Tuna salad sandwiches is one of those classic lunches. It’s something that just about everyone remembers having as a kid. It’s something that’s still a classic for long hikes and picnic lunches. But as an everyday lunch – it’s not my favorite. The traditional tuna salad recipe is loaded with mayo, therefore pretty high in fat and calories and very low in fiber and vegetables.
I decided to switch up the classic tuna salad and make a lighter, and healthier, version for lunch. I turned to the Mediterranean region for inspiration. The Mediterranean diet contains a lot of fish, so it seems like a natural fit. Then, I thought I’d add some more classic Mediterranean flavors – fresh veggies, garbanzo beans, and olives.
It’s the perfect Weight Watchers lunch. It’s fresh and delicious, but low in fat and calories while still being high in lean protein. I love this salad. All you have to do is add a side of fresh fruit and some water to drink and you have everything you need to keep you going all afternoon.
One of the biggest ways that I lightened up this salad was to skip the mayo entirely. I’m not against mayonnaise and will frequently use fat free mayonnaise when called for in a recipe.
But in this case, it just makes the salad much heavier than it needs to be. I added extra flavor and nutrients with the garbanzo beans, olives, cucumber, onion, and bell pepper.
You might think that it’s probably going to be pretty good, but it might end up a little bland and dry because there isn’t any mayonnaise and relish in it. Trust me – it’s not!
A little bit of the classic Mediterranean olive oil and some lemon juice make the perfect dressing. The tangy citrus perfectly compliments the tuna and ensures the salad is moist and delicious.
That’s not even including the lemon zest – for the added citrus pop that really makes this fresh and delicious. I also added some fresh parsley and a little garlic to really send it over the top. With all these delicious spices and flavors – I promise, you won’t even notice there’s no mayonnaise in it.
Fish and olives (including olive oil) are high in omega fatty acids. The so-called “good” fats are not just good, but great for your health. Omega fatty acids are wonderful to help with cholesterol (increasing the good kind, HDL) and are essential for brain health.
Garbanzo beans, bell pepper, and cucumber add fiber to this delicious salad, so you can get all you need in one healthy dish.
The fiber really helps you to feel satisfied and full for much longer and can help you to avoid unnecessary snacking.
This salad is incredibly easy to make. It’s perfect to whip up on a Sunday afternoon (or whenever you have some time to do some meal prepping) and then refrigerate it for lunches during the week. This Mediterranean Tuna Salad and another simple side, and you’ve got everything you need for lunch all week.
I just love this dish. It’s a great lunch salad (or dinner if you’re in a hurry!), that doesn’t require any cooking, is fast and easy to put together and best of all – is delicious! Serve it by itself, with some fresh greens or a side of toasted bread and you’re good to go.
Mediterranean Tuna Salad Recipe
- 2 cans light tuna in water - (drained)
- 1 small red bell pepper - (finely chopped)
- ½ medium a red onion - (finely chopped)
- 1 large cucumber - (diced)
- 2 cloves of garlic - (minced)
- 1 cup garbanzo beans - (drained and rinsed)
- ½ cup pitted black olives - (halved)
- ¼ cup pitted kalamata olives - (halved)
- ⅓ cup fresh parsley - (finely chopped)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and toss to combine.