How to Make the Most of a Can of Tuna (You Know You Have One in Your Pantry) Ahh, chicken of the sea. We all keep at least one can buried deep in our pantry for in-case-of-emergency situations (like when we’re coming home late from work and only have time to watch The Bachelor). Well, good news. We’re helping you turn that canned backup into some way-better-tasting options.

Why This Pantry Staple Rocks

While it's safe to say your food dreams aren't filled with cans of tuna dancing in your head, it really is an underestimated staple. Just think about the variety it offers in taste and texture: solid vs chunky vs flaky, soaked in oil vs water, white tuna vs yellowfin...

No matter which type you’ve got stockpiled, they all contain protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and other nutrients that make them a worthy addition to your weekly recipe rotation. Better yet, you can whip up most of these using cobbled-together ingredients you already have on-hand... like the ones that have been sitting next to that tuna for the last three months. TGFLSL (Thank God for Long Shelf Lives).

Quick-Fix Idea

If you're not interested in a formal recipe, you can bring a can of tuna to life using this simple (healthier) formula: Simply swap your regular mayo for a combo of mustard and low-fat Greek yogurt, use a fork to mix it with your tuna, throw in any salty (capers, anyone?) or sweet (grapes, perhaps?) additions, and spread it over high-fiber crackers. Now let's dive into slightly more innovative takes that kick it up a notch or two.

Fast and Easy

Tuna Sushi Stacks
Photo: Chelsea's Messy Apron

This may look complex, but it's surprisingly simple. These sushi stacks require just 10 minutes of prep time, and the final dish is loaded with good-for-you nutrients and antioxidants. Plus the recipe is made using a bit of Sriracha sauce, making it a great go-to when your taste buds are craving a little kick.

Tuna Cottage Cheese Salad
Photo: Laughing Latte

Who doesn’t love cheese? Unfortunately, most varieties are high in fat (and not the good kind). One notable exception—cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is not only high in calcium and low in fat, but it’s also a complete protein and a very versatile ingredient. Case in point: this tuna-based avocado and cottage cheese salad. It’s quick, easy, and inexpensive to whip up.

Tuna Cucumber Bites
Photo: Hip Foodie Mom

Cucumber bites are so cute and easy to eat that they just make everything better. Simply slice up a cucumber and top each wheel with a dollop of tuna salad. While this recipe calls for peeling the cucumber, if you’re especially crunched for time, that’s totally not necessary.


Lemon Rice with Tuna and Spinach
Photo: Weary Chef

When hunger strikes, fight back by whipping this up in minutes. High in protein and fiber, it's a great lunch or dinner you can add your own touches to: Use quinoa or brown rice instead of the white rice, or broccoli instead of spinach. Add any herbs and spices to bump up the flavor, even though we think lemon gets the job done.

Low-Carb Tuna Pizza
Photo: My Copenhagen Kitchen

Pizza night ain't so unhealthy after all—just skip the store-bought kind and make this creative version at home. The dairy-free, low-carb recipe uses tuna to make the pizza crust (yes, you heard that right, and yes it’s firm enough to eat with your hands). And who knew walnuts would be such a great pizza topping?

Paleo Tuna Avocado Bowls
Photo: Tastes Lovely

Your tuna will be singing, "I'm on a boat!" while you make this tasty recipe. Simply mix together tuna and avocado, then fold in some diced tomatoes, celery, parsley, and lemon juice—you can eat it right out of the avocado skin (a.k.a. the boat).

Feeding a Crowd

Tuna and Olive Pasta
Photo: Stuck on Sweet

One-pot meals are ideal when you're feeding a crowd, especially when one can be done (from start to finish) in just 30 minutes. An Italian-kitchen staple, this recipe is a combination of pasta, tuna, olives, and a light garlic white wine sauce. The recommendation is to garnish the dish with Parmesan cheese to taste. We say pile it on.

Tuna Patties
Photo: Simply Recipes

Don’t be put off by this long list of ingredients; you probably have the majority in your kitchen already. Better yet, they’re all easy to swap out if you have one herb on hand but not the other. These patties taste as good warm as they do cold, so you can make a big batch and store the leftovers for later in the week.

Tuna Corn Salad
Photo: An Italian in My Kitchen

Refreshing, light, and super easy to make, this corn salad is a great dish to serve guests—especially if you’re on a budget. Plus cleanup is a breeze, so you can get back to that glass of wine in no time.

READ THIS NEXT: Why Your Tuna Matters (and How to Buy Better Seafood)