BrokeAss Gourmet

BrokeAss Gourmet

Italian Tuna Salad

  • Prep Time 5 minutes
  • Estimated Cost $9

I have to tell you, I did not expect to like this.

I’ve always hated regular canned tuna. My mother would stir it into a salad with mayonnaise, chopped celery and onions, with buttery crackers for scooping it up. Many children (and adults) would have loved such a snack. I thought it tasted like cat food…not that I knew what cat food tasted like.

Then several months ago, a friend, whose taste in food I trust, suggested I try Italian-style tuna packed in olive oil. He claimed it was much more delicious than the yucky, water-packed albacore of my youth. I still wasn’t sure, but then Italian food Godmother Marcella Hazan went and backed his claim up, at which point I was convinced enough to at least try it.

And I must say—I’m glad I did. The oil-packed tuna, which I found at Trader Joe’s did taste better than I remembered the water-packed kind tasting. The fresh, non-creamy additions to the salad made for a light but very filling, protein-packed lunch. Feel free to experiment with different herbs and vegetables.


  • 1 5-oz. can albacore tuna packed in olive oil (do not drain) $2
  • 1/4 medium red onion, sliced very thinly $0.50 for a whole onion
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained $2 for a 4-oz. jar
  • about 10 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved $3.50 for a pint
  • 1 small handful fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped $1 for a bunch
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar Pantry
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste Pantry

Recipe Serves 2


  1. Place the tuna and all of its oil in a mixing bowl. 
  2. Use a fork to gently flake the tuna. 
  3. Combine with all other ingredients, toss gently and serve immediately.

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What They're Saying

Laura Kumin, on Oct 11, 11:13 AM, wrote:

My own mother was the one who introduced me to the wonders of Italian oil-packed tuna. She’s watching her diet now but every once in while, “splurges” on the stuff. I love it too and consider it somewhere below chocolate and above most other food in deliciousness.

Joy, on Oct 20, 01:48 PM, wrote:

I heard Julia Child say the same thing about tuna years back. She said save your calories somewhere else. I agree.

Amanda M, on Dec 6, 09:28 AM, wrote:

Made this with cherry balsamic vinegar since I ran out of regular and it still turned out delicious! Very light and the perfect brain food before exams! Served it on a bed of endive with a few home-made pita chips on the side.

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