Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Recipe for Tuna Mousse or Spuma di Tonno

Tuna MousseTuna packed in olive oil was one of the tastes of 2007 that I went completely nuts over. I found Tonno Genova brand which was inexpensive compared to the Italian imports, and pretty soon I was using it regularly. I liked this tuna every time I tried it in a recipe, so when I saw a post on Sweetnicks where she was using tuna packed in olive oil to make a type of spread for crackers, I was sure Tuna Mousse was something I'd absolutely love. Besides my favorite tuna, there were some other flavors added to the mix that I thought sounded interesting. I made it during the holidays this year, and thought it was completely delicious.

Now I hear there's a big football game coming up. To say that I'm not really a football fan would be an understatement. (I confess that I had to check Google to see who's playing.) But while I'm not that big on football, I do like parties, and this dip strikes me as a pretty South Beach friendly snack to eat while you're watching the big game. In the photo I served it with high-fiber 100% whole wheat crackers, but I think it would be great as a dip with whole wheat pita chips or crudites too. If you like tuna and you're looking for an unusual appetizer for your game-day party, give it a try.

Tuna Mousse or Spuma di Tonno
(Makes about 1 cup, recipe adapted slightly from Tuna Mousse found on Sweetnicks. Edit: This recipe was originally created by David Shalleck for his cookbook Mediterranean Summer, and he granted permission for it to be used by Michael Chiorello. Thank you to David Shalleck for correcting that information.)

1 can tuna packed in olive oil (7 oz.)
4 tsp. mayo (recipe called for soft butter)
1 T half and half (recipe called for cream, which I didn't have)
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar (I like Fini balsamic vinegar)
2 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste (I didn't use much salt)

Put tuna in a food processor and pulse a few times to break up the tuna. Add mayo (or butter), half and half (or cream), vinegar, and soy sauce and blend until smooth. Scrape sides of the bowl if needed, then add lemon juice and pulse a few more times. Taste to see if you want to add salt, and season with salt and pepper as desired. Serve at room temperature, with crackers, toasted pita chips, or crudites. Can be refrigerated for a few days, but let come to room temperature before serving.

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South Beach Suggestions:
Even if you used the butter and cream this recipe called for, they're in such small amounts that I would still consider this to be South Beach Diet friendly. Serve it with crudites like celery, red peppers, or cucumbers for phase one. For phase 2 or 3 you could use 100% whole wheat crackers or pita chips. (Check the label as sometimes it will say "wheat flour" which is really just white flour. It should say 100% whole wheat or whole wheat.)

More Bloggers Raving over Tuna Mousse:
Spreadable Tuna Mousse from David Lebovitz (Scroll down for Tuna Mousse recipe.) I saw David's post long after I made the tuna mousse. David credited the recipe to David Shalleck's cookbook Mediterranean Summer . (This was edited 1-22-08 - As I mentioned above, thanks to Mr. Shalleck for letting us know in the comments who should get credit for this wonderful recipe.)

More Delicious Options for Tuna Packed in Olive Oil:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Tuna Stuffed Avocado Salad with Tomatoes, Cilantro, and Lime
White Bean Salad with Tuna and Parsley
Garbanzo and Tuna Salad with Parsley and Red Pepper
Tuna Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Parsley, and Basil
Linguine with Arugula, Tuna, and Hot Pepper from What Did You Eat
Pasta with Tuna, Arugula and Hot Pepper from Simply Recipes
Herbed Balsamic Tuna Salad from Gluten-Free Bay
Pasta Shells with Italian Tuna and Artichokes from Blue Kitchen
White Bean Salad with Tuna and Artichoke Hearts from Champaign Taste
Tuna-Artichoke Panini from The Domestic Goddess
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More to Chew On:


  1. That's a good idea for a party! I think it would be great to pair it with fresh vegetables as well.


  2. yum! i made bean dip this weekend that i fully plan on recreating if i get invited to any superbowl parties. :-)

  3. Kalyn-


    My name is David Shalleck. I am the author of Mediterranean Summer. The credit for Spuma di Tonno, if you don't mind, is in need of correction. I am the original creator of the recipe and granted it's use with a credit proviso for use in a NapaStyle cookbook when I worked there. You can see the recipe headnote under a recipe title search on their website. The recipe is a signature of mine, and although I have no control of ingredient quantity and method changes, I believe credit to source derivation is a warranted request. In addition, the truest form of the recipe is what's in my book, Mediterranean Summer.
    Thank you for your cooperation and liking the recipe.

    If you'd like to contact me or if I can provide anything else, my e-mail address is david@volochef.com.

    Congratulations with your site. It is very impressive.

    And if you haven't already, enjoy my book... check out the mediterraneansummer.com site to see more about it!


    David S.

  4. Gay, I could eat this plain it was so good, but yes, it would be great on veggies.

    Katy, hooray for Superbowl parties.

    David, thanks so much for leaving a comment to let me know this was your recipe. I always want to give proper credit to recipes, especially something so unusual and delicious as this. I've edited the post to reflect you are originator of the recipe, and I will definitely check out your cookbook to see what other great ideas you have.

  5. Glad you like the recipe as much as we do. I first saw it on an episode of Michael Chairello's Food Network show, Easy Entertaining. Deliciously addicting stuff and so easy - my kind of recipe. ;)

  6. Hi Kayln,

    I think Genova tuna is great too! So moist and wonderful. Great mixed in with brown rice spaghetti, peas, red pepper, and grape tomatoes!

    Anyways, I never have half and half or cream at home...do you think it would work to substitute cream cheese or soy milk instead?

    I want to try some of fat free vegan's garbanzo crackers with this tuna (sorry for the omni combo, vegetarians!).

    Thanks, Kalyn!

  7. M, what a brilliant idea to pair this with the garbanzo crackers. I love the sound of that and it would be great for South Beach too. Yes, I think you could use soy milk if it was plain or even more mayo or butter either one. It might be slightly thicker, but probably still good.

  8. This sounds really good! I have never had tuna as a mousse before. I have used the tasty tuna, mayo and soy sauce combination many times. The addition of balsamic vinegar an lemon juice sounds nice.

  9. Just wanted to say that I love your new banner! I am not sure how long you have had it up, but I popped on to check out details for WHB and was very impressed.

  10. Kalyn,

    This recipe reminded me of a great spicy tuna dip from Carlos and Charlies Restaurant (it was located in Santa Monica - don't know if it was a chain.)

    I found this at CD Kitchen.

    --Tuna Dip Recipes
    --C - Copy Cat Restaurant Recipes

    14 ounces Tuna, undrained
    6 ounces Jalapenos, undrained
    1 Onion, diced
    1/2 cup Mayonnaise
    Tortilla chips

    Mix tuna, jalapenos, and onion in food processor, adding mayonnaise to desired consistency. Garnish with cilantro and serve with tortilla chips.

    It is truly "to die for!" It had a lovely smooth consistency and was addictive.

  11. Kevin I thought the small amount of soy sauce, lemon, and balsamic vinegar really created an interesting flavor combo.

    Sanda-LA, thanks for sharing. I'll definitely try this one too.

  12. Oops, didn't mean to miss you Gretchen. Thanks, it's my talented brother Rand who does the banners and he changed to this one last week.

  13. Love the new banner, Kalyn: kudos to Rand. Spuma di tonno is great: it's about time I try and make it. Thanks for the recipe.

  14. Yes--I use Tonno all the time. It's wonderful--and inexpensive. This looks fabulous.

  15. This is such a versatile dish. You can eat it like a mousse, use it as a dip, top it on crakers or even use as a spread. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Ooooh, this sounds good! No football here, though. I suppose I could eat it while watching cricket...
    I love tuna and I have finally found the good stuff, here!

  17. I supposes I could munch on this while watching the Food Network!!!!

  18. Kalyn, are those the South Beach brand wheat crackers pictured, or something else? I'm always on the lookout for 100% whole wheat crackers, so I'm curious what type these are. Thanks!

  19. Zoe, I just tried the South Beach crackers for the first time and they were good (but what a tiny little package that they're calling a serving.) I can't remember what brand these were, but they were 100% whole wheat and quite a bit of fiber. I thought they were great when I got them, but on Saturday I compared them with the South Beach crackers and the South Beach ones were a lot better. I'll try to remember to check on the brand of these at the store.

  20. I love Patricia Wells' recipe for tuna mousse-4 tbsp soft butter, 1 6 oz. can tonno in olive oil,lemon juice, lemon zest, dried oregano,one clove minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste. puulse all ingredients in a food processor, serve with crostini.

  21. Athina, I'm sure Patricia Wells' version is delicious, but all that butter wouldn't work for South Beach dieters. Thanks for sharing though for others who might like to try it.

  22. I made this for a snack today with some Kashi crackers and it is so yummy! I substitute cream cheese for the mayo and lemon pepper seasoning for the salt and pepper. Very tasty indeed.

  23. This was soooo good! With the ingredients in the tuna mousse, it somehow tasted like tuna and toast all at once . . . even though I served the mousse on cucumbers and not bread. I just threw it together with what I had on hand: a 12 oz. can of water-packed tuna, a tablespoon or two of olive oil to make up for the missing olive oil in the can, 3 tablespoons of butter (I didn't have cream or half and half), 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, 4 teaspoons coconut aminos in lieu of soy sauce (we don't eat soy), and 4 teaspoons of lemon juice.

    So delicious and so easy, and the texture is awesome! I have been desperately hunting easy recipes that work with my food restrictions, as I have an 8-week-old son and have little free time to make food right now. I'm already daydreaming about more tuna mousse. :)

  24. Sally, so glad you enjoyed it so much!


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