Healthy Mediterranean Tuna Salad (No Mayo)

Mediterranean tuna salad (no mayo) is the perfect lunch or quick dinner recipe! Ready in just 5 minutes, this healthy tuna salad recipe has a bright lemon dressing and is packed with veggies. Serve on a sandwich, lettuce, in lettuce cups or with crackers for a filling, protein packed meal.

Overhead shot of a large bowl of healthy Mediterranean tuna salad (no mayo) with a fork to the right of the bowl and a lemon in the background
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Why you will love this Mediterranean chopped tuna salad

  • Versatile! Put it in wraps, on a sandwich, eat it on toast or use it as a dip with crackers or eat it as is right out of the bowl!
  • Healthy ingredients, no mayo! No mayonnaise what-so-ever! And fits into almost every lifestyle diet including gluten free, Whole30, paleo and keto.
  • Easy to make! This tuna salad with no mayo is so simple, ready in just 5 minutes and packed with flavor (thanks to the quick and easy lemony dressing) and crunchy veggies!
  • Make ahead for lunch: Make this Mediterranean salad with tuna recipe the night before for a super filling lunch you are sure to look forward to.
  • Colorful and crunchy – the veggies in this tuna salad recipe add so much color and crunch. No boring soupy tuna here!

Ingredients

Salad

  • Skipjack tuna – you can also use albacore tuna, but skipjack is often the lowest in mercury since it’s a small fish and it’s usually more budget friendly. You could also make this with canned salmon or canned chicken as well.
  • Bell peppers – bell peppers add crunch and color and a touch of sweetness. I recommend red, orange or yellow for the best flavor.
  • Red onion – red onion provides a unique flavor and is mellowed out a bit by the lemon dijon dressing. Typical tuna salad recipes often include red onion because of how well it goes with tuna, and this healthy tuna salad recipe is no different.
  • Cucumber – cucumbers provide crunch and help make this no mayo tuna salad super filling.
  • Roasted red pepper (optional) – I love the contrast between the roasted red pepper and fresh bell pepper. I find the roasted red pepper to be a bit sweeter and if you have them on hand, it’s a great addition to canned tuna salads.
  • Capers (or chopped kalamata olives) – capers provide a briny, salty addition to the tuna salad, and I think they help make this salad extra-ordinary in flavor.
  • Fresh flat leaf parsley – flat leaf parsley helps to add a fresh element to the salad and really helps to make the flavors fresh and bright. You could also use fresh mint, basil or fresh oregano (not as much oregano as parsley though as it’s overpowering).

Dressing for tuna salad:

  • Lemon juice – fresh lemon juice is best in this recipe. You can use bottled if needed but I really think fresh is best!
  • Olive oil – olive oil helps to coat the salad ingredients and emulsifies with the lemon juice to create a super yummy dressing.
  • Dijon mustard – dijon mustard helps to emulsify the dressing (make it thick and allow the oil to bind with water from the lemon juice). Dijon also adds so much flavor to the dressing.
  • Spices: Herbs de Provence (or Italian seasoning), salt, garlic powder – these spices help to bring flavor to the dressing and the salad and are easy to find.

How to make healthy tuna salad without mayo

Start by chopping all the veggies, making sure they are bite size pieces. For the fresh parsley, you will want to finely chop it so that it incorporates throughout the salad.

Large bowl filled with chopped salad vegetables.

Drain the tuna and add it to a large bowl with the rest of the chopped vegetables 

Next make the lemon herb dressing by adding everything to a mixing bowl and stirring with a fork or a whisk until well incorporated.

Pour The dressing over the tuna salad and stir well.

Lemon Herb Dressing being poured over the tuna salad before it's been stirred

Other additions to Mediterranean tuna salad

  • Cooked broccoli, asparagus or cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
  • Artichokes (canned or jarred)
  • Olives (kalamata would be amazing)
  • Fresh mint, oregano or basil
  • Hearts of palm
  • Shredded carrots
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Lemon zest
Healthy Mediterranean tuna salad (no mayo) on a collard green wrap with red cabbage and sprouts

How to serve tuna salad with vinaigrette

This healthy chopped Mediterranean salad does not have to just be eaten on a sandwich or on salad greens! Here are some fun ways to serve tuna salad that you may not have thought of:

Stuffed in a bell pepper
On crackers
– Stuffed in a cucumber boat
– On cucumber rounds
– On sweet potato toast or regular toast for tuna sandwiches
– Fill avocados
– Stuff in tomatoes
– Fill celery sticks
– In collard green wraps
– In lettuce cups
– In red cabbage leaf cups

Common questions

What is the best kind of tuna to use for tuna salad

I personally love tuna in olive oil (vs. tuna in water). It has so much more flavor and I feel like it isn’t quite as dry. However, this recipe was tested with skipjack tuna in water, so don’t feel like you need tuna in oil for great results.

I love both skipjack tuna and albacore tuna, but usually buy skipjack because it’s more budget friendly and also has less mercury than albacore.

When looking for canned tuna, I think it’s important to consider the fishing practices, to ensure that the fish were sustainably caught (this helps to ensure that overfishing won’t happen). Look for the words pole caught, line caught or troll caught on the can.

What can you use instead of mayo in tuna salad

If you want the same traditional creamy consistency but don’t love mayo, you could use greek yogurt, mashed avocado or even cottage cheese instead of mayo. Or you could try a tahini based dressing as tahini creates a creamy dressing without any dairy or mayo.

To switch things up and want a different take on tuna salad, you can use a vinaigrette or your favorite dressing (like this creamy basil dressing) instead of mayo!

Can you make this no mayo tuna salad recipe in advance

Yes, you can easily make this healthy tuna salad recipe in advance. It stores well in the fridge overnight and tastes even better the next day. Since the veggies can start to lose some of their shape, I don’t recommend making this more than 24 hours in advance if you are serving it to a crowd.

Storing leftovers

  • Fridge: Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. The veggies may start to get soft at this point, but the flavor will still be delicious!
  • Freezer: You can freeze traditional tuna salad but I would not recommend freezing this recipe because of the veggies that are added.

Substitutions

  • Skipjack tuna: you can use whatever canned tuna you have on hand. You could also use canned salmon, canned chicken or even canned chickpeas (mash 1/2 the can for texture).
  • Veggies: For any of the veggies listed, you can simply omit them if you do not have them on hand. See the notes above on other veggies you could also add. Cooked broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, carrots, artichoke hearts and hearts of palm would all be great options!
  • Fresh parsley: If you don’t have flat leaf parsley, you could also use fresh basil, fresh mint, fresh oregano or simply omit the fresh herbs and add some lemon zest and more dried herbs (1/2 teaspoon more dried herbs de Provence or Italian seasoning) to the dressing.
  • Lemon juice: If you don’t have lemon juice on hand, you could use lime juice or 2-3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar in place of the lemon juice.
  • Olive oil: extra virgin olive oil can be substituted with avocado oil very easily without changing the recipe at all. If you don’t have that, you may want to use tahini + water or almond butter + water in place of the olive oil. You will want to use about 2 tablespoons of tahini or almond butter and 1-3 tablespoons of water.
  • Dijon mustard: the mustard really helps to emulsify the dressing and without mustard of some sort, the dressing will have a hard time coming together. If you don’t have dijon, you can simply leave it out and just know the dressing will likely not come together.
  • Spices: If you don’t have herbs de Provence or Italian seasoning, you can make your own italian seasoning substitute.
★ Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating below!
Large bowl filled with healthy Mediterranean tuna salad (no mayo) with a fork resting on the side of the dish

Healthy Mediterranean Tuna Salad (No Mayo)

$8.62 Recipe/$4.31 Serving
Healthy Mediterranean tuna salad is the perfect 5 minute lunch or dinner recipe. Packed with flavor and veggies, this easy no mayo tuna recipe is the perfect way to switch up your normal tuna salad. Serve it over salad, in a lettuce wrap, or on sweet potato toast for the perfect simple meal. This healthy tuna salad recipe is dairy free, gluten free, paleo, Whole30 and low carb friendly.
4.92 from 12 votes
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: Lunch
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: healthy tuna salad, mediterranean tuna salad, tuna salad no mayo
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2 servings

Guided Recipe Video

Ingredients

  • 2 cans skipjack tuna - $3.98
  • 1/2 medium bell peppers - $0.65
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped - $0.17
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, chopped - $0.64
  • 1 large roasted red pepper - $1.00
  • 2 tbsp capers, chopped - $0.08
  • 2 tbsp fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped - $0.65

Lemon Herb Dressing

Instructions

  • In a large bowl combine the tuna with the rest of the chopped vegetables 

Lemon Herb Dressing

  • In a small mixing bowl, combine the lemon herb dressing ingredients and whisk with a fork or small whisk until combined.
  • Pour the dressing over the tuna salad and stir well. 

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
361
Fat
 
23
g
Carbohydrates
 
4
g
Fiber
 
1
g
Sugar
 
1
g
Protein
 
34
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
DID YOU LOVE THIS RECIPE?Let others know by rating and leaving a comment below!

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18 Comments

    1. Love hearing that you are enjoying this healthy tuna salad recipe Sally! It’s’ one of my favorites too! Thank you so much for coming back to leave a comment! Happy cooking – Sam

  1. 5 stars
    Made this today for lunch, and it was a such a nice change from standard tuna salad. I will be adding this to my lunch rotation. Yum!

  2. 5 stars
    This is so good! I was searching for Greek style salads that are safe to have during pregnancy, as I’ve been craving something fresh, but can’t have feta cheese right now. I also sometimes struggle with tuna salads as they can be a bit too fishy. But this salad was not fishy at all, it has a wonderful fresh tangy flavour which is really well balanced, and the flavours all come together beautifully.
    I used a large can of chunk style tuna in olive oil. I also didn’t have parsley so I used fresh mint. I also added olives as well.
    I’ll definitely be making this salad regularly – it’s going to become one of my staples.
    Thank you for such a lovely recipe!

  3. 4 stars
    I loved this the first time I made it. The 2nd time it was so salty I could barely eat it. Turns out the skipjack tuna includes sea salt. Way too salty especially with the added salt in the recipe and the lemon juice. ugh. Skipjack does have a no salt added tuna. you definitely need this.

  4. Yummy! I substituted celery for the cucumber because I was out and thought it turned out great. I think it would taste good over some greens as well as on its own.

  5. 5 stars
    I will use Italian seasoning next time. Also, I will de-seed the cucumber. My salad was a little too wet otherwise.

    Excellent and easy recipe

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve never made tuna salad this way before–I loved all the add-ins. Delicious and easy. It was a hit with my family!

  7. 5 stars
    This looks fanstastic, it will be a great way to encourage my children to enjoy vegetables. Thanks so much for the yummy recipe Samantha!

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