Mayo-Free Mediterranean Tuna Salad Sandwiches Recipe

Photograph: Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Briefly soaking the red onion in red wine vinegar tames its pungency and gives it a pop of tartness.
  • Flaking high-quality oil-packed tuna makes a luxurious salad.
  • A splash of fish sauce or minced anchovy adds a subtle savory hit.

This mayo-free tuna salad is loaded with Mediterranean flavors, including plenty of fresh olive oil, capers, olives, fennel, celery, and a splash of lemon.

Recipe Facts

Active: 25 mins
Total: 25 mins
Serves: 4 servings

Rate & Comment


  • 1/2 medium red onion (about 4 ounces; 110g), thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) red wine vinegar

  • 20 ounces (560g) oil-packed tuna, preferably ventresca (see note), drained and flaked by hand into roughly 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1 stalk celery (about 3 ounces; 85g), sliced thinly on the bias

  • 1/4 medium bulb fennel (about 1 ounce), cored and thinly sliced

  • Handful flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped

  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) drained brined capers

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) drained pitted briny black or green olives, quartered lengthwise

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (90ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) fresh juice from 1 lemon

  • 1/2 teaspoon (3ml) Asian fish sauce or very finely minced oil-packed anchovy fillets (about 2 small fillets)

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 8 slices rustic sandwich bread, such as a Pullman loaf, brushed with olive oil and toasted

  • Arugula, for garnish


  1. In a small bowl, combine onion and vinegar (vinegar should just cover onion; add more if it does not) and let stand 15 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine tuna with celery, fennel, parsley, capers, olives, olive oil, lemon juice, and fish sauce or anchovy. Drain onion well, then add to bowl. Mix gently until thoroughly combined; season with salt and pepper. Dress with more olive oil if desired.

  3. Spoon tuna salad onto 4 slices of toast, top with arugula, then close sandwiches and serve.


The quality of the tuna you use will make a difference here. I recommend oil-packed ventresca tuna, which comes from the richer, fatty belly; it's moister and more flavorful than other canned or jarred tuna. I like the ventresca from both Ortiz and Tonnino.

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
589 Calories
29g Fat
34g Carbs
47g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 589
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 37%
Saturated Fat 4g 21%
Cholesterol 66mg 22%
Sodium 878mg 38%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 47g
Vitamin C 9mg 47%
Calcium 127mg 10%
Iron 4mg 23%
Potassium 993mg 21%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)