in NY we don't just make canned tuna sandwiches

3 Fresh Uses for Canned Tuna (That Aren’t a Sandwich)
Including a sophisticated canapé that takes 10 minutes. 

By Betty Gold


Canned tuna has come a long way since the mayo-laden sandwiches of our youth. Look for great-tasting, sustainably caught tuna right at your local grocery store—no special ordering necessary. Check the label for “pole and line caught” (or “pole caught”) and the blue Marine Stewardship Council seal, two good signs you’ve chosen an environmentally friendly variety. Then toss together one of these easy-to-make recipes—we've included a main, a side, and an appetizer—that are all protein- and flavor-packed.  


1. Tuna-Orecchiette Salad

You’ll be making this riff on a tuna Nicoise all year long. Use whatever short pasta shape you prefer. If you’re using oil-packed tuna, be sure to drizzle some of the flavorful oil over the salad.


  • 4 quarts water
  • 6 ounces uncooked orecchiette pasta
  • 6 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed (1½ cups)
  • 1 (12-oz.) can solid white tuna in spring water, drained and broken into chunks
  • 7 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved (1½ cups)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion (from 1 small onion)
  • ½ cup torn fresh basil
  • ½ cup chopped pitted Castelvetrano olives
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


How to Make It

Place water in a large pot, and bring to a boil over high. Add pasta; cook according to package directions, adding green beans during last 4 minutes of cooking. Drain and rinse under cold water; place in a large bowl. Add tuna, tomatoes, onion, basil, olives, oil, vinegar, and salt; toss well.


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    2. Tuna Cakes With Rémoulade

    Whip up these easy tuna cakes when you’re in need of some quick protein. Serve them on a bed of crunchy greens or atop a toasted bun.



    • 1 (12-oz.) can solid white tuna in spring water, drained and flaked
    • ½ cup chopped scallions (from 6 scallions)
    •  ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    •  ½ teaspoon black pepper
    •  1½ cups panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs), divided
    •  1⅔ cups mayonnaise, divided
    •  3 tablespoons canola oil
    •  ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    •  ¼ cup dill pickle relish
    •  1 tablespoon coarse-grained mustard
    • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco Pepper Sauce)

    How to Make It

    Step 1

    Place tuna, scallions, salt, pepper, 1 cup of the panko, and 1 cup of the mayonnaise in a medium bowl. Stir until combined, and form into 4 (¾-in.-thick) patties. Place remaining ½ cup panko in a shallow dish. Dredge patties in panko, pressing lightly to adhere.

    Step 2

    Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Add patties; cook, turning occasionally, until golden-brown on both sides, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and drain on paper towels.

    Step 3

    Whisk together parsley, relish, mustard, hot pepper sauce, and remaining ⅔ cup mayonnaise in a small bowl. Serve with tuna cakes.


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    3. Pumpernickel and Tuna Toasts

    A sophisticated canapé from a can of tuna? You bet. Salty with capers and cream cheese, these toasts are as good for entertaining as they are for solo breakfasts eaten over the sink.



    • 1 (12-oz.) can solid white tuna in spring water, drained and flaked
    •  ½ cup thinly sliced shallots (from 2 small shallots)
    •  ¼ cup olive oil
    •  2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
    •  1 tablespoon drained non-pareil capers
    •  1 teaspoon lemon zest plus 2½ tablespoons fresh juice (from 1 lemon)
    •  ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
    •  ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    •  1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
    • 4 (½-in.-thick) pumpernickel bread slices, toasted


    How to Make It

    Toss together tuna, shallots, oil, chives, capers, lemon zest and juice, crushed red pepper, and salt in a medium bowl. Spread cream cheese evenly among toasted bread slices, and top evenly with tuna mixture. Cut each slice into quarters, and serve immediately.

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