Clean Eating Tuna Salad

This recipe is inspired by the tasting tiki hut at Trader Joe’s.

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I’m thankful that they manage to give me a quick little snack when the munchies hit, and they also tend remind me of things I love that have somehow fallen off the radar.

Case in point: tuna salad.

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We were getting our weekly groceries and passed by the tasting hut, and I saw they were serving tuna salad on crackers. I picked up a cracker and gave it to Liv, saying, “It’s tuna. It’s fish.” 

I tried to emphasize that it was fish so she didn’t bite into it expecting something sweet. (I’m still horrified from the time I thought caviar was jelly. That’s a surprise you never want to get.)

“It’s GOOD. I like it.”

Thrilled that she enjoyed it, I grabbed two cans of tuna from the taster hut -a puppet to the TJ’s marketing managers- and went home to make this copycat recipe. One of the things I really enjoyed about the tuna salad was that it was mayo-free -I love mayo but realize not everyone is a fan- and included sunflower seeds for a boost of nutrients. It was a perfect protein-packed afternoon snack.


Here’s the recipe:


Clean Eating Tuna Salad

A high-protein snack or lunch option that’s wonderful on a salad, on crackers or in a wrap

  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 2 1x


  • 2 6-oz cans of tuna, drained
  • 2 oz creamy goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Pepper
  • a squeeze of lemon juice


  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients.
  2. That’s it!


  • When buying tuna, check the label. Aim for BPA-free packaging and fish that is sustainably caught.

Let me know if you give it a try!

Any lunchtime staples that you’re currently loving?

I’m off to teach my first Zumba class back in the game! Wahoo 🙂

See ya later today.



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  1. Alex @ Kenzie Life on May 6, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Tuna used to be my favorite thing when I was kid. I’m pretty sure I still have abnormally high levels of mercury in me because I used to eat it It’s the one thing I actually miss since I went veg almost a decade ago. I just bought some jalepeno pimento cheese from Whole Foods as a treat during exam period and that has made the most amazing lunch on a sprouted whole wheat bagel with tomatoes, lettuce, and sprouts. It’s creamy, slightly spicy, and delicious!

  2. Jackie on May 6, 2014 at 10:53 am

    I need to get on the boat with these clever tuna twists!

  3. RachelG on May 6, 2014 at 11:03 am

    This morning on the news there was a report that women who eat tuna live happier lives. I now judge my mom for letting me say “ew, tuna is gross” when I was 5 and never pushing me to try it again. 😉

  4. Haley @Cupcakes and Sunshine on May 6, 2014 at 11:17 am

    I can not get enough tuna lately! I have been making lots of tuna wraps. This sounds wonderful!

  5. Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on May 6, 2014 at 11:35 am

    I love making tuna creations and haven’t done so in a while, so you’ve inspired me to revisit my canned fish friend.

    Lately, I’ve been all about the chunky, protein-filled meal-size green smoothie for lunch. Have fun teaching Zumba!

  6. Erika on May 6, 2014 at 11:53 am

    I am quite the sucker for samples in TJ’s…90% of the time I usually buy what I’m sampling.

    I LOVE the yellowfin tuna from TJ’s…it can be a bit pricey per can but is def delish.

    I know you love goat cheese…I’m not usually a fan but recently stumbled upon Silver Goat brand goat cheese. It’s deliciously smooth and creamy…not too pungent. That’s my new go to…and they sell the regular and garlic/herb varieties in TJ’s.

    • Fitnessista on May 6, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      ohhh i will look for it!

  7. Polly @ Tasty Food Project on May 6, 2014 at 11:56 am

    I really like tuna but haven’t ate in a while!

    Good luck with your zumba class! Can’t wait to hear about it!

    • Fitnessista on May 6, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      thank you!

  8. Heather on May 6, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Love this idea for tuna salad, I’m not a huge fan of goat cheese though, would feta work? I might have to experiment. For lunch lately I’ve been having lots of plain old salads with the TJ’s cilantro dressing (that stuff is amazing!). Good luck at Zumba!!

    • jean on May 6, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      Heather, I’m not a fan of goat cheese, either. I keep trying to like it, but so far no luck. I wonder if it would be more palatable mixed in with something like tuna?

      OR… if you like hummus, you can use it instead of mayo. I’ve become a fan of that combo (tuna & hummus).

    • Fitnessista on May 6, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      i think feta would be delicious 🙂
      and yes, the cilantro dressing is SO GOOD

  9. Megan @ The Skinny-Life on May 6, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    I love tuna! I never ate it until a year ago. I used to hate the smell as a child when my Mom would make tuna salad. I realized it was actually the mayo that made my stomach turn. Now I eat tuna several times a week on a salad. It’s a nice light lunch especially when it’s so very hot!

  10. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on May 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    I love the tasting hut at Trader Joes! I’m always introduced to tasty meals!

    I’ve been loving flavored balsamics lately. I love putting them on my lunch salads.

  11. Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed on May 6, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    I’ve always “hated” tuna salad… but I like chicken salad, seafood salad, egg salad… and I like tuna steak. Sooooo maybe I need to give it another go! I love the idea of skipping the mayo. And I’m loving your little lettuce boats 🙂

  12. Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork on May 6, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Sounds delicious! Love the combo of the capers and goat cheese! I’m impressed Liv liked it, too! Now, if only my husband would eat goat cheese. Maybe I’ll make it for myself and make him try some. Pinning this!

  13. melissa on May 6, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Are the (I think) red pepper and cucumber in the photograph for illustration purposes only or are they also ingredients in the recipe? 🙂

  14. Elizabeth {Positively Healthy} on May 6, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    I love tuna salad and eat it almost everyday for lunch {easy to pack and packed with protein, win-win}. I love adding hot sauce to mine or avocado and hot sauce, sometimes I will add mini baby bell cheese!

  15. jrm on May 6, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Hold up, you love mayo? Really? I would think you’d be terrified of it.

  16. Paula on May 6, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Goat cheese in tuna! I can’t believe this never occurred to me. I’ve tried both Greek yogurt and mustard, but goat cheese… And I just happen to have a tub of fresh garlic and chive goat cheese from a tour I took of a goat farm the other day!

  17. Tracy on May 6, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I’m not a fan of mayo but i adore goat’s cream cheese so this is right up my alley. Love the addition of sunflower seeds & capers… will definitely give this a try. I usually add chopped up pickles but capers sound awesome!

    I always feel like “you win” when a store’s marketing sucks me into buying something unplanned!

  18. Jay on May 6, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    That sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing. I too totally fall into the TJ marketing. My little guy, who never wants to taste anything, is also a sucker for trying stuff at TJ’s. 🙂

    • Fitnessista on May 6, 2014 at 6:22 pm

      liv is the same way! she’ll try anything if it’s from the tasting hut

  19. Lauren @ Focused To Be Fit on May 6, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    I love the addition of goat cheese! Lately, I’ve been stuffing an Ezekiel Pita with Applegate Farms Turkey Pastrami, jalapenos, spinach, feta and dijon. To. Die. For!

    • Fitnessista on May 6, 2014 at 6:22 pm

      happening. asap.
      (ps how did i not know about turkey pastrami?!)

  20. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on May 6, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Love Tuna Salad – so excited to see this cleaned up version. Will be trying it out for sure!

    • Fitnessista on May 6, 2014 at 6:21 pm

      let me know what you think!

  21. Jeannie on May 6, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    What kind of tuna do you buy?
    I know there are various types-albacore,chink light etc
    Which is the best??

    • Fitnessista on May 6, 2014 at 6:21 pm

      i’m not really brand loyal since it’s not a frequent purchase, but i’ll just check out the options at whole foods and trader joes and make sure to read the cans. i honestly don’t know the difference between the types! i just make sure it’s in water instead of oil, sustainably caught and bpa-free packaging

      • Jen on May 6, 2014 at 9:16 pm

        The other thing I recently started looking at was whether or not there is a broth added to canned tuna. Many of the less expensive varieties have vegetable broth, which then frequently contains MSG. Just something to think about!

        • Shaina Anderson on May 7, 2014 at 2:21 am

          I recently learned that chunk light has less mercury than albacore….importante for the pregnant ladies and/or tuna hounds 🙂

        • Fitnessista on May 7, 2014 at 11:23 am

          good to know! thank you

  22. Kat on May 6, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    That reminds of me of Lilo and Stitch! “Do you know what tuna is? IT’S FISH!”

    • Fitnessista on May 6, 2014 at 6:20 pm

      this made me laugh. that’s my favorite line of the movie 🙂

  23. Julie @ Better Life with Burgers on May 6, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Great looking tuna salad! I love tuna and have started using plain Greek yogurt instead of mayo to increase my protein. Also, thanks for the note on buying sustainably caught fish! 🙂

  24. Natalie @ The Ravenous Mommy on May 6, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    I have never thought about adding goat cheese to tuna, AMAZING! I need to try that next. My “trick” is usually to sub hummus for mayo.

  25. Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs on May 6, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    I had tuna salad last week — the first time in forever! I still love it 🙂

  26. kristina on May 6, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    I just love your blog. =) It’s the first one i read every day. I also love that you now live in San Diego. I live in LA..not too far..AND will be in SD in two weeks to watch the crossfit so cal regional competition at the del mar fairgrounds! cant wait!!! are you planning on checking it out?

    • Fitnessista on May 7, 2014 at 11:23 am

      thank you so much much, kristina!
      i didn’t even know it was happening. del mar is a bit of a haul for me, but i would love to go check it out!

  27. Shaina Anderson on May 7, 2014 at 2:23 am

    Every Wednesday morning you can find Tripp making a b-line for the “baby cart!” and racing straight back to get his “sample?! sample mama!”. Occasionally he stops to put bananas in his cart if he remembers.

    • Fitnessista on May 7, 2014 at 11:21 am

      haha! he knows what’s up

  28. Elaine on May 7, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    These look fantastic! Thanks for sharing!!

  29. martha@ simple-nourished-living on May 10, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    I love tuna and have it a lot for lunch. One of my favorite ways to eat it is mixed with white beans in a simple lemon olive oil dressing. YUM!
    Salads are definitely by go-to lunch choice. I usually work with last night’s leftovers and some mixed greens as a starting point and then improvise from there.

  30. Amelia on June 4, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Goat cheese in tuna salad sounds so good! I love that idea.

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