Our Favorite Ways To Use A Can Of Tuna

Think beyond tuna salad—this unassuming tinned fish will be a new suppertime staple.

Tuna Pasta Salad
Photo: Caitlin Bensel

Southerners know that a well stocked pantry is cooking gold. We regularly rely on canned beans and jarred sauces to pull together dinner, and have gotten good at dressing up boxed pasta and rice. With pantry-centric meal prep tactics, canned food has become a mainstay in many of our diets. Not only are foods like canned beans great sources of protein, they’re hearty and satisfying. Another one of our favorite shelf-stable protein sources? Tinned fish.

Specifically, canned tuna is experiencing a surge in popularity. Canned tuna is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and numerous other nutrients, such as B-complex vitamins, among others. Tuna’s health benefits are reason enough to break out those cans stocked in the back of your pantry, but we’re also here to show you that tuna can form the base of a stunning supper. Yes, we could sing the virtues of a simple, yet classic tuna salad sandwich all day long, but tuna can be delicious even when it’s not slathered between two slices of white bread.

For Lunch: Tuna Pasta Salad

Planning a picnic? A ladies’ luncheon? A baby shower? This Tuna Pasta Salad is endlessly versatile, perfect for a whole slew of occasions. Since it can be served chilled or at room temperature, it’s easily portable and requires little maintenance. Any leftovers will make a lovely side at lunchtime.

For this recipe, our Test Kitchen recommends using good-quality tuna packed in oil, which has a rich texture and more flavor than the water-packed variety. An envelope of ranch dressing mix is the secret to seriously upgrading this pasta salad’s flavor.

For Dinner: New Tuna Casserole with Potato Chips

Southerners know our casseroles, and trust us when we say that this one is a keeper. A creamy, cheesy pasta bake is enriched by leeks, green beans, fresh herbs, and a can of solid white tuna. Top it all off with a crispy panko-potato chip topping and you’ve got a delectable combination of flavors and textures. Bake a double-batch of this New Tuna Casserole and bring one to the new mom in the neighborhood—she’ll certainly be asking you for the recipe.

Another option? Classic Tuna Patties. This recipe turns two cans of tuna into light and crispy patties. Like a crab cake, but made with tuna, this recipe works well as an appetizer for entertaining, or as a meal served with a green side salad. The best part about this recipe is that the patties can be made in the morning and fried up just before dinner, making them a great make-ahead option.

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