Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad

Have you ever seen those packets of flavored tuna in the grocery store? They were on sale once and I got curious, so I bought a few. The idea was interesting, but the execution failed, IMHO. So what did I do? MAKE MY OWN. #storyofmylife I chose this Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad as my first homemade flavored tuna because the simple combination of sweet and spicy is always irresistible to me, but I can’t wait to try more flavors. There are so many ways you can eat this simple no-cook dish that I now it’s going to become my new summer staple!

P.S. It’s great for meal prep! 👏

A bowl of Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad surrounded by crackers and vegetables on a blue surface.

No Mayo?

Mayo-free tuna salads are super popular these days, so I went ahead and made this Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad mayo-free (and to make it more like the store-bought version). That being said, I did add a little mayo to one of the test batches and it was also awesome with mayo! So if you are a mayo tuna salad person, feel free to go ahead and add a few tablespoons of creamy goodness to the bowl.

How to Serve Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad

I’m loving this tuna salad as a snack with crackers or vegetables, stuffed into peppers as an appetizer, or stuffed into a wrap with some spinach and cucumbers or avocado. It’s really quite versatile! Scroll down to see photos of different ways I used my Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad.

Should I Use Tuna Packed in Oil or Water?

You can actually use either for this recipe. I had tuna packed in water, so I added a little oil to the salad mix. If you’re using tuna packed in oil, you can skip the olive oil listed in the ingredients below.

Close up view of Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad on a slice of cucumber, the bowl in the background.

 

Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad

This Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad is bold and flavorful, and has no mayonnaise! It's the perfect quick fix for summer months or your weekly meal prep.

  • 2 5oz. cans tuna* ($1.36)
  • 1 carrot ($0.11)
  • 2 green onions ($0.23)
  • 2 tsp brown sugar ($0.03)
  • 2 tsp olive oil ($0.08)
  • 1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar ($0.03)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.02)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • freshly cracked pepper ($0.03)
  1. Drain the tuna well, then place it in a bowl.

  2. Shred the carrot using a cheese grater. Slice the green onion.

  3. Add the carrot, green onion, brown sugar, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, cayenne, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to the bowl with the drained tuna.

  4. Stir everything to combine, then let the mixture sit for about five minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to eat.

*Tuna packed in oil or water. If using tuna packed in oil, skip the olive oil listed in the ingredients.

Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad stuffed mini peppers and celery sticks

Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad stuffed into celery sticks and mini sweet peppers. This would make a great party appetizer!

Tortilla filled with spinach, cucumber slices, and Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad

This is the wrap I made with spinach, cucumber slices, and the Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad. I wanted avocado as well, but all the avocados at the store were rock hard. That wrap is the sprouted grain wraps from Aldi. :)

Step by Step Photos

Ingredients for Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad in a bowl, unmixed

This tuna salad is incredibly easy to make. Drain two 5oz. cans of tuna (packed in oil or water) and add them to a bowl. Grate one carrot and slice two green onions. Add them to the bowl along with 2 tsp brown sugar, 2 tsp olive oil (skip if using tuna packed in oil), 1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp salt, and some freshly cracked pepper.

Mixed Sweet and Spicy Tuna Salad in the bowl

Then just mix everything together. Let it sit for about 5 minutes to let the flavors kind of blend a bit.

A cucumber dipped into the sweet and spicy tuna salad bowl

Then dig in! It’s SO good on cucumber slices.

A mini sweet pepper filled with sweet and spicy tuna salad

But these cute little sweet peppers were pretty amazing with it as well. 🤤

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