Healthier Tuna Salad or Tuna Melts

Healthier Tuna Salad or Tuna Melts

I love a good tuna melt, and sometimes I make them super simple, but honestly? That can get a little boring. And while I’m making no claims that a cheesy, melty sandwich like this is healthy, I think it has a little edge. So I’ll just call this Healthier Tuna Salad or Tuna Melts.

Healthier Tuna Salad or Tuna Melts

Healthier Tuna Salad or Tuna Melts


This tuna salad is so tasty. It feels fresh and fun and makes a great melt, open-faced or as a closed sandwich. It’s just as good cold between almost any bread or as a wrap. And if you want lower carb, fill a tomato or avocado with it.

About Healthier Tuna Salad or Tuna Melts:

I grew up with Tuna Salad like this. My Mom would mix tuna, mayo and a little celery, a tiny bit of onion and then mix in chunks of cheese. It was our go-to on leftover hot dog or hamburger buns, broiled until melty and gooey.

I just took her idea and ran with it over the years, upping her game a bit. More veggies, for one which gives this tuna salad an incredible crunchy factor and all these veggies add a wonderful flavor. Especially, I think, that little touch of sweet bell pepper gives it a little sumpin’ sumpin’.

And of course, this is still a great way to use up any leftover buns, but I really like to up the ante with French rolls, French or Italian or Sourdough or any sturdy bread. And of course, tuna salad makes such marvelous wraps.

It’s surprising how little tuna and/or cheese actually goes into this tuna salad; all the vegetables make it seem more substantial and the chunks of cheese throughout add such a great substance when served cold and get so ooey, gooey melty when broiled. Somehow pockets of cheese feel like they give you more bang for your buck and a moderate amount seems like so much more.

Healthier Tuna Salad

Healthier Tuna Salad

Making Healthier Tuna Salad or Tuna Melts:

I think one of the keys to this salad is to dice the veggies small; almost tiny. It makes it taste better and look better, and if course when something looks better, we want to eat it more. I also picked up a little trick yearas ago. Add in your relish (sweet pickle relish is my fave) before adding in the mayo. Then you can judge just how much mayo you need. It’s nice, I think, if it’s a little “dry” if you’re going to be broiling.

I love this on toast and always toast the bread. If I’m just using plain old sandwich bread, I toast it in a toaster, but for anything else my fave thing is to cut the rolls or bread, pull out a little bread from the cut side, then toast in the oven. Then it’s ready for the tuna salad and it won’t get soggy.

I serve it then, cold, either open-faced or closed. or broil it for those ooey, gooey pockets of melty cheese. It can still be served open or closed, though I prefer open when it’s hot. It’s up to you.

When I make the wrap version, I put down the wrap and add a little lettuce or in this case, shredded cabbage and carrots, to the wrap. The extra veg keeps it from getting soggy if you make it in the a.m. (or night before) and take it to work.

Healthier Tuna Salad the Bread

Healthier Tuna Salad – hollow out 1 side or both and toast

Tuna Safety

Do you ever wonder how much and what kind of Tuna is safe to eat? Especially if you have a pregnant woman or children in the house? Check out this handy calculator by Colin Dunn of Planet Green and put your mind at ease. Hint: light tuna has much lower levels of mercury than white or Albacore tuna.


Saving Money on Healthier Tuna Salad or Tuna Melts:

It’s easy to turn up your nose at canned tuna – after all, there’s no comparing it to fresh! Hopefully, this recipe, whether served hot or cold will add a little excitement. If you’re really opposed to canned tuna, I get it. Make it with fresh tuna, maybe if you have some leftover from a dinner.

Bonus for the less expensive tuna being healthier to eat! Buy your tuna during Lent when it’s at a low. Seriously figure out how much you normally eat during and really stock up. I’ve never found better pricing than in the sales preceding the Easter.

I mentioned this is a great save for leftover hamburger buns (another is Our Family’s Parmesan Toast) but once toasted and broiled, even a loaf of good bread that has a bit of age on it is transformed. As far as that cheese? Toss in whatever you might have: A bit of this, a touch of that! Whatever you think would be good, or clean out some bits from your drawer. I used Monterrey Jack & Cheddar in these.

Healthier Tuna Salad or Tuna Melts

Healthier Tuna Salad or Tuna Melts


Healthier Tuna Salad or Tuna Melts

  • Author: mollie kirby
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Sandwiches
  • Cuisine: American


  • 2 small or one large can(s) tuna fish, drained
  • 1/2 bell pepper, perhaps a bit more, any color or an equivalent amount of mixed, finely diced
  • 1/2 stalk finely diced celery
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 2 green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
  • 2 to 3 ounces, 1/4 or a little more of a block of a good meltiy cheese, in 3/8″ cubes
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sweet or regular pickle relish, your choice
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, sour cream or a mixture
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • pinch of celery seed
  • squeeze of lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, optional


Mix all ingredients together except parsley together. Taste and adjust the amount of mayonnaise and seasonings

Divide among buns or bread. Serve as open faced sandwiches, closed sandwiches or wraps. If serving as sandwiches may be served as is or broiled to heat through and melt the cheese.


  • If desired, remove some of the bread from the cut surface, creating a “boat” and the tuna salad will have a place to sit.
  • If broiling on firm rolls or bread like sourdough, French, Italian, toasting the bread before adding the tuna salad will help to keep it from getting soggy.

Keywords: Bargain Meal of the Week, Bell Peppers, Fish and Seafood, Green Onion, Main dish salad, Red onion, Salad, Sandwiches, Tuna, Tuna Salad.

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Healthier Tuna Salad or Tuna Melts have an array of finely diced veggies & pockets of cheese melting throughout! Serve broiled for a melt, cold as a sandwich or wrap. #TunaMelt #TunaSalad #HealthierTunaSalad #Tuna #LentMeals #TunaFishSandwich

8 thoughts on “Healthier Tuna Salad or Tuna Melts

  1. So right about tuna being a staple so much so that I’ve switched to buying canned sardines, mackerel and salmon lately as everyone has gotten tired of the tuna. It’s a nice change of pace and the hearty chunks go nicely with beans, salads, sandwiches or whatever.

  2. Tuna (fresh or canned) was unknown in my house when I was growing up. In fact, I probably bought the first can I ever tasted some time in my early 20s. And I only enjoy the canned (light) tuna cold .. in sandwiches or as tuna macaroni salad. I even got my mom to try and like these 2 dishes. Not my dad though. Lemon juice is my secret to getting the canned tuna to taste amazing. Never tried it hot though.

    • I used to make Tuna & Macaroni Salad and still love it!! You had quite a different experience, though, I’m sure, since you were born in Romania. Since my Mom’s grandparents were born in Ireland & Germany, I was already 3rd generation on her side. We were pretty well raised on “American” type dishes and the old recipes came out only now and then on Holidays or at my Grandma’ss house.

      • I actually spent the first 7 years of my live in the former Yugoslavia though we spoke Romanian at home not Serbian, the official language. It took years before my mom would cook us things like pizza or spaghetti … we lived in an Italian neighbourhood but my mom was too busy working during the day to talk to the Italian moms in the neighbourhood and talk food. She worked in a Jewish deli (the owners were from Romania) so I got to enjoy some Jewish food like knishes and matzoh ball soup.

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