Canned tuna recipe

How to Avoid “Death by Canned Tuna”

At 110 calories and 24 grams of protein in a 5 ounce can, tuna is a superstar that shouldn’t be overlooked. No need to groan your way through it. Let’s make it tasty!

Avoiding “Death by Canned Tuna”

By: Brittany Snyder, PBC

Brittany currently lives in Santa Fe, NM, where she serves as a Fire Captain and Paramedic. In addition to her 17+ years in the fire service, she has experience coaching strength athletes, teen lifters, older populations, group classes, and fire academy cadets. Get coaching from Brittany.

We all have that dependable staple in the pantry, though it often feels underwhelming when it’s time to do something with it. At 110 calories and 24 grams of protein in a 5 ounce can, tuna is a superstar that shouldn’t be overlooked. No need to groan your way through it. Let’s make it tasty!

Below are some ideas on how to put that nutrient-dense can of (ideally sustainably caught) lean protein to use. No more boring “Death by Tuna.”

Recipe #1

This first recipe comes from BLOC Strength and Nutrition client Kevin Green, who takes an Italian approach. Tuna spaghetti! Don’t knock it until you try it. I have it in regular rotation now.

  1. Boil spaghetti noodles according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, sauté chopped garlic and white/yellow onion in a pan until fragrant.
  3. Add several cans of tuna to the garlic and onion towards the end.
  4. Combine the tuna mixture with cooked and drained noodles, and top with warmed marinara and parmesan cheese.

Pair with some cooked asparagus to buff up your veggie intake.

*Bonus: You can typically make this recipe in under 20 minutes and easily modify it to be gluten-free. Also, these ingredients are commonly already in your pantry, so this makes for a great option when you’re just getting home from work or travel and haven’t made it to the grocery store yet. I purposely bought the above ingredients and had them at the house before a week-long trip so I’d have a meal on deck upon my return home.

Recipe #2

This richer take on tuna salad comes from simplyrecipes.com. I like the addition of avocados as a replacement for mayo.

  1. Place all of the following ingredients in a medium bowl:
  • 5 oz can tuna, drained
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup minced celery
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  1. Salt and pepper to taste

Recipe #3

I borrowed this one from fellow BLOC Coach Michael Burgos, who makes his tuna with a Japanese twist.

  • 1 cupped handful of rice, lightly seasoned with sushi rice seasoning
  • 2 eggs (scrambled), seasoned with garlic powder
  • 1 fist size of chopped spinach, chard, or romaine lettuce
  • 1 can of tuna, lightly heated in the same pan as the eggs

Mix 1 thumb of Japanese mayonnaise (egg yolk-only mayo) and 1-2 thumbs of teriyaki sauce to drizzle on top. Fist pump because it tastes so good.

Recipe #4

Combine drained tuna with cooked white rice and veggies of your choice (a bag of mixed frozen veggies works great here). Top with sweet chile sauce. This can even be a one-pan meal if you add the veggies in with the rice towards the end of the cooking process. Be aware that most sweet chili sauce does have some added sugar, so dose accordingly.

There are countless possibilities for this powerhouse food: tuna casseroles atop a crisp wedge salad—or maybe mixed with mustard, pickles, and mayo for a classic tuna sandwich. And there’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple and serving it on top of a good ‘ol Ritz cracker once in a while.

If you’ve got some cool creations using canned tuna, feel free to share them with me! (bsnyder@barbell-logic.com) I’d love to hear about the creative things you’ve done!

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