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Something Different
Week of: April 12, 2010
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Contact: Alice Bender, (202) 328-7744

Tuna Salad with a Springtime Twist

By Dana Jacobi
for the American Institute for Cancer Research

If your ideal tuna salad calls for mashing the fish with enough mayonnaise to taste like tuna but spread like mayo, then skip this recipe. But if you are a tuna-lover and are seeking a salad with spring flair, one that includes crunch, color and a flavorful surprise, then this recipe is for you.

To welcome spring, I mix albacore tuna with green pepper for crunch, dill and green onions because they taste and look like spring, and chopped apple. The surprise is how apple plus lemon juice make this salad moist and how the flavor of the apple complements that of the tuna.

I use water-packed albacore tuna for three reasons. First, albacore contains the most omega-3s of any canned tuna: a four-ounce portion provides a useful 1 gram. Second, oil and water do not mix and omega-3 fatty acids are oily. So they mostly stay in the fish when it is water-packed. In oil-packed tuna, omega-3 fatty acids blend more easily into the oil that you drain away. Third, water-packed tuna is lower in calories, which allows you to use a touch of oil when tossing the salad.

Finally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised, in their recommendations to limit exposure to mercury in fish, that young women and children can include up to 6 ounces of albacore tuna weekly.

Tuna Salad

Spring Tuna Salad

  • 1 (6 oz.) can water-packed albacore tuna
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped Honeycrisp, Gala or Fuji apple
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped scallions, green and white parts
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 4 butter or Boston lettuce leaves
  • 4 slices European cucumber
  • 2 lightly packed cups watercress sprigs

In mixing bowl, finely flake tuna with fork. Mix in apple, green pepper and scallions. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and toss to combine. Mix in canola oil. The salad may be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours.

When ready to serve, mix in the dill and lemon zest. Line 2 salad plates each with 2 lettuce leaves and add 2 cucumber slices. Mound one-half of the tuna salad on each plate. Surround with the watercress sprigs, and serve.

Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 220 calories, 10 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 12 g carbohydrate,
22 g protein 3 g dietary fiber, 55 mg sodium

Something Different is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.


The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $100 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

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