Food & Drink Magazine

Classic Tuna Salad

By Mariealicerayner @MarieRynr
Classic Tuna Salad 

I had a lot of running around to do this morning. I was up much later than usual which made me late doing everything.  I had a really busy evening last night which meant that my brain didn't want to stop when I went to bed, and so it took me longer than usual to settle down.

That meant I fell asleep later and didn't get up until about an hour and a half past my usual time.  I had lots of errands to do this morning as well.

Classic Tuna Salad
I needed to go to the Post Office and mail a few bits, and then I needed to pick up my prescriptions and go to the grocery store for a few odds and sods.  When I got to the Chemist's, they hadn't even received my prescription request from the Doctor,  so I had to get in touch with the clinic.
Then I had to wait for the Doctor to phone them in, etc. I didn't want to have to make another trip, so I just waited for them.  Then I popped to the shops and then came home and put everything away.  All I could think about when I was in the grocery store was having a nice tuna salad sandwich when I got home.
Classic Tuna Salad
I had picked up some really nice tuna when I was out with my sister the other day.  Raincoast Wild Albacore.  I had in mind to make myself a tuna sandwich then, but never got around to it.
I was hungry when I was in the grocery store (never a good idea) and just kept thinking about making myself a tuna sandwich when I got home.
Yay, they finally had rice crispies! You could find them at Christmas time due to some sort of strike or something.  And they were on special. I bought two boxes.  I never want to be without rice crispies again. haha  That's me! Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason.
Classic Tuna Salad
When I got home, I put everything away and then set about making myself that tuna salad sandwich I had been thinking about for days and days.   I could hardly wait to dig into it.
I had picked up some lovely nice soft white bread at the shops to use.  Lets talk about this.
Classic Tuna Salad
Now this is just my opinion, and you are free to disagree with me.  When it comes to sandwiches, such as tuna salad, cucumber, egg salad, or tomato for that matter, you don't want an artisanal bread.  You want a nice soft white bread.
These are somewhat delicate fillings and I think they get lost in sturdier types of bread. You can go whole wheat if you must, but stay away from artisanal types. Save those for your heartier fillings or for sandwiches that you are going to grill.
Classic Tuna Salad
I will be the first one to put my hand up and declare that I am a tinned tuna fish snob. I never, never, never buy the cheap stuff. I just don't like it. It has an inferior flavor in my opinion.
I only ever buy albacore white tuna, and wild if I can get it.
Albacore is a light-fleshed tuna increasingly found in attractively labeled jars and retro tins with extra virgin olive oil. It comes in larger chunks than skipjack, has a subtle, delicate flavor and drier, meaty texture. You can also find it packed in water.For tuna salad that I am going to use in a sandwich, I use the tuna packed in water.
Classic Tuna Salad
If I am making something like a classic tuna salad, I want to use the best tuna that my money can buy and for me, albacore is the way to go.  
Classic tuna salad in my opinion contains very few ingredients, no bells and whistles.  Just a good GOOD tuna, some good quality mayonnaise, minced onion, diced celery, salt, pepper and a smidgen of fresh lemon juice.
Classic Tuna Salad
That's it. Nothing more. Nothing less. I know loads of people like to dolly it up by adding other bits and bobs.  Dice olives, cheese, etc.  My mom always added sweet pickle relish.
For me, I don't need all the bells and whistles. I am going to get absolute pleasure from the simplicity of this classic tuna salad, on white bread.  
Classic Tuna Salad
This is so, so, so delicious, it really doesn't need anything else.  If I was doing a tuna melt, I might add some olives, or pickle, but for a cold sandwich such as this one, these simple ingredients are all I need.
The lemon juice adds a nice bit of tang and freshness, but that is as outlandish as you want to go in my humble opinion.
Classic Tuna Salad
Its all in the quality of ingredients used.  Simple yes, but the best quality available, or that you can afford.
  • 1 (5 oz/150g) tin of white albacore tuna packed in water, well drained
  • 3 TBS good quality mayonnaise (I like Hellmans)
  • 1 stalk of celery, trimmed and finely diced
  • 1/2 TBS finely minced red onion
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Classic Tuna Salad
This is very old school and totally comforting in my opinion.  You will get nicely filled sandwiches from this filling, or if you would rather, you can serve it scooped onto a bed of lettuce, with some crackers on the side.
You can add a simple slice of processed cheese, butter the outside of the sandwich and toast it in a skillet on both sides to make a simple tuna melt.  This is also very old school.
Classic Tuna Salad
Just look at how lovely that filling is. Just enough color and crunch. Not soggy in the least.  Ample filling for a simple sandwich.
I hate it when people skimp on sandwich fillings.  A good sandwich should have a generous filling and that filling should be spread right to the edges of the bread.  Anything less is a sacrilege. 
Classic Tuna Salad

This has just enough filling. Not so much that it is messy or falling out, but enough so that you have a proper mix of bread and filling.  Yes, I do butter my bread.  This helps to keep the bread from becoming soggy, especially if it is going to sit for a while.
Not that my sandwich had any hazard today of sitting for a while.   It was gobbled up as soon as I had finished taking the photographs.  I savored every mouthful.
It was well worth waiting for, and I have enough filling left in the refrigerator to make myself another one tomorrow. I might toast that one. We will see.
This one went down a real treat with some crisp pickle slices on the side.  My sister and I discovered Oh Snap Dilly Bites at our local farm market.  If you are a fan of dill pickles I say snap them up if you see them.  They are an excellent snack. Crisp and beautifully flavored. They went very well with my sandwich today!
Classic Tuna Salad

Classic Tuna Salad

Yield: 2Author: Marie RaynerPrep time: 5 MinTotal time: 5 MinThis classic sandwich filling never fails to please. Use the best tuna you can afford to buy.


  • 1 (5 oz/150g) tin of albacore tuna, packed in water
  • 3 TBS good quality mayonnaise (I use Hellman's)
  • 1 stalk of celery, trimmed and chopped
  • 1/2 TBS finely diced red onion
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Open the tuna and drain it really well. (I press the lid against the tuna in the tin and squeeze as hard as I can, over the sink, so that as much water is removed as possible. This way you won't get a soggy sandwich filling.)
  2. Flake the tuna into a bowl. Mash it up with a fork. Add the celery, onion, lemon juice, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Stir together well to combine. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as per your taste.
  3. Place into a covered container and chill until needed, or use immediately.
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Classic Tuna Salad
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