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  • Shannon Crocker, RD PHEc

Pantry Meals: Five Easy Un-Recipes with Canned Tuna



So you've got a pantry filled with canned goods. Now what?


Keeping your kitchen stocked with basic, nutrient-rich foods that can be easy meal starters is a super strategy to help you limit trips to the grocery store. Right now, that's important for physical distancing.


To help you use up foods you may have stocked up on, I'm sharing tips and easy meal ideas with some basic kitchen staples I've stocked. Today it's protein-packed tuna.


I prefer light Italian tuna packed in oil (I drain it) for the taste. It's also usually less expensive than white tuna. I buy the larger cans (better value than small, individual tins) and stock up when it's on sale.


But please, buy the tuna you enjoy that fits in your budget.


Here are five easy, un-recipes to try with canned tuna:


1. Mediterranean Pasta with Tuna

Toss tuna with cooked pasta, chickpeas (drained and rinsed), fresh or frozen (defrosted) greens (e.g. baby kale, spinach) and sliced kalamata olives. Add a good drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of chili flakes, a big squeeze of lemon, a good amount of parmesan, a bit of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Delicious warm or room temperature.


2. Tuna-Stuffed Avocado

Top an avocado half with tuna. Serve on a big handful of greens (e.g. arugula) with a side of grape tomatoes. Drizzle all with olive oil, a big squeeze of lemon and a good grind of fresh pepper.


3. Tuna on Cucumber Slices

Mix tuna with a few big spoonfuls of muffuletta. Serve on large cucumber slices cut on the diagonal (like it's baguette). Great for a small meal or for a shareable snack.


4. Tuna Salad Sandwich

A tuna sandwich might be obvious, but this one is anything but basic! I like to jazz the tuna up a bit: add diced dill pickles, chopped olives, green onion, chili flakes and a lot of freshly squeezed lemon. Scoop it onto a toasted sour dough bread, smeared with a bit of mayo and layered with lots of crunchy iceberg lettuce.


5. Baked Potato Tuna Melt

Like a tuna melt, but with a baked potato (or sweet potato)! Start with your baked potato, cut in half, top with tuna salad (above) and a good handful of shredded cheese (mozzarella and extra old cheddar are my go to's) and broil until the cheese is gooey and melt-y.


Hope this inspires you to open up that can of tuna and experiment in your kitchen.


Stay healthy and well,


Shannon