Tuna salad with grapes… my favorite unconventional way to reap the benefits of seafood!
Confession: I don’t eat raw celery.
Cooked celery is great, but raw celery makes my throat terribly itchy and inflamed. I kid you not. (Oral allergy syndrome is a dietitian’s worst nightmare!).
One of my biggest pet peeves is when I’m at a supermarket, cafeteria, salad bar, or a sandwich shop, and all of the pre-made ready-to-eat tuna salad (and chicken salad too, for that matter) is LOADED with raw celery.
I mean, come on! Can’t they switch it up once in a while?
Okay, rant over. Celery aside…
There are infinite ways to enjoy tuna salad!
Tuna salad is timeless as a lunch or dinner. Whether we have it traditionally in a sub, grilled into a sandwich melt, as a wrap, topped over salad greens, or as a dip with some crackers/veggies, we really can’t go wrong.
Don’t eat tuna? No problem!
If you’re vegetarian/vegan or you don’t like tuna, just swap the tuna for chickpeas!
Now, let’s talk ingredients.
Tuna health benefits
Tuna is a great pescetarian source of complete protein, and it also gives us a nice dose of heart-healthy omega-3 fats, which are pretty tough to get enough of in the diet without taking supplements.
Most of us are actually walking around “functionally low” in omega-3 fatty acids and we don’t even realize it! I was actually one of those people at one point, even with taking an omega-3 fish oil supplement almost everyday according to my blood test a few years ago!
We need more omega-3’s than we think…
When we don’t get enough omega-3 fats, we’re more prone depression (1, 2), inflammation (3, 4, 5), heart-related issues (6) and so much more! Inflammation is actually an invisible root cause which plays a major contributing role in atherosclerosis (hardening of blood vessels), and omega-3’s are something that can really make a big difference in helping to reducing/preventing atherosclerosis (6, 7). Of course adding in more lifestyle factors will help too!
Tuna and fish versus plant-based food sources of omega-3’s
There are lots of ways to consume omega-3 fats, but animal sources of omega-3’s are considered more bio-available (readily used by the body) compared to their plant-based counterparts. (Those include flax seeds, walnuts and chia seeds to name a few.)
All of the above omega-3 food sources are wonderful though, and some is better than none!
Okay, let’s talk about mayo…
Avocado-based mayo benefits:
I loooove avocado oil because it’s especially generous in heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fats! These are another kind of essential fat which the body can’t make on its own. Mono-unsaturated fats are different from omega 3’s, which are a type of POLY-unsaturated fat.
Omega-6’s in “mainstream” mayo: food for thought
You may notice that canola, soybean, vegetable and corn oils are often the go-to ingredient for most versions of mayo, because these oils are MUCH cheaper than avocado or olive oil. These oils contain primarily omega-6 fats, which are also considered poly-unsaturated and technically essential.
Aren’t omega-6 fats considered “healthy”?
It’s true that we can’t make omega-6 fats on our own, so we need to get them from food.
The caveat is that most of us on a “Standard American Diet” tend to get at least 2X the amount of omega-6 fats we need each day (I actually observe this first-hand in my clients’ blood work close to 100% of the time when I test levels omega 3’s & 6’s), so I like to switch it up when I can.
We use mayo pretty often at my house so my prerogative is to go for the avocado-based option at home. I just share this as an FYI because most people have no idea. Either way, if you’re out enjoying yourself at a restaurant or on special occasions… don’t sweat it! 😉
Tuna salad with grapes!
On a more positive note, I once discovered a REALLY amazing fuji apple cranberry tuna salad delicacy from Whole Foods, and again (like the mayo), I never looked back! It was incredible.
I never would have imagined that dried cranberries and apples would go with tuna! But it was pretty fantastic and it inspired me to come up with my own version of tuna salad, using grapes.
(We made this recipe half a dozen times in the last week trying to perfect before sharing it with you!) I’m sure my blood levels of omega-3 fats are now on point (if they weren’t before). 😉
Enjoy, and if you get the chance to try this recipe, please let me know in the comments how yours turned out!
Tuna Salad with Grapes
- 4 cans tuna (5-oz. each) - may also sub tuna for chickpeas
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (avocado-based mayo is recommended!)
- 1/2 cup fresh grapes (washed and sliced into halves)
- 3 tbsp chopped scallions
- 2 tbsp raw honey
- 2 tbsp chopped pecans (optional)
- Strain all liquid out of tuna completely.
- Mix tuna, mayo and honey in a large mixing bowl.
- Add all remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly.
- Enjoy right away, or store in sealed Tupperware container for 1 to 2 days in the refrigerator.
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