From scratch: tuna salad

My quickest go-to meal is a sandwich if I don’t feel like having a meal with rice (a common component in any meal in the Philippines), and one of my favorite savory kinds is the simple but tasty tuna salad. I usually make a huge tub of it and keep it in the fridge so I don’t have to start from scratch every single time I want one (and because people in the house seem to enjoy the recipe I’ve been using for years).


There isn’t really anything special about it. Like most tuna salad recipes, it starts with tuna and mayo, followed by ingredients like celery and onion. One thing that’s different about it is… pineapple. You read that right. I put crushed pineapples in it.

I know you’re going to say something like, “I thought you don’t like putting sweet stuff in savory food? Why the change of heart? What gives? Have you changed?”

Calm down; it’s nothing serious. It’s how my dad did it. When I first saw him do it years ago, I thought, “that’s insane,” with a slight grimace. Then I made some tuna salad without pineapple, and ended up with egg on my face (not literally; my dad was a good guy). Turns out, the slightly sweet and sour pineapple bits cut nicely through the saltiness of the tuna, so it does serve a purpose. Papa sure showed me.


So here’s the entire list of ingredients (warning: this recipe makes a humongous batch–like 4 cups or so–so halve or quarter it if you want a smaller serving):
4 184g cans tuna in water, drained and flaked
470ml mayonnaise (use whatever brand you like, but I always get Lady’s Choice because it’s not at all sweet)
227g can crushed pineapples, drained
1/4 cup white onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup celery, finely chopped (you can add a bit of the chopped leaves too if you want. My dad did, and I usually do too because it makes the salad taste even fresher)
Salt and pepper to taste

To assemble the sandwich:
Any bread you want
Cucumber slices
Tomato slices
Lettuce leaves
Cheese (optional)

Here comes the magic: put all the non-assembly ingredients in a bowl and mix well. That’s it. Told you it was simple. Of course, you can season as you please, but be careful with the salt. Tuna’s already kind of salty, and you don’t want the whole salad to be a brine festival. If it really needs salt, start with a pinch.


Once you’re satisfied with the flavor, put about four tablespoons of the salad onto a slice of bread (I like to toast mine sometimes) along with some cucumber, lettuce, and tomato. Top with another slice of bread and enjoy.

If you’re on a health kick and would prefer an open-faced sandwich, you can lessen the amount of salad you put in and/or load up on the veggies, and it’ll still be plenty tasty. You can also put mayo on the bread slices, but I personally think the salad has enough of that.

Go ahead and give it a shot. Maybe it’ll become a staple in your fridge, too.

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