Sesame, cilantro, & lime tuna salad

I feel kinda gross admitting this, but my favorite tuna salad was Subway’s. Have you had it? That creamy tuna spread with just a touch of acid is undeniably delicious. Most other tuna salads follow suit: mayo, celery, onion, maybe some lemon, maybe some pickle or other pop of acid. I love that classic variety, but there are other options.




This tuna salad is inspired by my mom. It’s like eating a mini-sun of brightness and refreshment. I never imagined tuna salad could leave its ordinary realm, because it works. But so does this. The herbs and acid provide lightness; they’re rounded out by the deep smoky flavor of sesame. Sesame and tuna are an unlikely but winning combination. If you have some time to chop, this different salad is for you.



Sesame, cilantro, & lime tuna salad

Note: After trying tuna packed in olive oil, I can’t go back to tuna packed in water. It’s too dry for me now, so I stick to the oil-packed variety but it’s ultimately up to you.


Juice and zest of 2 limes

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

A few splashes of fish sauce

A few splashes of rice vinegar

1/2 cup fresh herbs (mint, cilantro, parsley or a combination), minced

1/2 cup red onion, minced

1 red pepper, minced

4 (4-ounce) cans tuna packed in olive oil (I prefer this bran

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper.


In a large bowl, mix the juice and zest of limes, sesame oil, fish sauce, and rice vinegar. Add the herbs, red onion, red pepper, tuna, and red pepper flakes. Use a fork to break the tuna apart and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding more lime juice or sesame oil to taste as well.

This is better after sitting overnight and will keep for up to a week in the fridge.

Leave a Reply

  1. Santiago Pardo

    August 19th, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Hey sweetheart, it looks and tastes delicious, I am sure it is also very healthy.
    It is making me very hungry.I will make it soon.
    Love Dad

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