Carrot and Canned Tuna Salad

This salad is another very simple, but surprisingly good dish I have found on the Humble Bean blog. The author adapted it from a Japanese cook’s recipe (Harumi Kurihara’s) and even though at first sight the salad seems European, its simplicity, its perfect choice of ingredients and the method have a typical Japanese touch. The recipe was published in January, but during this particularly cold winter light salads were the last thing I craved. Somehow it stayed engraved in my memory and proved excellent at this warm beginning of the spring.

Even though I have prepared it only twice, I already feel this salad will become a staple in my house. Carrots are available all year round, they have quite a long storage life, not to mention the canned tuna I always have, so this will be convenient in any season. It is light, but surprisingly filling and if served with crunchy, buttered baguette (in my opinion the best choice), it works not only as a healthy snack, but even as a light main course. I think what I love the most about this salad is the difference of textures. The partly cooked crisp carrot, combined with soft tuna and mustard – or sesame – seeds, create an exceptional effect. Even though I have slightly modified it  (click here to see the original recipe), the result was stunning.

Preparation: 15 minutes + 1 hour in the fridge

Ingredients (serves two for main course or four as a starter):

1 can tuna, drained (white tuna works better here)

4 medium carrots, julienned

1 onion or shallot thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon oil


5 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 heaped tablespoon whole grain mustard (or smooth mustard + 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds)

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (I used rice vinegar)

ground pepper

In a big bowl combine the sauce ingredients with the crumbled tuna.

Heat oil in a pan and fry the onion until it softens.

Add the garlic and the carrots.

Stir-fry until the carrots are a bit softened (about 5 minutes).

Let the carrots cool down.

Put the carrots into the bowl and stir well.

Refrigerate for one hour.

Serve with crunchy bread and butter.




38 Replies to “Carrot and Canned Tuna Salad”

    1. You are joking??? Remember when we posted the same day exactly the same coconut cake recipe?
      It’s even funnier because I have actually had this salad for lunch today too! (I rarely post the same day’s dishes so it’s exceptional). We definitely have some telepathy going on between Switzerland and Sweden 😉
      Thank you for the compliment. This salad is really good! I hope you will post your recipe one day too.

    1. Thank you, Jeno. I have also thought the combination original even though so simple and obvious… Everything tastes better with sesame seeds 😉

  1. Very nice sald! There are so many kinds of Tina salad yet I have never tried one that I have to fry prior to mixing. This is something we can make anytime considering ingredients are typical in fridge and pantry. Looks very delish!!

    1. Thank you so much, Nami. I also know dozens of different tuna salads, but it was the first with carrots and also the first involving short frying stage.

    1. I also love tuna with corn and often combine both with salads. This was a nice change from usual salads.

  2. I think carrots and tuna work very well together and it makes for a very colourful dish. This is a great salad that’s also so good for you xx

  3. Hmmm … this is so strange. I mean between you and Mr T.
    Great salad this. Light and satisfying. With some crusty bread and I’d be happy to have this as my lunch.

    1. Isn’t it? I think we might sometimes share the same “food preference mood” 😉
      Thank you, Ping. I had it once as lunch and once as a snack and it was perfect in both roles.

  4. Nice combo, and you are right I have all the ingredients all the time, but never thought in mixing tuna and carrots…I will need to give this a try 🙂
    Thanks for this interesting recipe and hope you are having a great week Sissi!

  5. This sounds like a lovely combination Sissi – light but offering great satiety with the tuna. I eat salad with protein almost every workday for lunch. I just find it to be the best way to work in a slew of vegetables alongside a tasty protein and there are so many different dressings you can play around with to change it up. I’m happy to add this delicious version to my rotation!

    p.s. I actually had to think about the calculation below – haha! I must be hungry ;-).

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. Proteins are the key ingredients in my salads too. I still cannot understand how all those women eating a green salad, tomatoes, cucumbers and a sauce survive!

  6. Hi Sissi – I can imagine this would be delicious with some carrots which still have the greens on top. I try to buy only these nowadays. The difference in flavour is incredible because with those they are quite fresh by default, while other carrots – who knows how long they’ve been sitting in a storage house somewhere, but I digress…

    I recently ate a dish with a LOT of tuna inside so I’m kind of off it at the moment, but it’s hard to ever totally stop liking this fish so in a couple of weeks I’ll be ready to eat it again I think – I’ll remember this pretty salad 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Charles. I also like younger carrots with greens, but I am convinced the organic carrots I buy are quite fresh because even kept in my fridge they don’t keep for longer than a week, while they look excellent and fresh in the shop. These are only my suspicions, but I hope I’m right. I hope you try it when you start missing tuna again 😉
      It’s funny how many people love canned tuna and I know even those who never eat fresh fish, but canned tuna is regularly a part of their meals.

    1. Thank you, Katerina. I am sure it’s a good diet dish. Good luck with your diet! Thank you for visiting my blog.

  7. Sissi….yea it does sound simple but I am sure it tasted good and healthy. Perfect salad for me too and I have bookmarked it for my bento 🙂 Easy to whip up on working days 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Elin. I never make bentos, but you are right, it must be excellent in it.

  8. Dear Sissi,

    I think canned tuna is one of the most versatile ingredients to toss up a simple snack or lunch. But whenever I use canned tuna, I prefer to not do any cooking at all such as tossing it with fresh butter lettuce with some roasted almond flakes.

    1. Apart from pasta with canned tuna this was the only dish I prepared requiring a cooking stage. I usually use tuna in quick salads. I have never had it with almond flakes. Thanks for the idea.

    1. Thank you, Helene. I will certainly make this salad on hot Summer days. I hope you can make it.

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