Italian Tuna Salad- This easy and healthy tuna salad requires no mayonnaise! Albacore tuna and flavorful Mediterranean favorites like fresh arugula, cherry tomatoes, corn, mozzarella and basil are dressed with olive oil and an optional splash of balsamic vinegar/glaze.
Need a quick and easy summer lunch or dinner option that doesn’t require cooking? And uses only simple readily available ingredients? I’ve recreated my favorite “Insalata di tonno” (tuna salad in Italian) from the summer I spent in Florence Italy.
It’s so easy! I CRAVE this every summer! but don’t worry, if you crave a healthy tuna salad in the dead of winter…you can absolutely make this salad any time of the year!
What’s in Italian Tuna Salad:
- Arugula (or fresh salad greens)
- Albacore Tuna (canned)
- Cherry Tomatoes- fresh (or grape tomatoes)
- Corn- fresh (or canned, or frozen)
- Mozzarella cheese
- Olive oil
- Fresh basil
- Balsamic Vinegar (or Balsamic glaze) optional
- Salt & Pepper
Massaging the arugula?
There’s one little trick that I think really makes this salad even more delicious. Massage the arugula! I know that sound weird but you wont be disappointed! Adding a little olive oil, salt and a splash of lemon juice to the arugula and massaging with your hands for a few seconds before piling all the other ingredients on top will soften up the “peppery” and “spicy” flavor of the arugula and make sure each leaf is perfectly dressed and even more tasty.
What kind of corn can be used in this salad?
Canned– Fresh corn does not grow in abundance in Italy so most Italian Tuna salads served in Italy will use canned corn.
Fresh– Here in the USA we have plenty of fresh sweet corn and using fresh corn is a great compliment to the fresh tomatoes and basil used in this recipe. You can cut the kernels from the ear of corn and use raw if you like or you can boil, microwave, or grill the corn until cooked and cut the kernels from the cob. You’ll need approx. 2 medium ears to equal 1 cup of corn used in this recipe.
Frozen– No fresh or canned corn? No worries, you can also use frozen corn just thaw it before using in the salad.
Italian Tuna Salad Variations/Substitutions/Add-Ins
- Add pasta– for a heartier salad add some cooked pasta. Shorter style pastas like bowtie, penne, macaroni or shell pasta would all work great. Add an extra drizzle of olive oil/balsamic vinegar.
- Veggies- Change up or add additional veggies. Diced onions, olives, celery, artichoke hearts or cucumber would all be good options
- Legumes– Try adding chickpeas or cannellini beans for some extra protein and fiber.
Want more Easy Summer Salad ideas? You might also like:
- Summer Melon & Proscuitto Salad
- Three Bean Salad ( with lemon & dill)
- Kale Caesar Salad ( with Parmesan Roasted Chickpeas)
Italian Tuna Salad
- 4-6 cups arugula
- 2 Tbsp olive oil divided
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice juice of ½ lemon
- 1/8 tsp salt more to taste
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved (or grape tomatoes)
- 1 cup corn *
- 1 can (4 oz) Albacore tuna, packed in olive oil , drained and broken into chunks
- 2 oz mozzarella cut or torn into bite size pieces (I like Ciliegine (cherry size balls) cut in half)
- 3-4 fresh basil leaves chopped
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze optional
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Add arugula to a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil (approx. 1 Tbsp) . Add salt and juice of ½ a lemon (approx. 1Tbsp- adjust to taste). Using your hands, lightly massage the arugula for a few seconds, making sure all leaves are evenly coated. Divide arugula onto serving plates/bowls.
- Top arugula with tomatoes, corn, tuna, mozzarella and basil. Drizzle with remaining olive oil , balsamic vinegar/glaze and salt & pepper to taste