Spicy Tuna Salad with Green Olives and Dried Cranberries

Spicy Tuna Salad with Green Olives and Dried Cranberries (Serves 3-4)

I get lots of my recipes from taking a chance with what I have in the kitchen or forgetting how I made something before. I loved my last batch of tuna salad and decided to make more, but forgot some of the ingredients. In this new batch, the sour tartness of Granny Smith apple is replaced by the sweet tartness of dried cranberries and the somber black olives are replaced by livelier green olives. The heat of a good dusting of red chili powder remains the same. This tuna salad is as good as any I’ve ever made, but chances are I will make it differently next time too. But then, variety is half the fun of cooking and eating!

Prep time: 10-15 minutes


2 cans of tuna
1 small sweet yellow onion
1 can of green olives
1 tablespoon capers
Dried cranberries (infused with apple juice)
2-3 tablespoons of mayonnaise (recipe for making it yourself below)
Red chili powder
Garlic powder


Add tuna to a mixing bowl. Chop onion into bite sized pieces and add to bowl. Add whole olives to bowl. Add capers. Add a handful of dried cranberries. Add a nice dusting of salt, garlic powder, and red chili powder. Don’t skimp on the red chili powder because that is what makes Spicy Tuna Salad spicy! Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise according to taste and then mix well. Taste and add more spices as needed.

Notes: I used to slice my olives, but have found I like being able to spear a whole olive with some lettuce and tuna salad.

This Spicy Tuna Salad is pictured with red leaf lettuce and sliced tomato, but you could eat it with a variety of vegetables or by itself.

Homemade mayonnaise is surprisingly easy to make and bumps up the flavor of this dish. I learned to make mayonnaise from Melissa Joulwan. 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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