Canned tuna…it’s a tough one for some people. An avid fish-eater, I’ve never fully understood why anyone would crouch in fear at a product so convenient, cheap, flavorful, versatile, healthy, and unprocessed. Ok, so maybe the smell can be a bit overwhelming if you’re not used to it or predetermined to hate it. But TRUST ME, this tuna melt will spring you from your irrational fish-hating forever. (Unless perhaps you are severely allergic and might die from it–then I would suggest a different option.) I use chunk light tuna because of its lower mercury content, but white albacore would work great as well. Concerns about mercury are primarily directed toward pregnant women and young children, but I like to stay on the safe side anyway. This recipe was originally inspired by Cooking Light’s Oregon Tuna Melt, but was modified over time into this masterpiece. It abounds with so much flavor, and crispy juicy melty awesomeness, that I could not come up with a name more appropriate than The Ultimate Tuna Melt.
Highlights: mayo-free, whole grain, high protein, veggie-filled, quick and easy
The Ultimate Tuna Melt
Single serving (can easily be multiplied for more)
- 3 oz can chunk light (or albacore) tuna, drained
- 1/2 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 tsp whole grain Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- sprinkle (about 1/4 tsp) dried tarragon (You could also use a small handful chopped fresh herbs like basil or parsley)
- ground black pepper to taste
- about 1 heaping Tbsp each: diced red onion, celery, red bell pepper, and dill pickle
- 1 large slice (43 g) whole grain bread
- 2-3 grape tomatoes
- 14 g sliced white (or regular) cheddar
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 450º. If you have one, a toaster oven heats faster and works perfectly for this.
Meanwhile, thinly slice grape tomatoes vertically (aim for 3-5 slices each), and thinly slice cheese (from a block for best results).
Mix tuna, Greek yogurt, mustard, balsamic vinegar, tarragon, and black pepper, then stir in diced red onion, celery, bell pepper, and pickle. I just estimate the veggies–throw in enough to give some crunch and pizzaz, but not so much that the tuna mixture won’t bind.
Lightly toast the bread by itself first, in toaster on a low setting or in toaster oven on both sides until just crisp. Top lightly toasted bread with tuna mixture and sliced tomatoes (not cheese yet). Transfer to toaster oven and cook several minutes, until tuna is heated through, bread is crispy, and tomatoes begin to shrivel. Top with sliced cheese and return to oven about a minute longer, until cheese is melty and you are drooling. Serve with your favorite fruit and side. Here I’m munching on these Mesquite BBQ Roasted Chickpeas from The Good Bean.