Tuna Salad over Red Leaf Lettuce

Tuna Salad over Red Leaf Lettuce (Serves 2)

There are many ways to make tuna salad. Here is an easy recipe using ingredients often found in my kitchen.

Prep time: 15-20 minutes


2 cans of tuna
1 small Granny Smith apple
1 small sweet yellow onion
1 handful of dried cranberries (infused with apple juice)
2-3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
1-2 teaspoons of mustard
Extra virgin olive oil (optional)
Apple cider vinegar (optional)
Black pepper

1 head of red leaf lettuce


Add tuna to a mixing bowl. Chop apple and onion into bite sized pieces. Add all apple and a handful of onion to bowl. Add cranberries and mix ingredients well. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise and 1 to 2 teaspoons of mustard according to taste and then mix well. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix and taste again. Add a little olive oil or more mayonnaise if the mix is too dry. Add a little apple cider vinegar if the mix needs a little more bite. Rinse red leaf lettuce, tear into modest sized pieces, and arrange on a plate. Scoop a generous helping of tuna salad onto the lettuce and enjoy!

Notes: Red leaf lettuce has looked especially good to me lately, but you can eat tuna salad with lots of different vegetables or even by itself. Experiment!

Homemade mayonnaise is surprisingly easy to make and bumps up the flavor of this dish. I learned to make mayonnaise from Melissa Joulwan, a wonderfully creative cook and entertaining writer on food, exercise, music, and life. She promised me it would be easy and she was right! Don’t accept the soybean oil, sugar, and preservatives of store-bought mayonnaise anymore. Make some homemade yourself. I’ll walk you through it below or you can click here and let Melissa walk you through it.

Homemade Mayo


1 egg
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups olive oil (light, not extra virgin)


Place the egg, mustard powder, salt, apple cider vinegar, and 1/4 cup of olive oil in a food processor and whirl until well mixed – 20 to 30 seconds. You can mix by hand in a bowl with a whisk like Julia Childs did in the old days, but that is a lot of work. Now here comes the important part: Drizzle in the last cup of olive oil very, very slowly while you keep running the food processor – as in, take about 3 minutes to drizzle in one cup of oil. Don’t get in a hurry and dump a lot of oil in at once or the mixture can collapse and stop looking like mayonnaise. IF your mayo collapses, all is not lost. Put the mixture in the refrigerator for a few hours and then stir it vigorously. Such “failed” mayo doesn’t look as pretty, but it still tastes good and works fine in tuna salad. Once you are done, transfer your mayo to an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator until needed. Homemade mayo should be good until the expiration date of the egg it was made with.

Melissa Joulwan warns of the importance of starting with all ingredients at room temperature. I have had success using a cold egg, but am mixing with apple cider vinegar and not lemon juice like Melissa. That difference might make a difference.

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2 Responses to “Tuna Salad over Red Leaf Lettuce”

  1. Yum! I just made a close approximation of this, subbing canned salmon for the tuna since I was out, and it’s delilcious. As an added bonus, I now have my first jar of homemade mayo in the fridge.

    This is day one of my going no grain/no dairy, and it looks like I will be coming to this site time and time again for great recioes.

    • Tom Denham says:

      Congrats on the mayo. It really is amazingly easy, isn’t. I am planning to make salmon salad soon, so am glad to hear it works. I make a curried chicken salad. I wonder if curry would work with tuna or salmon…

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