yet another post about tuna: tuna pasta salad, my current favourite way to eat tuna

You might not think that tuna is a frequent topic of this blog. But I blog about tuna more than you might think.

In 2009, after reading about the decline of tuna worldwide, I said I would stop eating tuna

This didn't last. I ended up eating tuna, but feeling guilty. Not helpful.

In 2016, I questioned whether it was less expensive to make tuna salad myself, or to buy the delicious tuna salad I loved from Whole Foods. Answer: It was less expensive, and a lot easier, to buy the WF version. 

However: shortly after that, Whole Foods sharply increased their already-expensive prices, and in 2017, we curbed our addiction to that store, and stopped shopping there altogether. Of course, now I don't have access to WF, so it's no longer an issue. 

In 2019, I learned that the tuna I eat is not the same tuna that is in decline. This was a huge relief. I'm using skipjack tuna that is (supposedly) caught without the nets that are so often fatal to so many other sea creatures. I find that skipjack tuna is not delicious enough to flake in a green salad with dressing. It needs more help. I posted my then-current tuna salad recipe: tuna, lite mayo, Dijon mustard, sweet pickle relish. 

Almost immediately after that, I changed this staple of my diet to: tuna, lite mayo, Dijon mustard, scallion, minced celery, and shredded carrot. This was decidedly more work than the earlier incarnation. I ate this for several years.

In 2022, I read the book Four Fish by Paul Greenberg (published in 2010). I learned more about the amazing and endangered bluefin tuna, and more about how the world's food supply has been poisoned and corrupted -- more about a lot of very interesting things, some of them very sad. Greenberg also confirmed my belief that personal choices about seafood do not impact ocean health or seafood health. (Although I'm sure I'd be healthier if I ingested less mercury.)

Last year, in an apparent bid to spend even more time doing food prep, I tried making tuna-pasta salad. I fell in love with it and it is now a go-to staple. It's full of lean protein, healthy fats, and raw vegetables, and the pasta substitutes for the bread or crackers I ate my old tuna salad with. I love the creaminess, and I find a small amount is very satisfying. 

How to make tuna-pasta salad

2 cups pasta: use elbow, rotini, penne, orecchiette, or any cut pasta, cooked al dente. I use classic elbow macaroni.
3 cans skipjack tuna, packed in water: drained, flaked, and broken up so there are no chunks
3 ribs of celery, minced
3-4 scallions, green part only, minced
1/2 cup or more shredded carrot

In a separate bowl, combine:
1 cup plain yogurt: I use Greek style, 2% fat, but any plain yogurt of your choice will work
2 tablespoons lite mayo
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
These proportions are approximate. Adjust as you see fit.
Blend the above ingredients. Then whisk in:
Juice of one lemon: you can substitute red wine vinegar, but lemon is better
Fresh dill: optional

Add dressing to the tuna-pasta mix and blend well. Refrigerate for at least a few hours before eating.


johngoldfine said...

Chef's tip: my dogs love the water the tuna is packed in and come a-runnin' when I unlimber the can opener.

Your old-version remoulade sauce sounds a lot like mine. I've been adding capers and anchovy paste recently for serious decadence.

laura k said...

Sweet! I go one better and let them lick out the cans. Kai doesn't even wait for the can opener. When I start taking the cans out of the little cardboard box (a three-pack of cans), I hear quick little footsteps.

Is it really remoulade? I think of remoulade as being spicy or at least garlicky.

johngoldfine said...

Remoulade IMO is pretty much whatever you want to make it--which is to say mine is never the same twice. Mine nowadays is usually some version of mayo, sweet coleslaw dressing, mustard relish, sweet pepper relish, capers, anchovies or anchovy paste, horseradish or wasabi, lemon juice, dijon or Colman's mustard, and whatever else my eye lights on....

"I hear quick little footsteps...."

Dogs are great at 'backing up' cues. If I turn off the desklamp over my computer, they come running over! They are way too sophisticated to wait for the donning of boots, the door opening, etc. Snap that light switch and it's all: "We're going out, right, boss, right now, let's go!" I might simply want to head into the kitchen to make remoulade or something, but, nooo, they demand accommodation. Sometimes I sit frozen at the computer--not eager to go out, but knowing that if I even twitch, all hell breaks loose.

laura k said...

Dogs are great at 'backing up' cues.

We have more examples of this than I can possibly list. It seems that more pile up each day!

A loooong time ago (our first dog), I would finish a bowl of cereal, then put the plastic bowl on the floor for Gypsy to finish the milk. She started reacting to the sound of the spoon in the almost-finished cereal. Then to when I started to eat the cereal. Then to the milk being poured. Then to the cereal being poured. Then finally to just touching the box of cereal. That's when I realized something about dogs and stopped putting the bowl on the floor.

laura k said...

I replaced the image in this post with an actual pic of my tuna salad.

Fun fact: I eat this for breakfast.

With God's Help said...

Sounds delicious. Sending the recipe to my personal chef!

laura k said...

I'm honoured! Let me know if GJ makes it, how you like it.