Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Elevated Tuna Salad in Lettuce Wraps

In an attempt to trick my mind into believing that spring here in Michigan means warmth and sunshine, I took to the kitchen yesterday to make something that would possibly (pretty please with a cherry on top) put me in a spring-like, not-so-dreadfully-chilly mindset.  Never mind that it was actually only like, thirty-some degrees here.  And, disregard that there wasn't an ounce of sunshine in the overcast sky here in my little corner of the world.  I was feelin' spring-y, darn it!

And, while I love, love, love warm, comforting soups and casseroles, I am more than ready for summer fare.  My body (and taste buds) are craving lighter, fresher menu options.  Kabobs on the grill.  Slices of juicy, red watermelon.  Sweet tea with hoards of ice and lots of lemon slices.  Fresh, crisp salads piled high with homegrown veggies from my mother-in-law's garden.  Refrigerator pickles.  And, tuna salad lettuce wraps.

I often make "elevated" tuna salad in the summer, but detour around the bread and instead, use lettuce.  Sometimes I simply top a bed of lettuce or spinach with this tuna salad - and eat it with a fork.  Other times (as was the case yesterday), I use lettuce as the vehicle to get this tasty tuna concoction into my mouth.  I adore the crispness that comes along with using lettuce.

Please know that this is not a mayo-based tuna salad.  I simply dress this with olive oil and freshly-squeezed lemon juice.  This is a light, refreshing version of your childhood tuna salad.  (If you feel like you need to have that creaminess that comes along with using mayo, you could certainly add a little bit in to the mixture.  A dollop of Greek yogurt would work well, too.)

Preparing and devouring this probably would have done the trick of bringing springtime to my world yesterday had it not been for the fact that I had to eat it curled up next to the fire, covered with a blanket and looking out at flurries of snowflakes.  It was worth the try, however, and yielded a delicious outcome that became my lunch. (Can't win 'em all.)

Yields 2 servings.


1 8-oz. can tuna packed in water, drained well
1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 small or 1/2 large apple, chopped
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds  (walnuts or pecans work well, too)
1 - 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 - 1 lemon
Lettuce leaves
Fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)


Combine the tuna, cherries (or cranberries), onion, celery, apple and sunflower seeds in a bowl.

Season with a good amount of black pepper and a sprinkling of salt.

Begin by adding in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the juice of 1/2 of a lemon.  Taste and add additional olive oil or lemon (per your preference).  Adjust seasoning as needed.

Serve inside of crisp lettuce leaves.

NOTE:  I did make these wraps a little larger than I typically would - for the sake of the photos.  Normally, the recipe would yield four smaller wraps, which would be easier to hold while eating.


  1. This looks light and delicious and SUMMER-Y! I hear ya on the Michigan weather. When is Spring going to be here? Of course, it's another overcast day here in Ferndale. Come on, Spring!

    1. Hi there, Lori. I'm happy to report that in my little part of Michigan, we have sun today! It's a start ... I'll take the little bit I can get! :) Hope you enjoy a wonderful Easter weekend ... blessings!

  2. I love tuna salad and this looks so fresh! In my little corner of Michigan it's 38. Still waiting for spring to show up....

    1. Yes, I'm don't think Mother Nature has a clue what she's doing this year! ;) One day warm here and the next is freezing with some flurries! :)