This easy and healthy tuna salad recipe is made with avocado and no mayo for a dairy free, low carb tuna salad. Perfect alone or on gluten free toast as a tuna salad sandwich, this simple recipe is full of nutrition and flavor thanks to low-mercury canned tuna, white beans and tangy pesto.
Back to school!! It’s that time. I loved waking up this morning and seeing all of my friends on social media posting pictures of their adorable kids heading off to their first day of school.
It seems really early though, right? Is this one of those things where once it’s been so long since you’ve been in school, everything about it just seems weird?
Now I’m trying to remember when I normally started school growing up… I feel like it was after Labor Day, there was something about the September cut-off that’s standing out to me, I don’t remember it being so hot when school started…
Then again, I can barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday so why I think I’d be able to recall the day in which I started school in the 5th grade is beyond me.
Either way, it appears the kids in Georgia are starting school today, and so I figured what better time to share my favorite healthy, packable, make-ahead lunch than today?
Enter the best tuna salad!
Perhaps one of the most polarizing lunches there is, it seems tuna salad is one of those things people either love or hate.
I stand firmly in the love category, clearly (see also: there are very, very few foods I don’t actually like…like, um….I’m sure there’s something, I’ll get back to you on that one), particularly because canned tuna is one of those items that keeps in your pantry for years (OK, that might be a stretch, but canned tuna lasts a really, really long time, amiright?) and comes together into a delicious lunch in less than 5 minutes flat.
Plus, you can make it in advance, pack it with you to bring to school (or the office! or on the plane, on a road trip (though your fellow travelers might not appreciate the smell), to the beach (where the smell fits in perfectly!), on a picnic, etc. etc.
Even though I work from home, I totally appreciate the portability of tuna salad.
Of course, most tuna salad is made with mayonnaise, and though I’m completely obsessed with Primal Kitchen’s avocado oil mayo, I wanted to make a no-mayo, completely dairy-free/egg-free tuna salad.
And really, any excuse to eat more avocado. So instead of mayo, I used mashed up avocado in this recipe, which gives the tuna salad a similar creaminess, but with way more health benefits.
Avocado = a superfruit full of heart-healthy Monounsaturated Fatty Acids, tons of Vitamin K and folate, more potassium than a banana and loads of fiber that’s been proven to lower cholesterol, speed up weight loss, absorb nutrients, protect your eyes, prevent cancer, reduce inflammation and generally just solve all the world’s problems with its deliciousness and nutrition.
Of course where this tuna salad really shines is with the addition of pesto.
I recommend my arugula pesto, but any kind of pesto you like would work well here. The key is getting a big nutrient and flavor boost from the fresh herbs and spices.
And obviously we can’t forget the tuna. There’s a lot of questionable canned tuna on the market today. The first thing to watch out for is any nasty additives, like sugar, excessive salt, junky oils and soy (particularly in the GMO-vegetable broth some brands use).
And that’s before you consider sustainability and mercury levels. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program recommends consumers avoid Bluefin, Skipjack (imported purse seine) and Yellowfin (Atlantic troll, pole and line) tuna.
Instead, opt for Pacific troll, pole and line caught Albacore or Skipjack tuna (learn more here).
I’m a big fan of Safe Catch’s low-mercury canned tuna, who is a partner of the Seafood Watch program.
Not only is Safe Catch the only brand to test every fish for mercury, but their Elite tuna is tested to a mercury limit that is 10 times lower than the FDA action limit (read it’s safe even for pregnant women).
The quality is also amazing–hand prepared (most brands lose nutrients and most of the omega 3s by machine processing and precooking) sashimi grade wild tuna, with 35 grams of protein, including all nine essential amino acids and all omega 3s, per can.
Safe Catch Elite tuna is also non-GMO verified, in BPA free cans, and contains no fillers or additives, just pure tuna. You can also buy it on Thrive for just $2.75 per can. In fact, you’ll get 2 free cans of the tuna if you sign up for a membership using my link.
I know this probably sounds like a sponsored post, but it isn’t. I’m really just a huge fan of their tuna. Safe, sustainable, healthy and delicious.
Add some cannellini (or white kidney) beans for fiber, protein and thiamin B1 (among other nutrients) and you’ve got one tuna salad that packs an awesome flavor punch, with so much nutrition, you’ll feel healthier just looking at it. Try it!
If you try this recipe, let us know what you think! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag the recipe #rootandrevel/@rootandrevel on Instagram.
Tuna Salad with White Beans, Avocado and Arugula Pesto
- In a large glass bowl, combine tuna, beans, avocado and pesto. Using a fork, stir to combine all ingredients together, mashing the avocado as you go (think of it like the mayo you'd normally use in tuna salad).
- Serve plain, over a bed of lettuce or on top of your favorite gluten-free toast (I recommend Canyon Bakehouse).
- Will keep in the fridge for 2-4 days.
Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser