Healthy Tuna Melts served open faced on crispy whole wheat bread with sliced tomatoes, creamy tuna salad, and plenty of melted cheese. The diner classic - lightened up. Jump to Recipe
The classic tuna melt is a diner staple that has been around for years. It's one of those simple recipes with just a few components but all together, something magical happens. Crispy bread, creamy tuna salad, tomatoes, and melted cheese - I am getting hungry just thinking about it.
Now the key to any good tuna melt is the tuna salad itself. This recipe uses this simple Healthy Tuna Salad recipe to start things off. It's made with a combination of Greek yogurt and mayonnaise and studded with celery since every good tuna melt needs some crunch. It's perfectly creamy and packed with flavor. Normally I will whip up a batch of tuna for easy lunches during the week and inevitably we end up having tuna melts at least once. They are a favorite.
Once you have the tuna salad, there are a few critical decisions to make next. First comes the bread. Any bread will work but it needs to be either toasted or grilled for some good crunch. To keep things light and healthy, I like to make an open-faced tuna melt. Normally I use a whole grain bread (regular or reduced calorie) or an English muffin.
Next comes the veggies. Some people add tons of veggies to their tuna melts, but I am more of a purist and just like a few slices of tomato. With that said, I know people who like to add red onions, arugula, pickles, spinach, and all kinds of other stuff. Get as creative as you like.
Last up is the cheese. A classic tuna melt will use either cheddar cheese or Swiss cheese. However, anything will work! For mine, I used a combination of white and yellow cheddar since that is what I had at home. My other favorite option is pepper jack to add some spice.
How do you make healthy tuna salad?
It's impossible to make a really tasty tuna melt without starting with a really good tuna salad. To make a simple and classic tuna salad, here's the basic recipe I use. It's lightened up with some Greek yogurt and doesn't have any bells and whistles. Just straight forward, delicious tuna.
- 15 oz canned tuna
- 1/4 cup celery, chopped
- 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
- 3 tbsp reduced fat mayonnaise
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp celery seed
- Directions: Mix together the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Stir in the tuna and celery. Taste and season as needed. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving if possible.
What to serve with Tuna Melts
There are so many options for side dishes for tuna melts - soup, salad, chips, fries, cut up veggies, and pickles are some of the classic options that come to mind. Here are some of our favorites:
- Instead of reaching for a bag of potato chips, why not make these easy Baked Potato Chips? They are so good and surprisingly easy to make. These Microwave Veggie Chips are another good option.
- Since this reminds me of a grilled cheese, I always think about tomato soup for a side dish. It's really yummy with this Spicy Roasted Tomato and Corn Soup.
- When you get this in a diner, it pretty much always comes with fries. At home, you can keep things light and healthy with these Crispy Turnip Fries.
- Add greens with a big salad like this Healthy Kale Caesar.
Tips for Making a Healthy Tuna Melt
This is one of those recipes that can serve as a basic blueprint and you can mix up any way you like. Try it out with different bread, cheese, veggies, and spices. Try making it a different type of tuna salad like this one with egg or this one with cranberries. Get creative and experiment,
- For a grilled tuna melt, you will want to make it more like a grilled cheese. Start by buttering the bread on one side. Add a layer of cheese, the tuna, tomatoes, another layer of cheese, and the second piece of buttered bread. Cook in a hot skillet for 3-5 minutes per side. Flip carefully when the bread is browned and the cheese is melting. You can keep things lighter here by making an open-faced grilled tuna melt. Simply grill one piece of bread in a skillet. Add the tomatoes, tuna, and cheese and place under the broiler (or in toaster oven) for a couple of minutes to melt the cheese.
- For a tuna melt without mayo, just use all Greek yogurt in the tuna salad recipe. You could also replace the mayo with mashed avocado or hummus.
- For a vegetarian tuna melt, replace the tuna with some lightly mashed chickpeas or a vegan tuna.
- To make a tuna melt on an English muffin, start by toasting the English muffin halves. Add your tomatoes, tuna, and cheese and place under the broiler or in a toaster oven to melt the cheese.
- Make sure to toast the bread before adding the tuna since it will get soggy quickly if not.
- Add flavor to your tuna melt by adding ingredients to your tuna salad. Add some jalapenos to make it spicy, some pickles for a sour tang, some carrots or grapes for sweetness, or fresh herbs like chives or dill to brighten things up.
- To make a low carb tuna melt, use the tomato slices as the bread and make bite sized tuna melts.
Healthy Tuna Melt
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- 4 U slices wheat bread (any bread will work)
- 1 U tomato, sliced
- 1 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese (or any cheese)
- 10 oz canned tuna
- 1/4 cup celery, chopped
- 2 tbsp nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp reduced fat mayonnaise
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp celery seed
- Salt and pepper
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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