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Warm Tuna Salad

This Warm Easy Tuna Salad Recipe is a comforting, quick, nutritious, and budget friendly recipe idea, perfect for the changing seasons! Grab a fork and dig in, or enjoy it in a sandwich or with some chips and dip.

Warm Tuna Salad in a bowl with celery and cabbage

*This post was first published in September of 2015. It has been edited and is being republished today.

Do you happen to remember Rachel Ray’s “$40 A Day” that used to air on the Food Network a few moons ago?

In it, Rachel Ray would visit a city and eat at some of the local hot spots – all for $40 a day or less! I, personally, loved that show!

I mean travelling vicariously through her excursions to all those cities was pretty amazing all by itself.

However, I always thought $40 a day for one person was kind of high.

Warm Tuna Salad in two bowls with lemon and red cabbage on a cutting board

When my daughter and I visit a city, we usually try and stick to a $40 a day budget for the both of us. Now, we don’t usually eat at any super pricey places. And, very often, we like to stay at a hotel that offers a free breakfast.

So, it’s just 2 meals or one meal and snacks that we try to keep at or below $40. Over the years, my daughter and I have been blessed to travel through Disney, the Pacific North West, California, New York, Italy, Abu Dhabi and London. And through most of our sojourns, we’ve managed to stick to this budget.

Of course, $40 a day for the both of us still gave us a lot more wiggle room I had when I lived on a $40 a week budget during my college years!

Warm Tuna Salad in a bowl surrounded with celery and chips.

Back during my college years, canned tuna played a big roll in helping me stick to my then budget of $40 a week. And it was a delicious way to add lean protein, healthy fats, and important vitamins and minerals to my diet.

In spring there were jalapenos stuffed with tuna. In summer, there was cold tuna salad on a cold baked potato (this sounds weird, but it is just so good). In fall there were tuna pasta bakes very similar to this Salmon Pasta. And in winter, there was warm tuna salad – like I have here today.

Bowl of warm easy tuna salad with a fork in it.

How to make Warm Tuna Salad?

This warm tuna salad is super easy to whip up:

• You are going to start by sauteing some onions, garlic and ginger.

• Then you are going add in some chopped celery, mustard seeds and tuna as well as some warming and aromatic spices like cumin, paprika, and turmeric.

• After that you are going to add in the red cabbage. You don’t want to cook the cabbage too long as it will loose it’s vibrant red color if cooked too long.

• Then you will add in the sesame seeds and lemon juice and this salad is ready to be devoured!

Grab a fork and dig into a bowl of this warm tuna salad. Or, grab some celery, chips or homemade crackers and dig into this war tuna salad.

All in all, I think this is a versatile, super easy, budget friendly, and nutritious dish and I hope you do too!

Warm Tuna Salad in a bowl surrounded with celery and chips.

Warm Tuna Salad

4.54 from 15 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Shashi
A warm, comforting, quick, easy and nutritious salad, perfect for the changing seasons!


  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger chopped or grated
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 12 oz container canned Tuna in water I used Bumble Bee
  • 3 stalks celery chopped
  • 1/2 cup red cabbage chopped
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Olive oil


  • Add olive oil to a frying pan over a medium flame
  • Add the chopped onion, garlic and ginger and saute till onion is translucent – about 10 minutes. Make sure to stir often so onions, ginger and garlic don’t burn.
  • Add the mustard seeds into the mix and saute about a minute more.
  • Then add the chopped celery, tuna, and turmeric, cumin, paprika and salt and stir well
  • Add in the sesame seeds and saute a minute or so
  • Add the cabbage and stir well and let cook (stirring frequently) for about 2-3 minutes
  • Take off the heat and stir in the lemon juice
  • Enjoy warm as a salad, or use as a dip – it is delicious with celery or chips!



Serving: 1g | Calories: 239kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 655mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Tag @SavorySpin or tag #savoryspin so we can share your ceation.

If you are looking for more warm / sautéed salads, then check out this Warm Lentil Salad and this Leek & Bacon Sautéed Salad.

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Recipe Rating

  1. […] but, that didn't stop my daughter from standing over the sink and wolfing down 3 in a row! Canned tuna (as well as other canned seafood), are a convenient, affordable, nutritious and delicious way to […]

  2. Karen says:

    Just tried ‘tis recipe and found it to be delicious as well as easy to prepare and chocked full of protein and veggies! I served it with cooked wild rice and enjoyed my dinner!

  3. YUM! I love tuna but always shy away from making it. Going to give this recipe a try:)

  4. rasakama says:

    A quick, simple and super tasty tuna salad ! I truly love canned tuna and love the look of this dish. Very tempting. Thank you for the recipe.

  5. I do love this warm tuna salad. I too remember food in college. At the end of the month it was spaghetti with ketchup packets for sauce. 🙂

  6. Not sure if I am more impressed with the $40 a day for two while traveling or having $40 a week while in college for food. This is a fantastic recipe. Beautiful photos too.

  7. So many delicious flavors in this simple salad! Never would have thought to use canned tuna to make a warm salad, but it looks great!

  8. Farrah says:

    Oh hells yes, this looks delicious! <3 I think I may actually have all the ingredients for it back at my friend's farm! *-* I'll definitely have to give it a try! <3

  9. I’ve never tried warm tuna salad, but I love the sound of this!

  10. i dont eat tuna as much but now this is tempting me.

  11. This is my kinda tuna salad!!! It looks so good!!! Totally craving some right now!

  12. Gorgeous colours and lighting in these photos, Shashi! What a coincidence that we both talked about college years in our post this week!
    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more colourful and interesting-sounding tuna salad.
    I love your thoughts about a travel food budget, too. My husband and I like to do that, too! 🙂

  13. My dad is such a tuna salad fan so I’m sending him this recipe!

  14. Wow, wow, wow! So much yes to this warm, vibrant, delicious and flavorful salad. Love all the awesome spices you added in this salad.

  15. spicedblog says:

    I always thought the same thing, Shashi! $40 a day for food!? That’s like when I worked in the corporate rat race and they would give reimburse us like $55 a day for food when we were traveling. With awesome recipes like this, I could eat for far less…and then use the remaining dough on something fun. And now I’m craving tuna salad for lunch today…this is the perfect Fall lunch!

    • Shashi says:

      I’m in that corporate rat race still – a coworker was just telling me how she saves up her per diems and takes her nephew someplace nice for dinner every now and then – so sweet I thought! With lil Shashi, Im out of the running for the per diem jobs which is just fine with me – nothing like your own home!
      Btw – thanks David, my college years were filled with tuna and ramen and tofu in all shapes and forms – tofu pudding for dessert? 🙂

  16. I really need to find more ways to use canned tuna, and made it look BANGIN’ here!! I love that this is warm too…perfect for lunchin’ today! Pinned!

  17. I love canned tuna, such an easy and tasty way to get lots of protein and healthy fats! This salad looks so good, love the flavors in this! yum!

  18. Angie@Angie's Recipes says:

    So very colourful and appetizing! I love all the spices you have added here.

  19. It must be a great to be able to stick to that budget and eat well. I love tuna salad, and this one sounds great 🙂