Enjoy this simple Albacore Tuna Salad for a healthy, fresh, and flavor-packed dish. Jarred tuna is combined with sweet pickled onions, crisp vegetables, and a creamy herb dressing. It’s high in protein, low in carbs, and can easily be customized to your liking!Jump to Recipe
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Versatile: Enjoy it as a salad, add it to a wrap, or serve it in a sandwich. There are so many ways to serve albacore tuna salad.
- Healthy: Not only is this recipe high in protein, but it also fits into a low-carb and keto-friendly diet. It’s a healthy choice for almost everyone!
- Quick & easy: All you need is a few simple-to-find ingredients and about 10 minutes to prep this salad. Plus, my instructions are incredibly easy to follow.
Easy albacore tuna salad
This albacore tuna salad has recently become a staple in our household because of how quick and easy it is to make! For this recipe, I mix jarred tuna with quick-pickled red onions, crunchy vegetables, like celery and cucumber, and a creamy herb sauce.
The savory flavors of tarragon and parsley perfectly complement the brightness from lemon zest and dill. If you’d prefer to keep things light, it’s incredibly healthy over a bed of greens.
If you’re feeling like something more filling, try serving it inside a sandwich or a wrap. You’ll be able to enjoy your albacore tuna salad for lunch or dinner at home or on the go!
Ingredients & substitutions
- Red onion: I use pickled red onion as they add color and a perfectly tangy, zesty, and vibrant flavor profile. If you only have white or yellow onions, those will work in a pinch.
- Pickling brine: To quick-pickle the red onions, you will need rice vinegar, water, granulated sugar, and salt. I recommend kosher salt (or any non-iodized salt) to prevent the brine from turning cloudy.
- Dressing base: For the base of the creamy herb dressing, use sour cream, mayo, and buttermilk. I prefer the combination due to its rich-yet-light taste and refreshing texture.
- Dressing seasonings: To pack in more flavor to the dressing, add lemon juice for tartness, chopped shallot and garlic powder for a savory bite, dill and tarragon for herbaceous notes, and salt to enhance the other ingredients.
- Tuna: I recommend jarred tuna filets in oil over canned tuna in water. It adds incredibly rich flavors and textures to the salad. For reference, the brand I use is Tonnino. If you use tuna in water, I suggest adding 1-2 teaspoons of extra oil.
- Vegetables: For a crispy bite all throughout your albacore tuna salad, you can’t skip the celery, fennel, and Persian cucumbers! You can also add other veggies such as carrots, pickles, or peppers.
- Salad seasonings: For even more herbaceous and bright notes, add fresh tarragon, dill, parsley, lemon juice and zest, and salt directly into the salad. It makes such a difference!
How to make albacore tuna salad
- Pickle the onions: Slice the onion thinly and rinse the slices. Bring a pot of water, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil. Quick-pickle the onion slices for about 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Mix the herb dressing: In a mixing bowl or container, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, buttermilk, lemon juice, finely chopped shallot, herbs, garlic powder and salt. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.
- Start the tuna salad: Seed and thinly slice the cucumbers, celery, and fennel. Mix the veggies, lemon zest, dill, tarragon, and parsley in a large bowl. Add the tuna from the jar and break it up into smaller pieces. Add the remaining oil from the tuna, a squeeze of lemon juice, and flaky sea salt.
- Assemble the salad: Spread the creamy dressing out in a thin layer on a large platter. Top the dressing with your albacore tuna salad and enjoy!
Albacore tuna salad garnishes
Honestly, this albacore tuna salad is so good that you can eat it as-is! However, if you’d like to dress it up, these are some of my favorite toppings:
- Sliced avocado
- Crumbled feta cheese
- Chopped hard-boiled eggs
- Pickled jalapeños
- Chopped dill pickles
- Sliced green onions
- Crispy bacon bits
There are so many fun and creative ways to use albacore tuna salad! Here are just a few ideas to spark your imagination:
- Serve it inside a sandwich, croissant, pita, or tortilla wrap.
- Make a tuna melt with your favorite bread and cheese.
- Fill iceberg, romaine, or butter lettuce with tuna salad.
- Add it to a spring salad or bed of greens.
- Serve it as-is with a side of roasted or fresh vegetables.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, feel free to use canned salmon instead of tuna in this recipe for a change in flavor.
Yes, you can make albacore tuna salad without mayonnaise. Instead, use all sour cream or Greek yogurt. You can also try mashed avocado, mustard, or hummus.
To keep your albacore tuna salad fresh, follow these simple storage tips:
- Fridge: Store albacore tuna salad in an airtight container for 2-3 days in the fridge. I find it tastes even better the next day when all the flavors have had time to meld together.
- Freezer: I don’t recommend freezing this recipe because the taste and texture will vary too much once thawed.
- Different herbs: Experiment with other herbs such as cilantro, basil, or oregano.
- Fruit: Try adding chopped fruit for a touch of sweetness. Some options include crispy apples, red or green grapes, or pears.
- Nuts: For an extra crunch, mix in some chopped nuts like almonds, pecans, or cashews.
- Sauce: Create a different texture and flavor by using Greek yogurt or mashed avocado instead of mayo and sour cream.
- Quality tuna: Opt for the best quality tuna you can find as it really does affect the overall taste and texture of the recipe.
- Dice evenly: Chop all the vegetables evenly, and make sure they are about the same size. This evenly disperses flavors all throughout the salad.
- Drain the tuna: Make sure you drain the tuna well before mixing it with the vegetables and the sauce.
- Let it chill: If you can, it’s best to let the salad sit in the fridge for at least 15 minutes, but preferably longer to marinate the flavors.
Looking for more seafood recipes?
If you enjoyed this albacore tuna salad recipe, be sure to check out some more of my favorite seafood dishes like these:
If you try this albacore tuna salad recipe, let me know what you think! Rate and review this recipe in the comments below. Don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog!
Albacore Tuna Salad
Sweet Pickled Onions
- 1 small red onion halved and thinly sliced
- ¾ cup water
- 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
Creamy Herb Dressing
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons shallot finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon dill finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon tarragon finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6.7 oz yellowfin tuna in oil (I use Tonnino)
- 5 ribs celery cut diagonally
- ½ medium fennel bulb thinly sliced
- 3 Persian cucumbers cut diagonally
- 2 stems tarragon torn
- 2 stems dill torn
- 2 tablespoons parsley finely chopped
- 1 lemon zested
- ¼ lemon juiced
- 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
Sweet Pickled Onions
- Cut the onion in half. Then slice thinly, rinse until warm water, then add to a small bowl.
- In a small saucepan add water, rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and pour the liquid on the onions and let sit for 15 mins on the counter to quick pickle wile you prep the rest of the salad.
Creamy Herb Dressing
- Add the sour cream, mayonnaise, buttermilk, lemon juice, finely chopped shallot, herbs, garlic powder and salt into a bowl, mix well together and set aside.
- Cut the cucumbers in half, scoop out the seeds with a spoon or a melon scooper, then slice diagonally into ½ inch pieces. Trim the celery ribs and cut them diagonally into ½ inch pieces. Cut the fennel in half, cut out the core and thinly slice.
- Add the veggies into a mixing bowl, then add the lemon zest, rip the dill and tarragon into the bowl, chop the parsley and add in the bowl. Add the tuna from the jar and break it into smaller pieces. Add the remaining oil form the tuna, squeeze ¼ of lemon and add flaky sea salt. Gently toss together.
- Add the creamy dressing to a serving platter. Spread into a thin layer. Top with the tuna salad and enjoy. Serve on it’s own or with toasted bread.
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