Healthy Tuna Salad

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Healthy tuna salad made Greek yogurt, crunchy celery, and the perfect amount of seasoning makes a quick and easy meal that's good for you and tastes amazing. Jump to Recipe keyboard_arrow_down

183 CALORIES 2g CARBS 7g FAT 27g PROTEIN
1
Freestyle™ SmartPoints™ New!
(4 PointsPlus®)

This healthier tuna salad recipe takes all the flavors of a classic tuna salad but in a lighter, healthier version that uses Greek yogurt. Make sandwiches, salads, or lettuce wraps for an easy, healthy meal.  It's a great quick meal for lunches along with this Healthy Curry Chicken Salad and Tuna Egg Salad.

When it comes to quick and healthy lunches, tuna salad ranks up there as one of my favorites. With the creamy dressing made from the perfect combination of Greek yogurt and mayonnaise, the perfect amount of crunch from celery, and just a touch of lemon juice for brightness - this healthy version of tuna salad is one my whole family loves.

Since we all like our tuna salad a little different, I usually make up a big batch of this classic tuna salad and then let everyone add in their favorites. I like mine with fresh chopped jalapenos and carrots for tons of crunch. My kids like to add some dill pickles. My Dad adds tons of black pepper and my Mom tends to go for the classic option. However you like it, this basic recipe is the best place to start for the best healthy tuna salad.

How long is tuna salad good for?

If you store your tuna salad in an airtight container, it will last for 3-4 days in the fridge. The veggies will get less crunchy each day, so if you plan on making this in advance, you may want to pack veggies like celery, carrots, or cucumbers on the side.

What can I mix with tuna instead of mayo?

For making a tuna salad without mayonnaise, there are a few different options depending on your dietary needs. The most common substitute is using Greek yogurt. Personally, I don't like using all Greek yogurt because it gets too tangy. Instead, I use a combination of Greek yogurt and mayonnaise. You could use a combination of Greek yogurt and sour cream as well if you don't want to use mayo.

Another dairy-free option is to swap in mashed avocado for the mayo. Make sure to season the avocado with salt and pepper to make sure it has plenty of flavor. You could also use vegan mayo for a dairy free option.

Is tuna salad healthy?

Generally speaking - yes. Tuna salad, especially this healthy version, is packed with lean protein and Omega 3 fatty acids. One concern with classic tuna salad is the mayonnaise, which is high in saturated fats and calorie. This version uses Greek yogurt instead. The other main concern with tuna salad is mercury, but as long as you are not eating it daily, most experts believe eating tuna in moderation is fine for most people.

Healthy tuna salad on a lettuce wrap and in a bowl with pita bread.

How to Serve Healthy Tuna Salad

There are so many different ways to serve tuna salad, these are my favorites.

  • Serve it open-faced on two slices of toast with lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, and red onions. Melt some cheese on top for an open-faced tuna melt.
  • Hollow out some tomatoes or cucumbers and fill them with this healthy tuna salad for a low carb option.
  • Grab a big bowl of greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and carrots and then top with tuna for a great salad option. 
  • Pack for lunches with some lettuce wraps, low carb tortilla, pita bread, or crackers on the side.
  • Double the dressing and create a quick and healthy tuna pasta salad. Add some extra veggies like cucumber and carrots for crunch and color.

Recipes Ideas for Healthy Tuna Salad

  • Add eggs: For a southern style tuna salad, consider add chopped hard boiled eggs and chopped dill pickles. 
  • Add chickpeas: One of my favorite things to add to tuna salad is chickpeas. Not only does it make it more filling with fiber and protein, the flavors just work, Trust me -you want to try this.
  • Pickles or relish: Another classic tuna salad addition is chopped dill pickles or a few spoonfuls of relish. You can use sweet or sour relish, whatever taste you prefer.
  • Make it spicy: For a spicy tuna salad, add some chopped jalapenos to the mix. Fresh or pickled jalapenos work. You could also use spicy mustard or a few squirts of Sriracha.
  • Add extra veggies: Add crunch and nutrients to your tuna salad with extra veggies like carrots, cucumbers, cabbage, or red onion.
  • Avocado: This salad can be made with avocado instead of the mayonnaise and Greek yogurt. You could also stir in chopped avocado for some additional healthy fats and creamy texture.

Tuna salad with Greek yogurt and celery in a bowl with a black spoon.

What kind of tuna is the healthiest?

There are so many options when it comes to canned tuna and it can be tricky to know what to choose. Solid albacore, skipjack,  or yellowfin? Packed in water or oil? Wild caught or trolled? You get the idea - the options are endless, but here are some things to keep in mind to choose the best tuna option for you. 

  • Water vs, Oil Packed: You have the choice to buy tuna packed in water or packed in oil. For anyone looking to reduce fat and calories, the obvious choice is to buy canned tuna that's packed in water. Generally speaking, tuna packed in oil has about 100-150 calories more per can and between 12-14 more grams of fat. One other benefit of water-packed tuna is that it tends to retain more of its Omega 3 fatty acids. If you are not worried about calories, it's just a matter of taste.
  • Albacore, Yellowfin, or Skipjack: Now let's talk about types of tuna. In most stores, you will have three options - solid albacore, light/skipjack tuna, or yellowfin. You may also see tongol in some stores. Both yellowfin and albacore tuna are white tunas.  They have the mildest flavor (least fishy) and also have higher amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids. They are also more expensive. Chunk light tuna is usually made with skipjack or tongol tuna. 
  • Mercury Levels: One of the main concerns most people have when eating tuna is mercury. Light tuna varieties like skipjack and tongol have 3-4 times less mercury than the white versions, like albacore and therefore may be a better option. Here is more information about mercury consumption from the FDA.
  • White vs. Chunk Light: White tuna refers to the type of tuna and generally means that it is albacore or yellowfin tuna. These are higher in Omega 3 fatty acids, but also higher in mercury. Light tuna refers to tuna that is light brown in color and is generally made from skipjack or tongol tuna. It is lower in mercury.
  • Solid, Chunk, or Flake: This just refers to how the tuna is packed. Solid tuna will be one piece of tuna, usually from the loin. Chunk tuna is chunks of tuna that have broken off of the loin. And flake is much smaller pieces of tuna,  basically, what's left after making the solid and chunk. Solid is the most expensive and flake is the most affordable. Most people fund that chunk tuna is perfect for sandwiches since you still get some larger pieces of tuna. Since you will break up the solid tuna anyway, it's not always worth the extra money.
  • Environmental concerns: If you are concerned about the environmental impacts of tuna, always looks for line caught, troll, pole-caught tuna. Other varieties are normally caught with very large nets that can damage other marine life that gets caught in the net.
  • Brands: My personal preference is Wild Planet Tuna that can be found in Whole Foods, Costco, and many supermarkets. It is more expensive, but has a really great flavor and is sustainably caught.
The Recipe

Healthy Tuna Salad

PREP TIME: 5 Min
COOK TIME: 5 Min
TOTAL TIME: 10 Min
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Ingredients

US METRICS
  • 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

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Instructions

(Hide Photos)
1

Mix together the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Stir in the tuna and celery. Taste and season as needed.

2

Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving if possible.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 183
Calories from Fat 61
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
10%
Saturated Fat 1g
7%
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Cholesterol 45mg
15%
Sodium 787mg
34%
Total Carbohydrate 2g
1%
Dietary Fiber 0g
1%
Sugars 1g
Protein 27g

* 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.

Tuna salad made without mayo in a bowl with lettuce on the side.
† SmartPoints™ and PointsPlus® calculated by Slender Kitchen; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc.
7 Comments
On Healthy Tuna Salad
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user image
March 9, 2019 - 06:36
I love Tuna Salad but I have watch the sodium how do I make it low sodium
user image
March 20, 2019 - 10:50
There are some lower sodium tuna brands on the market, I would start there. Rinsing the tuna can also remove some of the extra sodium used in the canning process. You could also cook your own fresh tuna and then you would have full control on the amount of sodium.
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Beatrice
March 6, 2019 - 15:49
Water chestnuts are nice for the crunch factor.
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Kate
July 31, 2019 - 18:05
Or jicama, it’s not as starchy, but still gives that yummy crunch!
user image
March 20, 2019 - 10:50
What a great idea!!!
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Gerri
March 6, 2019 - 14:23
How many smart points per serving?
user image
March 20, 2019 - 10:51
It has 1 Weight Watchers Freestyle Smartpoint per serving.
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