talking about plain fat free Greek yogurt.  It's thick, it's creamy, it has a pleasantly slight tang, and 1/4 cup of it has only 30 calories, plus 5 grams of protein.  If it seems like I'm on a yogurt kick after making over last week's low fat silky chocolate pie with yogurt, it's because I am.  This stuff is awesome!  It is a great substitute for mayonnaise in this tuna salad.  Like mayonnaise, it doesn't really contribute any taste to the tuna salad.  It's more of a filler.  I've got lots of other taste contributors in this recipe!

I read about using plain yogurt instead of mayo in tuna salad a long time ago on the internet.  At that time, I wrote down a basic recipe on a sticky note.  That original sticky note remains in one of my cookbooks, but like many recipes, I use it just as a guide.  I have made this tuna salad recipe countless times (it is perfect in the summer when I don't want to turn on the oven!) and I probably make it a little different each time.  But I made it again last week and tried to actually pay attention to what I was throwing in my bowl so I could share this great idea with you. 

I love this tuna salad!  It is easy, tangy, healthy, and versatile.  Most of the time I just slap it between two slices of bread with some lettuce and call it a tuna salad sandwich.  For a great open faced tuna melt, put some of this tuna salad on a slice of crusty bread, top with a slice of cheese of your choice, and put under the broiler or in a toaster oven until the cheese is melted.  You can see that last time I made this, I just ate it kind of like a dip with Triscuit crackers.
You will notice that there are no step-by-step pictures for this recipe.  That's because there is one step.  Mix it all together.  I guess there are two steps if you count shoveling it in your mouth as fast as you can.  But I don't count that.  I just do it.  The only tip I need to pass along on making this tuna salad is that part of the function of mayonnaise in salad recipes is to act as a binder.  Greek yogurt is not a binder.  So make sure your tuna is well drained so you aren't adding any extra liquid.  If you make your salad in advance and find that it is a little watery, just stir it.  I promise it will be fine and will taste delicious!  Okay, now I'm going outside!

Secret Ingredient Tuna Salad
1 can tuna, drained and mashed
2 Tbsp minced onion
3 Tbsp finely chopped dill pickles
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt or plain yogurt
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Mix well.  
Serves 1-2.


  1. Hmmmm...very interesting. I'm a big fan of Greek yogurt and the baby likes it too. The rest of the family not so much. HOWEVER, I like your point that neither mayo nor yogurt contributes to the taste of the tuna. It definitely has its own taste and smell. I'll definitely give it a shot next time we have tuna. Thanks!

  2. Very tasty recipe!

  3. It works with slaw too! Yogurt and dijon are an unbeatable combination for less fattening food.

  4. I add chopped spinach and fat free raspberry pecan fron Ken's. Delicious and healthy.

  5. Great idea!! I just made it and it tastes amazing. Thanks!

  6. Can I get the nutritional information on this?

  7. Can I get the nutritional information on this?

  8. According to MyFitnessPal:
    1 serving
    273 calories
    5.3 g Total Fat
    9.4 g Carbs
    44.3 g Protein

  9. Tried a few moments ago and it was great. Gave some to my husband on wheat bread and he didn't notice the difference from Miracle Whip to the plain yogurt! Thanks for this :)

  10. Just tried it and it turned out great! I added some chopped celery, Sriracha, and spinach to it to add more spice and texture. Because of that, I also added about 1 more tablespoon of yogurt, and an extra squirt of mustard and pepper.

  11. Chopped onion, pimento olives and celery for crunch (Mom's way my whole life.) Sometimes, I add jalapenos.

    Btw, one thing I really appreciate is when people don't use the wording..."1 serving". 2 Tbls? 1/2 cup? 1 cup? 1 gallon? Thanks for all the yogurt ideas here.

  12. Make it healthier with baked wild salmon-not from a can- loads of omega 3 and without all the sodium.