When it comes to cooking, some people like recipes that make use of simple ingredients and easy-to-follow directions. Others prefer healthy recipes packed with fresh flavors. This 6-ingredient avocado tuna salad ticks all those boxes and we know you’re going to enjoy it.
A single recipe only takes 10 minutes to prepare and can serve up to four people. It’s a healthy, balanced meal that you can take with you to work, classes, or for your children’s packed lunch. Bookmark this page now and turn your boring old tuna salad recipe into something more exciting!
How to Make the Best Avocado Tuna Salad – The Ingredients
Living a healthy lifestyle is a goal we should all strive for. Two very important components to a healthy lifestyle is exercising regularly and eating nutritious wholefoods. Avocado tuna salad makes use of fantastic ingredients that are packed with essential nutrients to keep your body and mind healthy and strong.
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein, canned tuna will help maintain good heart health, good brain function and development, and will help improve body composition. (1) Selenium and vitamin D are also found in canned tuna.
There’s no denying that fish is an excellent addition to a healthy diet, but the consumption of canned tuna should be limited due to the mercury present in the fish. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), canned light tuna has the least amount of mercury and is the better choice for consumption when compared to canned white/albacore tuna.
Below are the canned tuna consumption recommendations (based on EPA guidelines).
Children under 6
Canned white/albacore tuna: one 3-oz portion per month
Canned light tuna: three 3-oz portions per month
Children 6-12 years old
Canned white/albacore tuna: two 4.5-oz portions per month
Canned light tuna: one 4.5-oz portion per week
Adult women (including pregnant women)
Canned white/albacore tuna: three 6-oz portions per month
Canned light tuna: one 6-oz portion per week
Canned white/albacore tuna: three 8-oz portions per month
Canned light tuna: one 8-oz portion per week
Based on the mercury levels in canned tuna, ethical labor practices, and sustainability; here are the top 5 canned tuna brands according to Greenpeace.
- Albacore Wild Tuna (Wild Planet)
- Pole-Caught Wild Albacore (American Tuna)
- Chunk White Albacore Tuna (Whole Foods)
- Albacore Solid White Tuna in Olive Oil (Ocean Naturals)
- Select Solid White Albacore Tuna (Hy-Vee)
There’s nothing like thinly sliced cucumbers to add a crunchy texture to your salad along with a fresh-from-the-garden flavor. Since cucumbers are made up of 96% water, the total calories in a cucumber is extremely low. One medium cucumber only has 30 calories which makes it an ideal food to help with weight loss.
The essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants present in cucumber definitely make up for the lack of calories. A single cucumber contains 62% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin K and is loaded with antioxidants to help protect our bodies from free radical damage. (2)
Avocados are one of the best wholefoods for healthy fats especially monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. It’s important to consume healthy fats to help with weight management, improve heart health, and lower cholesterol levels. (3)
Avocados are also high in fiber. On average, one medium avocado (200 grams) has a whopping 13 grams of fiber. A fiber-rich diet has been proven to be beneficial for maintaining good digestive health, improving blood sugar levels, aiding in lowering cholesterol, and assists with weight loss. (4)
The health benefits of avocados are undeniable but what I love most about them is obviously the taste! A ripe avocado is like heaven for your taste buds and palate. Rich and creamy with a super smooth texture, avocados make for a delicious mayonnaise substitute for tuna salad.
How to Tell If Your Avocado is Perfectly Ripe
Since avocado is the star of this dish, using a ripe avocado is crucial if you want to get the best flavor and texture. There’s nothing more disappointing than patiently waiting for an avocado to turn tupe then slicing it open only to see it not quite ripe or mushy and overripe. The two indicators one should use to see if an avocado is ripe is by using color and feel.
Choose avocados with an even outer skin color without indentations. Large indentations in the fruit is oftentimes a sign of bruising and should be avoided. Avocados that have purple and almost black outer skin tend to be riper than avocados with dark green skin. Using color to gauge ripeness isn’t a guarantee because avocados can get softer without a drastic change in color.
Gently squeezing an avocado and judging by how it feels is a more accurate way to tell if an avocado is ripe. Place the avocado in the palm of one hand and cover it with your other hand. Squeeze it without applying too much pressure with your fingertips as this may cause bruising.
Gauge ripeness based on firmness and softness. Avocados that are ripening should be stored at room temperature which is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Simply place them on your kitchen countertop and check on them daily until they’re ripe.
- Firm to touch: avocados that are firm when squeezed will usually ripen in 4 – 5 days. They usually have a bright to dark green color.
- Soft but does not yield to firm pressure: an almost ripe avocado varies in color so going by feel is important. At this point, the avocado is usually 1 – 2 days away from ripening.
- Yields to gentle pressure: your avocado is ripe, ready to be sliced open, and ready to eat. The avocado will be soft but not mushy. Prevent your avocado from becoming overripe by storing it in the refrigerator for no longer than 2 days.
- Very soft and mushy: if the fruit feels very soft and mushy when squeezed, it’s most likely overripe. An overripe avocado will have a dark yellow to brown color inside. If there’s a rancid smell, the avocado is spoiled and should be disposed.
You can also speed up the ripening process by placing the avocado in a brown paper bag with an apple or banana. Ethylene, a chemical gas highly present in apples and bananas, speeds up ripening. Another great way to ripen your avocados faster is by placing it in uncooked rice. The uncooked rice does a fantastic job of trapping the ethylene gas.
Avocado vs. Mayonnaise – Which is Better?
In traditional tuna salad recipes, mayo is the more common ingredient when compared to avocado. The neutral flavor and creamy consistency of both mayonnaise and avocado compliment the other ingredients in the salad but for those who are health conscious, one is definitely better than the other.
In 100 grams of mayonnaise there are about 70 grams of fat. For the same 100 grams of avocado, you only consume about 15 grams of fat. (5) The calorie difference between the two ingredients is a total of 495 calories for the same amount! Additionally, you consume significantly more healthy fats when you choose avocados over mayonnaise. The next time you make tuna salad be sure to give avocados a try.
How to Quickly Make the Salad and Dressing
This 6-ingredients avocado tuna salad is an easy recipe you can make as an appetizer, a light lunch, or a healthy snack on-the-go. According to the recipe, preparation time takes a total of 10 minutes but with the proper tools it can be significantly less.
Here are two food processors we recommend depending on your personal cooking needs:
- Cuisinart DLC-2ABC Mini Prep Plus Food Processor: The Cuisinart DLC-2ABC is solidly built with 250 watts of chopping and grinding power. It has a 3-cup capacity plastic work bowl and is perfect for solo meals or couples. It’s lightweight, compact, and great for smaller countertops.
- Hamilton Beach Food Processor & Vegetable Chopper with Bowl Scraper: Equipped with a powerful 450-watt motor, this heavy-duty food processor has 2 speeds and a pulse setting. It has a large 10-cup capacity bowl which is made for preparing larger meals. The bowl scraper attachment keeps ingredients close to the blades for better efficiency.
In order to lessen preparation time, use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin of the cucumber and place it in your food processor for even slices. Next, place a peeled red onion and pulse. Combine the sliced cucumber, red onion, tuna chunks, chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, and avocado chunks in a bowl. Season the bowl with salt and black pepper then set it aside.
A sturdy food processor will come in handy when it comes to making the salad dressing and chopping the ingredients. Manually slicing and mashing the avocados for dressing can be time consuming, which is why we highly recommend slicing the avocado into chunks and placing it in a food processor. In less than a minute, your avocado dressing will be even and smooth. Just add 2 tablespoons each of lemon juice and olive oil, then pulse until the ingredients are mixed well.
6-Ingredient Avocado Tuna Salad Without Mayo
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- 2 (5 oz) cans tuna, drained
- ½ pound cucumber, peeled and chopped
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 2 ripe avocados, halved and pitted
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt, black pepper to taste
- To make the salad dressing, mash the flesh of one avocado with a fork.
- Add the lemon juice and olive oil and mix to combine.
- In a large bowl combine the tuna, cucumber, onion, chopped flesh of the remaining avocado and cilantro or parsley.
- Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Pour the salad dressing over the salad and toss to coat.
- Serve immediately.