Tuna Salad sans Mayonnaise


When I decided to avoid genetically-modified foods as much as possible, one of the big challenges was what to do about mayonnaise? For the price of a gallon of mayo at the wholesale club, I could get a tiny pint of organic mayo. Ouch!

Why not eat regular mayo and salad dressings? They are all made with genetically-modified oils such as canola, soy, and corn (usually called vegetable oil). These oils come from some of the largest GMO crops in the United States, and are all sprayed with massive amounts of glyphosate, the active ingredient in RoundUp. It has been discovered that one of the inert ingredients in RoundUp is also dangerous to the health of human cells. So, I do not buy foods that are made with or contain GMO oils.

I admit that I have made my own mayonnaise in the past, but I never liked how they tasted. Something was missing. Since making my own vinegars from fruit (because white vinegar is made from GMO corn), I might try to make mayonnaise again in the future. My current solution is to keep a jar of organic mayonnaise in the fridge for sandwiches only, and make recipes that typically contain mayonnaise without that ingredient.

Sorry, but I must also discuss canned tuna as well. What do you think would be in a can of “Premium Chunk Light Tuna in water?” Tuna and water, right? Some brands contain MSG in disguise, and others contain this innocuous-sounding ingredient: vegetable broth.

Store-brand tuna with vegetable broth

Store-brand tuna with vegetable broth

What could be wrong with vegetable broth? It is made from soybeans. Yep. Soy. The majority of soy grown in the United States is genetically modified, up to 85%. Darn, darn, darn. If you read labels, you can find canned tuna that does not contain GMOs, but you will pay a high price. Just know that they are out there, and are never the inexpensive store brands or even the major tuna brands we all grew up with as children.

Tuna, jalapeno pepper, onion, pickles, agave, mustard, pear vinegar, salt and pepper

Tuna, jalapeno pepper, onion, pickles, agave, mustard, pear vinegar, salt and pepper

I discovered that you can make a tuna-salad-like sandwich spread with pretty much any meat, and probably with tofu (but I don’t eat tofu because I try not to eat soy). Just cut the meat up, shred it a little bit if possible, and combine all the ingredient like you would for tuna salad. I always keep back the chicken breasts for just this purpose when I roast a chicken. Yummy! So you can just not eat tuna if you like (though I get cravings for it once or twice a year and must indulge). Adjust your herbs and spices a little bit for different meats, and you are good to go.

That brings us to my dilemma: how do I make tuna salad without that zingy, yummy mayonnaise flavor and creamy mayonnaise texture? Let go of the tuna salad paradigm. Just let it go.

Here is what I came up with. Feel free to experiment with adding different herbs, spices, and ingredients to yours. I admit that I fermented my own pickles and fruit vinegars, and only buy organic mustard.


1 – 5 oz. can of tuna, drained (if you bought one with vegetable broth, you might consider rinsing the tuna)
1/8 cup of chopped pepper (bell, Italian, jalapeno, sweet, spicy, whatever you have on hand)
1/8 cup of finely chopped onions
1-2 tsp. non-GMO vinegar (Braggs or homemade)
1/2 tsp. mustard
1 Tbsp. chopped pickles or pickle relish (organic or counter pickles)
1/8 tsp. cumin (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix thoroughly and use as you would any tuna salad. Delicious on a whole grain tortilla, on top of a green salad, toasted with provolone cheese or a good white cheddar. Sandwich hint: store tuna in a separate container from bread and make sandwich right before eating to avoid soggy bread or tortilla.

Sweet, spicy tuna salad without mayonnaise

Sweet, spicy tuna salad without mayonnaise


4 responses »

  1. Could you use sour cream instead of mayo? Just an idea, I made some salad dressing with it instead of mayo the other day and I liked it better than mayo.


    • I made pork chops last night and intend to slice those thin and make sandwiches. I think we need to just rethink how tuna and chicken salad should taste and the need for mayonnaise.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s