This grilled tuna salad recipe is going to upend every notion you have about what tuna salad is. When fresh grilled tuna gets jumbled together with crisp greens, berries, and crunchy pumpkin seeds and tossed with lemon vinaigrette, it becomes a summertime staple in a whole new way.
I'm definitely not knocking canned tuna salad. It's a staple around here, and tuna melts make a regular appearance at our table.
But there is something to be said for a piece of lightly seared fresh tuna piled atop a bed of crisp greens, sweet blackberries, crunchy pumpkin seeds, and a light lemon dressing. And when it's hot and you're craving something fresh and light, it's the perfect solution.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It's quick and easy to toss together, making it a great light meal, especially on a hot day.
- You can make the dressing and pepitas ahead of time.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Tuna--Use good quality fresh tuna steaks for this grilled ahi tuna salad. Look for bright red steaks that have a mild, sea-like odor. Avoid any tuna that is brown or smells very fishy.
- Greens--Mixed baby greens have a delicate flavor that pairs well with the tuna, but you can substitute butter lettuce or arugula, if you prefer.
- Blackberries--The sweet berries balance the tartness of the vinaigrette and the spiciness of the pepitas. Blueberries will also work here.
- Spiced pepitas--These spiced toasted pumpkin seeds add crunch to the salad and shouldn't be skipped. If you avoid spicy foods, feel free to use plain toasted pepitas or sunflower seeds.
- Brush the tuna steaks with olive oil and season with salt and pepper
- Grill the tuna over medium heat until seared to your desired doneness.
- Slice the tuna against the grain.
- Assemble the salads with mixed greens, berries, pepitas, and sliced tuna steak. Drizzle with lemon thyme vinaigrette.
Look for ahi tuna, which can also be labeled as yellowfin tuna. It has a delicate flavor and is best enjoyed when just seared on the outside. When selecting tuna, choose steaks that are uniformly bright red, with no brown streaks or a rainbow hue. Avoid tuna with an overly fishy or unpleasant odor.
Absolutely. This salad would be great with grilled salmon skewers, trout fillets, or fresh halibut.
This grilled fresh tuna salad recipe is a meal in itself, but a loaf of crusty bread or garlic bread would be a great addition.
How to Make This Over a Campfire
If you're out camping and don't have a grill, fear not! You can easily make this using your hot campfire coals and your trusty cast iron skillet or grill pan. Set your skillet or grill pan over hot coals and coat it with oil. When it is very hot, add the tuna and sear to the desired doneness, flipping once.
Tips and Troubleshooting
- To get ahead, make your lemon thyme vinaigrette and your spiced pepitas ahead of time.
- Use the freshest tuna you can find and take care not to overcook it as the tuna can become dry.
- Keep everything separate until just before serving as the dressing will cause the greens to wilt.
- This recipe is suitable for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.
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Grilled Tuna Salad
- Preheat the grill for medium heat (400°F). Lightly oil the grill grate.
- Brush the tuna steaks with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Grill the tuna over direct heat, flipping once, until seared to the desired doneness, 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.
- Let the tuna rest for a couple of minutes before slicing thinly against the grain.
- Assemble the salads on plates or in bowls with a base of mixed greens topped with spiced pepitas, blackberries, sliced tuna, and a drizzle of lemon thyme vinaigrette.
- Get ahead--Make your lemon thyme vinaigrette and your spiced pepitas ahead of time.
- Choose the best fish--Use the freshest tuna you can find and take care not to overcook it as the tuna can become dry.
- Assemble at the last minute--Keep everything separate until just before serving as the dressing will cause the greens to wilt.
- Dietary--This recipe is suitable for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.