Do you have canned tuna in your pantry? On a warm summer’s night it can become an easy yet elegant dinner as part of a composed salad. Simply start with this basic recipe for a no mayo tuna salad. Then serve it alongside a platter of beautifully arranged seasonal produce (read on for suggestions). Oh, and don’t forget the wine!
Tuna salad conjures up a lot of different images. To be clear, this is not the mayo laden version of my American childhood. Truthfully, that one was actually loaded with Miracle Whip then sandwiched between two squishy slices of white bread. It wasn’t a personal favorite. Years later when I encountered my first south of France version of tuna salade niçoise, it was a game changer. Now, some interpretation of that salad is regularly on our dinner table throughout the summer.
Since our neighborhood farmers market was cancelled this year, I’ve arranged for a weekly delivery of fresh produce. As the contents of the box changes, so does the salad. Use whatever sounds good to you!
No Mayo Tuna Salad Recipe
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon herbs, chopped – dill or parsley are great additions
1 tablespoon capers (optional)
Combine all ingredients. Use some to dress the tuna, and some to dress the potatoes and/or green beans.
1 can tuna (I buy tuna packed in olive oil)
2-3 green onions or 1 spring onion
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 apple, chopped (I know, it’s not traditional!)
I usually drain some of the oil out of the tuna and add a splash of fresh EVOO to liven it up; however, that is totally optional. If you’re using tuna packed in water, drain it before combining with the dressing. A dollop of yogurt may be added if it needs some more moisture.
Potatoes (red, fingerling, or Yukon gold work well) cooked and thinly sliced
Green beans (I cheat and microwave them for 1-2 minutes or you can boil them for a minute)
2 Hard boiled eggs, removed from shells and sliced or quartered
Tomatoes, sliced or quartered
Olives (Nicoise olives are of course the traditional choice, but it’s okay to use what you have)
Chill down the potatoes and green beans if using.
Arrange selected items on a platter or in a bowl or two and serve. Voila!
Wine Pairing for No Mayo Tuna Salad
In the southern France city of Nice, where the classic Nicoise salad originates, a chilled bottle of rosé is the natural pairing. Chardonnay, as long as it’s not big and oaky, gets along with the mustard vinaigrette. Alternatively, we are inclined to open a white Rhône variety such as Marsanne or Grenache Blanc. Of course, you can never go wrong with bubbles! Below are some of my preferred pours.
Domaine Tempier Rosé
This pale pink wine is the benchmark from the Bandol region in south eastern France, and is composed primarily of Mourvèdre with Grenache and Cinsault.
Devison Vintners Rosé
Our house wine for the summer comes from this Walla Walla, Washington based family winery. In the glass, this liquid sunshine is the most beautiful pale rose gold shade of pink. A blend of 75% Mourvèdre and 25% Grenache all sourced from acclaimed Boushey Vineyard, it is 100% refreshing deliciousness.
Since the weather here in Seattle takes a while to warm up in summer, sometimes a rosé with a bit more heft is called for. In that case, we pour a Tavel style magenta colored wine from California’s Tablas Creek. During the winemaking process, a bit more skin contact results in a magnificent magenta hue. It’s cheery, juicy, and easy drinking. Plus, we’re wine club members which gives us a discount on the wine!
College Cellars Marsanne
Since I tend to add apple to the tuna (I like a little sweet and savory contrast – plus it gets the hubby to eat more produce!), this white variety is also a pleasing pairing. Learn more about the wines of College Cellars in my post highlighting eight Washington wines worth staying home for.