Sick of tuna salad made with mayo? Try this Healthy Tuna Salad made with NO MAYO! Dressed with an oregano vinaigrette, this healthy Mediterranean tuna salad is a must-make recipe for anyone who enjoys tuna and is looking for quick and healthy lunch options.
Healthy Tuna Salad Without Mayo or Yogurt
This Mediterranean-style tuna salad is made without mayo OR yogurt (which is the all-too-often healthy substitute for mayonnaise). Instead of mayo or yogurt, this tuna salad is dressed with a vinaigrette made with extra-virgin olive oil, lemon, Dijon and oregano.
What Kind of Tuna to Use
You can truly use whatever canned or jarred tuna you like, but be sure to get chunk tuna. Oil-packed tuna is always delicious but for a lighter option choose water-packed tuna. As for brands of tuna, we like Wild Planet or Ortiz.
If you’re worried about Mercury levels of tuna, you can learn more about mercury levels in tuna fish here.
Mediterranean Tuna Salad Ingredients
- Vinaigrette: this tuna salad is dressed with a vinaigrette made from extra-virgin olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and Dijon. It’s simple but bright and flavorful.
- Oregano: for ease of preparation, this recipe uses dried oregano. You can use fresh if you’ve got it on hand! Start with 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano and add more to taste from there.
- Tuna: you can use any canned or jarred tuna you like as long as it’s chunk tuna. Anything works! For a more flavorful tuna salad, use oil-packed tuna (it’s also great for a Tuna Nicoise Salad). For a lighter tuna salad, opt of water-packed tuna.
- Artichoke Hearts: this is one of a few key ingredients that give this tuna salad that Mediterranean flare. We use canned artichoke hearts, but marinated jarred artichoke hearts would also be delicious! We especially like the Marinated artichoke hearts from Trader Joe’s.
- Chickpeas: to bulk up the protein content and fiber content, add a can of drained chickpeas to the mix.
- Parsley: you’ll need an entire bunch of parsley for this salad (1 cup chopped). This adds a much needed pop of green color and loads of freshness.
- Olives: sliced green olives add a salty bite that pairs wonderfully with canned tuna. If you don’t like olives, you can substitute with capers.
- Roasted red peppers: dice up either jarred roasted red peppers or make roasted red peppers yourself. Roasted peppers add a earthy sweetness to the salad.
- Onion: round out the flavors with some minced red onion! Shallot is a great substitute.
How to Make This Healthy Tuna Salad Recipe
- Make the Vinaigrette
- Toss the Salad Together
- Tuna needs quite a bit of seasoning—don’t be afraid to season to taste with more salt, pepper, lemon, and oregano!
- A tuna salad can only be as good as the quality of tuna you use. You don’t need to break the bank, but the cheapest tuna also won’t do this salad justice.
- Use a bold-flavored extra-virgin olive oil for the most flavorful salad. An olive oil that’s mildly fruity but spicy is ideal.
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 (6-ounce) cans tuna in water, drained
- 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ cup sliced pimento-stuffed green olives
- ½ cup chopped jarred roasted red peppers
- ¼ cup minced red onion
- Optional: Bibb lettuce leaves or pita bread for serving
- In a large bowl whisk together ¼ cup olive oil, zest and juice of 1 lemon, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons Dijon, and 2 teaspoons dried oregano; season with salt and pepper.
- Add 2 drained (6-ounce) cans tuna, 1 drained (14 ounce) can artichokes, 1 drained (14.5 ounce) can chickpeas, 1 cup chopped parsley, ½ cup sliced olives, ½ cup chopped red peppers, and ¼ cup minced red onion; toss to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- If desired, serve tuna salad in bibb lettuce cups or pita bread.
In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, Dijon and oregano. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
Add the drained tuna, artichokes, chickpeas, parsley, olives, red peppers and onion to the bowl with the vinaigrette. Give it all a toss to coat then season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve the healthy tuna salad however you like! It’s great simply enjoyed on its own, piled onto a piece of toasted sourdough, or scooped into bibb lettuce leaves.
Tips for Making healthy Mediterranean Tuna Salad
Use this quick and easy recipe as a basic formula to be riffed upon. Play around with different salty/tangy ingredients like capers, pickled peppers, pickled jalapenos and pickled red onions.
Instead of parsley, add in a mixture of fresh herbs such as fresh oregano and fresh mint.
Swap the Mediterranean ingredients for American standbys like cubed white Cheddar, chopped dill pickles, and chopped celery.
Add some baked pita or pita chips the salad to add crunchy texture and create a Fattoush inspired tuna salad.
Chopped hard boiled eggs, green onions, and even pasta are classic additions as well. Toss in some cooked pasta and you’ve got a healthy tuna pasta salad.
Storage: How Long Does Tuna Salad Last?
Tuna Salad will last up to 3 days stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. We recommend storing tuna salad in a glass container as opposed to a plastic container (plastic tends to hold on to flavors).
What Goes with Tuna Salad
Something bright and citrusy like a Citrus Salad is a great counterpoint to tuna salad.
And for something totally different but very fun, pair this tuna salad with Polenta Fries! A fun take on the classic side.
This is all dependant upon how they are made. This no-mayo tuna salad is much healthier than a mayo-based tuna salad or chicken salad. Here’s what to consider when determining whether a salad is healthy or not: what is the dressing made from (olive oil is always best), are there vegetables in the salad, and is there some source of fiber in the salad (chickpeas, vegetables, greens, whole grains).
Tuna salad is largely considered good for weight loss. However, the key is to make it with only a little bit of mayo or a little bit of olive oil. Many tuna salad recipes are packed with added fat, so be sure to watch the added fat if that is something you are concerned about.
First, swap mayo out for a heart-healthy fat like extra-virgin olive oil. Second, load it up with added veggies like minced celery, minced broccoli, shredded carrots, peppers, and chopped spinach, arugula or baby kale. And finally, serve it in bibb lettuce cups, over a bed of chopped romaine or on a piece of whole-grain bread.
This depends on what you add to the tuna salad. This healthy tuna salad recipe is a complete meal thanks to the added vegetables, chickpeas and olive oil. To ensure your tuna salad is a complete meal you need three things: protein (tuna), fat (olive oil) and fiber (vegetables and chickpeas).
You can leave celery out of tuna salad altogether or you can swap in a different ingredient like diced green apple, shredded carrots or diced cucumber.
Totally your preference! Most often, tuna salad is served cold and we recommend serving this healthy tuna salad cold. However, a lot of people will make a tuna melt by piling tuna salad onto a piece of bread, covering it with a piece of cheese and broiling until warmed through and melty.
More Fish Salads to Try
If you like this recipe, then be sure to check out our Creamy Crab Salad. It is truly a delight and highlights the sweet flavor of crab.
Our Salmon Salad is inspired by the classic tuna salad but made with fresh broiled salmon and a vibrant Greek yogurt dressing.
Healthy Mediterranean Tuna Salad
This recipe was originally developed and photographed by Lauren Grant for Pompeian.