Try this Spicy Tuna Stack for a refreshing fusion of flavors and textures, perfect for impressing dinner guests or serving on date nights! Featuring ahi tuna, avocado, cucumber, and spicy Kewpie mayo, each bite is rich, savory, and crisp. There is no need to fumble around with attempting to roll sushi when you can make this quick and easy deconstructed sushi recipe!Jump to Recipe
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Rich in flavor: This recipe showcases bold ingredients like ahi tuna, spicy mayo, and pickled ginger. Once combined, the flavors and textural elements are perfectly balanced.
- Easy to prepare: Spicy tuna stacks only take 15 minutes from start to finish. Plus, virtually no cooking is required, making this a great appetizer for the summer months.
- Healthy: With ingredients like sushi-grade tuna and fresh vegetables, this recipe is high in protein and essential vitamins and minerals.
- Stunning: The layered presentation never fails to impress guests! Your friends and family won’t believe their eyes when you place this spicy tuna stack in front of them.
Watch how to make these Spicy Tuna Stack
Simple spicy tuna stack
A spicy tuna stack is an absolutely show-stopping dish with flavors and ingredients inspired by spicy tuna sushi rolls. My favorite part about this recipe is how easy it is to achieve a restaurant-quality dish in a no-fuss, deconstructed way.
Each one combines layers of ahi tuna, creamy avocado, crunchy cucumbers, and tender sushi rice. The spicy mayonnaise adds a perfect kick, which ties the whole dish together beautifully.
Tuna stacks don’t just look visually appealing either! The vibrant ingredients make it taste incredibly flavorful and delicious. Serve spicy tuna stacks chilled as an appetizer or light meal alongside recipes like hamachi crudo, salmon sashimi, Asian cucumber salad, and wakame.
Ingredients & substitutions
- Ahi tuna: Provides a mild, tender, and rich taste. Make sure to source sushi-grade tuna from a reputable fishmonger. You can also use options like sushi-grade albacore tuna, salmon, or mahi-mahi, depending on availability.
- Soy sauce: For a savory, umami addition to complement the richness of the tuna. If you are sensitive to gluten, use tamari, liquid aminos, or gluten-free soy sauce.
- Sesame oil: Imparts a subtle nutty element, enhancing the taste of the fish. For a fresh recipe like this spicy tuna stack, I suggest a quality, 100% pure sesame oil brand.
- Jalapeño: I love to throw in some jalapeños for a subtle spice. If you prefer a mild dish, half or omit the chiles altogether.
- Pickled ginger: Adds sweet, spicy, and tangy notes. No pickled ginger available? Substitute it with fresh ginger for a similar result.
- Green onions: Offer a mild onion flavor without being overpowering. You can also try chives if you don’t have any green onions.
- Sesame seeds: Provides an extra nutty taste and the perfect crunch. Use white sesame, black sesame, or a mixture of both.
- Filling: For a classic spicy tuna flavor, use crisp Persian or English cucumbers, buttery avocados, sticky sushi rice, and nori (seaweed sheets). Find more information on how to prepare sushi rice further down in this post.
- Japanese mayo: Popularly known as Kewpie mayo, this Japanese condiment is thicker, sweeter, tangier, and more savory than regular mayo. Look for it at Asian food markets or online, or replace it with regular mayo in a pinch.
- Sriracha: For a sweet-yet-spicy element that creates a quintessential spicy tuna roll flavor. Adjust the amount based on your spice tolerance.
- Lime juice: Brings a tangy and bright element to the spicy mayo. Make sure it’s freshly squeezed for the best flavor!
How to make a spicy tuna stack
- Marinate the tuna: Toss the chopped tuna in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, jalapeño, pickled ginger, green onions, and sesame seeds to infuse flavor.
- Prep the filling: Chop the cucumbers and avocado into bite-size pieces that are similar to the tuna cubes. Season both of them separately with a pinch of salt.
- Assemble the stacks: In a measuring cup, add a layer of tuna followed by cucumber, avocado, and sushi rice. Press down gently to flatten the rice and ensure the stack doesn’t fall apart, then flip the cup onto a serving plate. If you have access, a tall, round food mold works beautifully for this. Just add the ingredients in the reverse order!
- Drizzle with spicy mayo: For the final touch, combine your Kewpie mayo, Sriracha, soy sauce, and lime juice and add a drizzle over top of the spicy tuna stack. Sprinkle each one with extra sesame seeds, nori, wonton chips, or whatever else you’d like.
How to make sushi rice
If you’re new to making sushi rice, it’s a straightforward process requiring just a few steps. First, rinse some Japanese short-grain rice until the water runs clean. Since it’s very starchy, rinsing is the most essential step and can’t be skipped.
If you have a rice cooker, it’s best to prepare the rice in there. If not, use a heavy-bottomed pot with a lid. For true sushi rice, you need to season it with a blend of dissolved sugar, salt, and rice vinegar. You can also buy sushi vinegar at the store for more convenience.
When the rice has cooked, spread it out on a shallow dish like a baking tray and gently combine it with the vinegar mixture using a spatula. Let the rice cool slightly before using it in recipes like this spicy tuna stack.
Frequently asked questions
The best way to tell if tuna is sushi grade is by looking for a label on the package that says “sashimi-grade” or “sushi fish” at a reputable fish market or grocery store.
You can use any sticky short-grain rice for this spicy tuna stack recipe. Short-grain brown rice will also work, but varieties like jasmine or basmati are not recommended.
Of course! Feel free to use store-bought spicy mayo if it’s easier for you.
When dealing with fresh, uncooked fish, it’s essential to follow strict storage guidelines. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Fridge: Store the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 24 hours. It’s not recommended to store fresh tuna for longer than that.
- Freezer: I don’t suggest freezing sashimi-grade tuna as the taste, texture, and safety margin will change too much upon thawing.
- Prep ahead: You can prepare the mixture ahead of time and stir the spicy mayo together. Just keep everything in the fridge in airtight containers, then assemble the stacks right before serving.
- Salmon stack: Replace tuna with sushi-grade salmon.
- Vegetarian stack: Use mushrooms or tofu in place of tuna.
- Shrimp stack: Try cooking shrimp and using it instead of ahi tuna.
- Chill the ingredients: Keep the ingredients chilled until you’re ready to serve.
- Press gently: To help each layer hold its shape, remember to press down gently in the measuring cup. Just don’t overdo it as you don’t want to smoosh everything.
- Assemble immediately before serving: For the best flavor and texture, assemble the stacks just before serving so they remain fresh.
Looking for more appetizers?
If you enjoyed this spicy tuna stack recipe, be sure to check out some more raw food favorites like these:
If you try this Spicy Tuna Stack, 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!
Quick & Easy Spicy Tuna Stack
- ½ pound ahi tuna sushi-grade, cubed
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ small jalapeno seeds removed and finely chopped (optional)
- 2 tablespoons pickled ginger finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons green onions chopped
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1 cup Persian cucumbers cubed
- 1 avocado cubed
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 2 cups sushi rice cooked and chilled
- 2 nori sheets cut into strips for serving
- In a bowl add chopped tuna, soy sauce, sesame oil, chopped jalapeno (if using), chopped pickled ginger, chopped green onions, and sesame seeds. Gently toss them together to combine.
- Prep the Persian cucumbers and avocado by chopping them into small cubes (keep a similar size to the salmon). Add each to a small bowl and season the cucumbers and avocado separately with the kosher salt.
- Using a 1 cup measuring cup, add a few spoonfuls of the tuna mixture, then cucumber, avocado, and then top with rice. Gently press it down so the rice is flattened.
- To make the spicy mayonnaise, in a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sriracha, soy sauce, and lime juice, mix well to combine and taste it if you want it spicier, add more sriracha.
Assemble the Tuna Stacks
- Gently flip over the measuring cup to a serving plate. Repeat the tuna stacks until all 4 are assembled. Drizzle with spicy mayo on top of all 4 stacks, and top with sesame seeds. Serve as an appetizer, with nori sheets or you can also make wonton chips to serve with the stacks.
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