FOOD & COOKING

20+ tasty ways to enjoy canned tuna

20+ tasty ways to enjoy canned tuna

We’ve just gone into a four-week lockdown here in New Zealand to slow the spread of the coronavirus. So eating from our pantry has become really important for us. Luckily, even before this crisis began we had a well-stocked pantry. That’s because we’ve found that so many quick and delicious meals can be created from pantry staples such as pasta, rice, canned beans and canned fish.

Of all the foods we keep in our pantry, we’ve found that canned tuna is one of the most versatile ingredients. In fact, with a little imagination, and some inspiration from Mediterranean and Asian cuisines, it’s easy to take a humble can of tuna and turn it into an almost endless variety of tasty, nourishing dishes. Here are some ideas:

Tuna in Salads: Canned tuna combines wonderfully with canned beans in salads such as Tuna and chickpea salad; Spanish potato, tuna and white bean salad; and Mediterranean tuna and white bean salad. Canned tuna also takes center stage in the classic Provençal Salade Niçoise. You can also add canned tuna to our French herbed lentil salad (the flavor of lentils and fennel complements tuna perfectly) or add canned tuna to our Moroccan chickpea and couscous salad.

Tuna and Pasta: Take two pantry staples — tuna and pasta — and you can create an easy meal in no time. Enjoy canned tuna in simple tomato-based pasta sauces such as Tuna, zucchini and basil pasta, or Lentil and tuna bolognese. One of our favorite pasta dishes that uses canned tuna is Pasta with tuna, broccoli, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and basil (see photo below). Canned tuna also makes a delicious addition to Pasta puttanesca, while also boosting the protein and omega-3 content. You can also assemble a pasta bake with tuna and ingredients like onion, tomato, spinach, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, broccoli, olives and herbs. Or combine tuna with ricotta and spinach in a lasagna. Or simply toss chunks of canned tuna into pasta salads with vegetables and a herb vinaigrette or pesto.

Tuna in Stews: Add a can of tuna to rich tomato-based braises and stews. In our rustic and flavorful Spanish braised chickpeas with tuna and olives, canned tuna is stirred into a smoky tomato sauce with stuffed olives and fresh parsley. Canned tuna also works wonderfully in Italian style stews.

Tuna and Bread: Give your tuna sandwiches an ethnic twist with a few flavorful additions. Add an Asian accent to a tuna baguette with ingredients like cilantro, bean sprouts, fish sauce and pickled vegetables to create a tuna Banh mi. Use canned tuna to top bruschetta (such as Pesto bruschetta topped with tuna, white bean, cherry tomato and artichoke salad), as a pizza topping, or as a filling for panini or foccacia with baby spinach, roasted red peppers and pesto or tapenade. Make an Italian-style tuna melt by mixing canned tuna with chopped sun-dried tomatoes, olive or capers, fresh basil or pesto, and top with mozzarella before broiling.

Tuna with Rice: Another terrific combo is tuna in risotto, which goes particularly well with tomatoes, peas, zucchini, leek, fennel or asparagus. Just make sure to stir the canned tuna into the risotto at the end of cooking to simply warm it through. You can also use canned tuna as a filling ingredient in Sushi rolls and Sushi hand rolls. Stir canned tuna with mayo and roll up with seasoned sushi rice and nori seaweed together with any combo of cucumber, scallion, carrot, mushroom, avocado, omelet, and sesame seeds. Try using tuna in Indian rice dishes and curries. Canned tuna is also perfect tossed in rice salads.

Tuna with Potatoes: Stuff a jacket potato with tuna and ingredients like creamed corn, chopped tomatoes and scallion. Make a gratin with layers of thinly sliced potatoes, onion, and canned tuna, plus grated cheese mixed into a white sauce, then baked in the oven.

Tuna and the rest: You can use canned tuna mixed with cooked rice and herbs to stuff vegetables like red bell peppers. Canned tuna can also be added to egg dishes including frittatas, omelets and quiches. And you can mix canned tuna with breadcrumbs and egg, shape into patties, and pan-fry until crisp and golden. They’re great for burgers with the usual fixings, or simply serve with salad on the side.