Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Recipe for Canned Tuna and Tomato Salad with Sunflower Seeds

This salad is a great Phase One lunch with a lot of my favorite flavors!

Since we're working our way through a Month of Daily Phase One recipes, it seemed like a good time for me to update this favorite lunch salad of mine, which was lounging around in the recipe archives without a single photo since 2005.  I've made it plenty of times since then, even improving on the original recipe a bit, and finally got around to snapping a few pictures!  As I made this I thought about the name of the salad, realizing that when it comes out of a can I used to call it "tuna fish" but now I call it "canned tuna."  For this salad I use my favorite tuna packed in olive oil, Cherubs salad tomatoes from Costco, and dry-roasted sunflower seeds, and it's something I'd happily eat for lunch most any day.

No matter what kind of tuna (or tuna fish!) you use, make sure it's well drained before you mix it with the other ingredients.

I prefer Romaine lettuce for this, torn apart and washed in a salad spinner.

I just cut the tomatoes in half, but you can cut them smaller if you prefer.

Through the years I've decided that some chopped capers and thinly sliced green onions are a great addition to the tuna mixture.

Mix together Ranch Dressing and your favorite vinaigrette to make the dressing.

After the tuna has drained, mix it with 3 T of the dressing, chopped capers, and sliced green onion.

Toss the lettuce with enough dressing to moisten it, then toss with the tuna mixture.

Put the salad in a serving bowl and top with tomatoes and sunflower seeds.

Tuna Fish and Tomato Salad with Sunflower Seeds
(makes 2-4 servings, depending on what else is served with it)

1 can tuna, drained very well (I used my favorite tuna packed in olive oil)
6-8 cups romaine lettuce (1-2 large heads)
3 small tomatoes or a handful of cherry tomatoes, diced in medium sized pieces
1 T capers, chopped
2 T thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/4 cup Ranch dressing
1/4 cup your favorite Vinaigrette dressing

Put the tuna in a small strainer and let it drain well while you prep the other ingredients.  Tear lettuce, wash well in salad spinner and spin until dry (or dry with paper towels if you don't have a salad spinner).  Cut the tomatoes, chop capers, and thinly slice green onions.

Mix ranch and vinaigrette dressing.  Put the drained tuna into a small bowl, and mix about 3 tablespoons of the dressing into the tuna, then mix in capers and green onions.

Put the washed and dried lettuce into a large salad bowl and toss with enough dressing to moisten the lettuce.  (You may not need all the dressing.)  Add tuna mixture and toss with the lettuce.  Add tomatoes and sunflower seeds to the top of the salad and serve.

If you're making this to take for lunches, mix the tuna, dressing, capers, and green onions and keep the mixture in the fridge.  Don't toss the rest of the salad together until right before you eat it.  The tuna mixture will stay good in the fridge for close to a week.

South Beach Suggestions:
Use salad dressing with minimal sugar to make this salad if you're using bottled salad dressing.   This salad is a good lunch choice for any phase of the South Beach Diet.

More Tasty Phase One Ideas with Tuna:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Tuna Salad Lettuce Wraps with Capers and Tomatoes from Kalyn's Kitchen
Garden Cucumber Salad with Tuna and Sweet Basil from Kalyn's Kitchen
White Bean Salad with Tuna and Parsley from Kalyn's Kitchen
Spicy Tuna and Avocado Ceviche from The Perfect Pantry
Grilled Tuna Kabobs from Simply Recipes
Herbed Tuna Salad with Feta and Pine Nuts from Pinch My Salt
Italian Marrow Beans with Tuna Salad from The Kitchn
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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More to Chew On:


  1. I thought this recipe with the tomatoes was the perfect opportunity to rub it in that I'm already harvesting tomatoes from my garden. We may have traffic in LA, but we also have tomatoes very early. :)

  2. I would never think to use sunflower seeds in a salad like this -- what a great idea! And I love that tuna from Costco, too. So flavorful.

  3. What a wonderful idea for lunch. I'm a huge tuna fan and often opt for tuna and white beans, but this a perfect change of pace.

    Thanks so much!

  4. Okay, I'll admit here that I don't really like canned tuna but my baby boy - who comes back home on Sunday - LOVES it and he'd love this salad. I love the addition of sunflower seeds.

  5. We have a ton of tuna fish from stocking up for hurricane Irene...I think I have enough to make this beautiful salad at least once a week for the next year!

  6. This look delicious Kalyn! We are tuna lovers in my household so I'm sure this will be a big hit!

  7. So happy that people are seeing the appeal of this simple salad. I could eat it over and over and not get tired of it.

  8. I never know what to do with canned tuna, but this sounds perfect!!

  9. Thanks Deborah. I love this for lunch!

  10. Oh, this looks great! And canned tuna in oil is something I usually forget to buy, along with the tuna in water. Capers are so good with tuna, and I'm delighted you included them. And the sunflower seeds are inspired - can't wait to make this! Many thanks,

  11. This looks so good....love the idea of combining the 2 dressings. I have a friend who visits from Italy several times a year, and keeps me well stocked with their canned tuna which is packed in EVOO. I'll be trying this this weekend.
    Thanks Kalyn!

  12. Katrina, capers and sunflower seeds make the salad, in my opinion!

    Barb, lucky you to have a source for real Italian tuna! I've only had it a few times but it is so good.

  13. I made this tonight simply because I wanted something fast. I was feeling like a no effort night and this came very close with just a little prep. I added a can of chickpeas. I really loved this!!!! Will definitely make again. Even discovered that my 3-year-old likes chickpeas! :-) Mommy score!

  14. Good morning! I have featured this recipe on my blog today for my weekly seafood round-up and have linked this recipe to your original post so that my readers will be forwarded to your site. Thank you for allowing me to share! Here is the link: http://carriesexperimentalkitchen.blogspot.com/2012/09/seafood-frenzy-friday-week-36.html


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