Quite frankly, I find this tuna salad addictive. To avoid developing new food allergies, I generally rotate what I eat so that I don’t eat the same thing in more than one 24-hour period every four days or so. But once I’ve made this tuna salad, I’m all in until it’s gone. I had this tuna salad on my meal plan for later this week, but once I bought the ingredients on Monday, I couldn’t resist making it and eating it for lunch that day. Then we had it for dinner . . . and for lunch the next day. I had the last bit for lunch today, as well. And, well, I kept glancing at the clock after 10 a.m. to see whether it was time for lunch yet so I could go eat it.
I came to fish during early adulthood. We didn’t eat fish at home when I was growing up. At other people’s houses and parties, we’d sometimes have fried catfish (this is the South). At seafood restaurants, I’d eat fried seafood. But seafood that wasn’t fried smelled and tasted far too much like . . . well, like the ocean. I’m glad to say I’ve been getting over that issue. In the same way that I now like that beets taste like the earth they grew in, I understand the pleasure of eating foods that are reminscent of the ocean’s complex tang. Of course, you have to be careful about which fish you eat, as we as a planet are at risk of collapsing various fish populations. I carry a Monterey Bay Seafood Watch Pocket Guide in my wallet to check my choices when I’m shopping. With the right source for tuna, it’s okay in moderation. Or, I hope, in intense batches of consumption followed by temporary abstinence. . . .
Mayo-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free, Dairy-Free
This salad changes a bit each time I make it. Trust yourself to taste the salad as you go and figure out what you need to add, and it will come out great.
1 c. walnut halves
1-2 avocados (depending on how creamy you want the salad)
1 lemon or 1-2 T. white wine vinegar if you cannot eat citrus—use the zest of the lemon, as well, if you want an extra citrus punch
1-2tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp.-1 T. hemp milk or other milk alternative
1 tsp. salt or seasoning salt
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. agave syrup or honey (may cut if using sweet milk alternative)
2-3 cans albacore tuna
3-4 T. herb mix, fresh, or 1-2 T. herb mix, dried (the fresh, prepackaged seafood herb mix from Whole Foods is great, or a combination of parsley, dill, tarragon, and/or chervil works. The last time I made this, I used 2 T. chopped fresh parsley, 1 tsp. dried dill, and 1 T. chopped fresh tarragon.)
2-5 green onions (I love onions. Some people don’t love them like I do. It’s up to you!)
Toast the walnuts using your method of choice. When they are toasted and cooled, chop the walnut halves into quarter-size or smaller pieces, and place them in a medium-sized bowl.
Meanwhile, combine the meat of the avocado(s) through the agave in a blender, and blend well. If your avocado is too firm or is pretty big, you may need more hemp milk to make it blend well. Add the sauce to the walnut bowl.
Chop the fresh herbs. Chop the green onions (both green and white parts).
Add the herbs to the walnut bowl. Open the cans of tuna, drain them, and run a sharp knife in cross sections in the can to cut the tuna into bite-sized (or smaller) pieces. Shoo your meowing cats from the kitchen. Stir the tuna into the sauce mixture. Taste the mixture, and add additional herbs, mustard, lemon, salt, etc., as needed. Serve immediately, or cover tightly and store in the fridge a day or two.
Serves 4-6, depending on measurements used.
We like to eat the tuna salad on toasted bread—with fresh tomato slices and lettuce in the warm seasons, and sundried tomato pieces and lettuce in the cooler seasons. (The addition of the sweetness of the sundried tomatoes may be part of my addiction.) I’ve also eaten this on crackers, on cucumber slices, and tucked in Romaine leaf wraps. It’s yummy all these ways!