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Grown-Up Spicy Tuna Salad

Grown-Up Spicy Tuna Salad Related:   appetizers, fish, gluten-free, July 4th, low-fat, salads, Shabbat, Shavuot, Simchat Torah, Sukkot, Tu b'Shevat, vegetables & legumes

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: None

Yield: 4 servings

I remember an assignment at Jewish day school when each of my classmates and I submitted a recipe for a booklet. I think the final product was a Mother’s Day gift. The “recipe” I submitted was my favorite lunch: tuna and crackers Shaina-style. I thoroughly described how one should gently layer tuna salad in between several saltine crackers, making a stack of tuna-cracker-tuna-cracker as tall as an apple. I’m not sure what I enjoyed about this particular lunch—maybe something about the animal-like crumble of the stack after such careful construction. I’m still tweaking my all-time favorite tuna salad, and here is one of my choice concoctions to date, a grown-up take on my day school lunches.


  • Spice mix
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 green chili, stem and seeds removed
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Salad
  • 2 cups cooked French lentils, prepared (boil with salt until al dente)
  • 3 5-ounce cans of albacore tuna
  • 4 tablespoons spice mix or to taste
  • 2 cups carrots, finely grated
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 4 handfuls of arugula, chopped
  • 3 eggs, boiled and sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Handful of parsley, roughly chopped, for garnish
  • Handful of pumpkin seeds, toasted, for garnish


  • To prepare spice mix, add all ingredients into a food processor and puree into thick paste. In a large bowl, mix lentils, tuna, spice mix, onions and carrots. If desired, add a drop of olive oil to loosen the mixture. Right before serving, toss tuna mixture with arugula and sliced eggs. Add salt and black pepper as needed. Garnish with pumpkin seeds and parsley and serve chilled with good bread or crackers. Refrigerate any unused portion of the spice mixture for other salad dishes.

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