Keto Tuna Salad is an easy and quick meal that will bring you back to the good ole days. This keto tuna salad recipe is so low in carbs that it fits perfectly into your low carb lifestyle.
Tuna salad is such an old-time classic that I’m pretty sure most of us remember. For me, my mom used to make me tuna salad sandwiches all the time, or even sometimes she would just put it in a bowl and I would dip my chips into it and eat it that way.
Or let’s not forget the good ole Tuna Boat served at school…oh yeah that was always a day I would get school lunch.
When I was in my early 20’s, I lived in Chile for 9 weeks with one of my friends. We were young and poor, living in a foreign county. When we saw canned tuna fish on the shelf at the grocery store, I can’t even tell you how happy we were. Tuna salad became our go-to lunch and dinner for the entire 9 weeks. And weirdly enough I didn’t actually get tired of eating tuna salad.
One of the best things about tuna salad is that you really don’t have to do something special to it to turn it into being keto-friendly, it’s already super low in carbs.
What is Tuna Salad?
So what exactly a tuna salad? It’s basically just canned tuna mixed with mayo. Other ingredients that are commonly added include pickles, celery, onions, vinegar, and spices.
Traditionally tuna salad is then spread on 2 pieces of bread and served as a tuna salad sandwich, but you can make a wrap too or just eat it as a side.
Is Tuna Salad Healthy?
Tuna on its own is a great healthy option and gives you a high amount of protein while keeping the calories nice and low. Tuna is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and lots of vitamins.
But the question is tuna salad healthy? Generally speaking, yes tuna salad is a healthy option. But just be careful how much mayonnaise you add to it because that’s where your calories and fat are going to be.
Honestly, a small amount of mayo is all that’s needed to make your low carb tuna salad. This keto tuna salad recipe has only 130 calories for ½ cup. It’s a great low-calorie recipe!
Can You Eat Canned Tuna on a Keto Diet?
So does tuna have carbs? Is it suitable for those of us eating low carb? I am so happy to tell you that there are ZERO carbs in a can of tuna fish!! So go ahead and add it to your list of keto-approved foods.
Is Tuna Salad Keto?
We already know now that canned tuna is keto but what about tuna salad?? As long as the ingredients you add to your tuna salad are low in carbs then it’s totally acceptable for keto.
Using ingredients like mayo, onions, celery, and pickles are really good in tuna salad. Now mayo doesn’t have any carbs but remember that veggies like onions do have carbs. So just go easy on the amount you add.
For ½ cup of our keto tuna salad, it’s only 0.7 NET CARBS
I suggest making your own tuna salad because when buying pre-made ones from the grocery store they will most likely have added sugars that are completely unnecessary.
What Ingredients are in a Low Carb Tuna Salad?
- Canned Tuna – Chicken of the Sea Solid White Albacore Tuna in water is my favorite. It’s large cuts of tuna instead of small chunks. I always buy tuna in water and not oil. There’s no need for the extra calories and I just prefer the taste of it as well.
- Mayonnaise – Hellman’s is the ONLY brand I buy. Hands down, it’s the best. But you also could make your own homemade mayo as well.
- Red Onion – I only used a ½ cup of chopped red onion. Feel free to add a bit more if you want to.
- Celery – If you aren’t a big fan of celery, then feel free to leave it out. But I like the flavor and added crunch it gives my tuna salad.
- Dill Pickles – Claussen Kosher Mini Dill Pickles are the best.
- Vinegar – This isn’t something that you have to add, but I feel like the added zing is a great addition. I used Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, but if you have white vinegar that’s fine too.
- Spices & Herbs – Salt, pepper and fresh parsley
What is the Best Tuna for Tuna Salad?
What kind of tuna should I use? – The best option for making the best keto tuna salad is to use either canned tuna or tuna pouches. The two most common types of tuna out there are White Albacore and Chunk Light.
- White Albacore Tuna: Albacore tuna flesh is lighter in color and firmer in texture. Albacore tuna has a more mild flavor.
- Chunk Light Tuna: This tends to be a mix of smaller tuna species including skipjack, yellowfin, big-eye, or tongol. Chunk light also has a stronger flavor than albacore tuna.
My go-to brand is Chicken of the Sea Solid White Albacore Tuna. I’ve found that both kinds are good and that a lot of people just have their personal preferences.
Tuna in Water vs Tuna in Oil
While they both taste good I recommend using tuna packed in water rather than tuna packed in oil. You really don’t need the extra oil in your tuna salad since you’re adding mayonnaise. The mayo has plenty of oil already.
If all you have in your house is tuna packed in oil then I would put it in a colander and rinse it, then get all the excess water and oil out of the tuna.
Use Low Carb Mayo
Regular mayo is already low carb and is often used on a keto diet. As far as store-bought mayo I only use Hellman’s. But if you want a homemade mayonnaise that works just as well too!
Stay away from Miracle Whip as there are 2 carbs per tablespoon.
What Seasonings to Use?
There isn’t a big need for several seasonings. I only use a small amount of salt and pepper, plus about a half of a cup of fresh parsley.
Other spices that can be added are:
- Garlic Powder
- Celery Salt
- Onion Powder
- Dried or Fresh Dill
Variations and Substitutions
There are so many different things you can add to your keto tuna salad. Who would have thought that so many things go well with tuna?? Here are some options for mixing it up a bit:
- Avocado – Instead of mayo you can use an avocado. It’s going to give you the creaminess you need while still giving you some healthy fat and good flavor. Using this option will make your low carb tuna salad egg-free.
- Lemon – Add a little bit of lemon juice or even lemon zest. Lemon goes great with pretty much any kind of seafood.
- Peppers – Chopped bell peppers, either red, yellow, orange, or green.
- Eggs – A lot of people add chopped hard-boiled eggs to their keto tuna salad. It adds extra protein without adding extra carbs.
- Capers – Practically no carbs, they will add a briny, salty flavor to the keto tuna.
- Vinegar – Apple Cide Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar, and White Vinegar are all good options while on keto or a low carb diet. Try to stay away from Balsamic Vinegar if you are eating low carb.
- White Balsamic Vinegar – This isn’t the best for keto, but if you aren’t on keto then you can definitely add this. It’s probably one of my favorite kinds of vinegar, not nearly as bitey as regular balsamic.
- Mustard – You can add a small amount of dijon mustard or ground mustard if you like the taste. It goes well in keto egg salad, so why not try it in keto tuna salad.
Making Tuna Salad Without Mayo
Do you have an egg allergy? Or maybe you just don’t like mayo? That’s ok, you still can enjoy this keto tuna salad recipe. A few ideas I have for you are:
Avocado – Make a creamy avocado base by mashing avocado, salt, pepper, avocado oil, and lemon juice together in a food processor until you get a paste-like consistency.
Mustard Base – Combine dijon mustard with lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper.
Mediterranean Style – Combine olive oil, garlic, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper.
Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream – These are both great options if you are not on Keto or a low carb diet.
How Do You Make Tuna Taste Good?
I personally like eating plain tuna out of a can, I think it tastes really good. But I know a lot of people don’t like things as plain as I do.
So if that’s the case, then simply adding some vinegar, salt, pepper, pickles, and onions will make your low carb tuna salad taste delicious.
Can I Make This Into a Southern Tuna Salad?
A southern tuna salad is a tuna salad that has hard-boiled eggs and relish in it. Relish is not keto-friendly since it’s higher in carbs and full of sugar.
So instead of using relish, chop up some fresh dill pickles and add a little bit of pickle juice. Now you can have a southern keto tuna salad.
How to Make Keto Tuna Salad from Scratch
5-minute recipes are always a go-to favorite of mine. And this is the best tuna salad for the taste and for the quick prep time. Follow these simple instructions:
Start by chopping all your veggies: red onion, celery, pickles, and the fresh parsley.
Next, open the cans of tuna and drain them well. I normally transfer it to a small bowl.
In a mixing bowl add the tuna, parsley, celery, mayo and pickles.
Next add the salt, pepper and vinegar.
Mix it all together well.
Garnish with parsley, serve and EAT IT!
Some tips that I find useful to make this the best keto tuna salad recipe:
- Drain the tuna really well, you don’t want there to have excess water in your tuna salad.
- To make this recipe Paleo or Whole30 compliant replace the store-bought mayo with homemade mayo instead.
- If you don’t want or like mayo, replace it with a dijon mustard dressing or avocado.
- If you are not on keto then you can replace the mayo with Greek yogurt or sour cream.
How to Keep Tuna Salad from Being Watery?
Ok, so you definitely don’t want a watery or soggy low carb tuna salad. The way to avoid it from being watery is to make sure you drain the tuna really well first, especially if you are using Chunk Light Tuna, it tends to be more watery.
Also, if you are adding mayo or even vinegar don’t add too much. The more you add the more watery or soggy it will become.
Other Diets This Recipe is Good For
Gluten-Free: Don’t we all just love recipes that are gluten-free? This keto tuna salad recipe is one of those favorite gluten-free ones everyone can enjoy.
Dairy-Free: This low carb tuna salad is also dairy-free. Some people get confused and think that mayo has dairy in it, but it’s not the case. Mayo is made from eggs and oil…no dairy added at all.
Egg-Free: So this tuna salad recipe contains mayo which has eggs in it, so, unfortunately, it’s NOT EGG-FREE. But if you are allergic to eggs then replace the mayo with avocado or a dijon mustard dressing instead.
Paleo: The way the recipe is exactly it’s not quite paleo, because store-bought mayo has soybean oil in it which is not paleo. But you can still make it paleo by making your own homemade mayo using olive oil or avocado oil instead.
How to Serve Keto Tuna Salad?
What can you serve with the best tuna salad? You can serve it several different ways:
- The Classic Tuna Salad Sandwich – We have all eaten these I’m sure at some point in our lives, and if you are eating keto and think you can’t enjoy them anymore, you’re wrong. Serve this low carb tuna salad on top of 2 slices of keto or low carb bread.
- Toss Salad – Add a scoop or two of the keto tuna salad on top of a green toss salad.
- Serve the tuna salad in a Low Carb Tortilla Wrap.
- Scoop the keto tuna using some low carb tortilla chips. (One of my favorite ways.)
- Lettuce Wrap – Romaine lettuce heads, or butter lettuce work great.
- Stuffed Avocado or Tomatoes – This is a great light and refreshing way to serve your tuna salad.
Can I Make Tuna Salad Ahead for Meal Prep?
Low carb tuna salad can be prepped ahead of time. What I would do is cut up all your herbs and veggies first and keep them set aside until you are ready to mix all the ingredients together.
How to Store
Store the low carb tuna salad in a plastic or glass container and keep refrigerated. Tuna salad can last for about 2-3 days.
I really don’t like to keep any seafood longer than 3 days, it makes me too nervous.
Is Tuna Salad Better the Next Day?
I don’t feel that tuna salad is better the next day. Personally I like it best the day it’s made. It can get a little soggy and watery the longer it sits in the fridge. But it’s still completely ok to eat for about 2-3 days.
Can You Freeze Tuna Salad?
I do not recommend freezing this keto tuna salad recipe. The mayo doesn’t thaw out very well and just won’t taste very good. This recipe is so easy to make that you can just whip it up whenever you want it.
More Keto Recipes
If you’re in the mood for some other Low Carb Recipes then try our:
- Tuna-Stuffed Tomatoes
- Best Spinach Salad Recipe
- Easy Keto Egg Salad
- Crunchy Keto Taco Salad w/ Ground Beef
- Healthy Chicken Salad
They all are Keto-friendly and low carb, and will be a hit at your next meal!Print
Keto Tuna Salad is an easy and quick meal that will bring you back to the good ole days. This keto tuna salad recipe is the absolute best and so low in carbs that it fits perfectly into your low-carb lifestyle.
- 4 – 5oz cans Albacore White Tuna
- ½ cup chopped red onion
- ½ cup chopped celery
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 dill pickles, chopped
- 10 tbsp Hellman’s mayo
- 2 tsp Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- Start by opening the cans of tuna and drain them well. Then transfer it to a small bowl.
- Now chop all your veggies: red onion, celery, pickles, and the fresh parsley.
- In a mixing bowl add the tuna, veggies, and mayonnaise
- Add the salt, pepper and apple cider vinegar. Mix it all together until fully combined.
- Serve right away, or refrigerate until ready to serve.
0.7 NET CARBS PER ½ CUP
Drain the tuna really well, you don’t want there to have excess water in your tuna salad.
To make this recipe paleo or Whole30 compliant replace the store-bought mayo with homemade mayo instead.
If you don’t want or like mayo, replace it with a dijon mustard dressing or avocado.
If you are not on keto then you can replace the mayo with Greek yogurt or sour cream.
Serve this keto tuna salad recipe on top of a green salad, lettuce wraps, dip with low carb tortilla chips, tuna salad sandwich with low carb bread.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Salads
- Cuisine: American
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