The Easiest Way To Upgrade Your Tuna Salad

It's a classic you probably ate regularly while growing up. Traditional tuna salad, like the one you might remember from childhood, is an easy and yummy staple in many Americans' diets (even if you're opting for a vegan version based on the original). Nutritionally, tuna provides an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, is rich in vitamin D and protein, and has zero carbohydrates (per Verywell Fit).

While many traditional versions of tuna salad are bathed in mayonnaise – and we're definitely not dissing the creamy favorite — what happens if there's none on hand? There are many mayo alternatives that can help to keep your tuna salad recipes fresh and interesting. Some ingredients, such as mustard, for example, are also lower in calories and fat than mayo, per Taste.

When it comes to jazzing up your tuna salad, among the alternatives are spritzing some lemon juice, adding a splash of olive oil, or using mustard in place of mayo, to combat dryness. 

Douse and drizzle for added moisture

What ingredient can majorly spruce up your tuna? Almost anything that adds moisture — from hummus to salad dressing to Greek yogurt, and more. Greatist is a fan of using oil: "Olive, truffle, and even toasted sesame are just a few drool-worthy examples ... to coat the meat and bring in a subtle taste."

According to Food Network, chef Giada de Laurentiis brings in other flavors, adding cannellini beans, capers, endive, fennel, and arugula for insalata di tonno, the Italian version of the American standard. Tasting Table is in favor of using a rich mayo substitute, such as sour cream or labneh, or Asian influences, such as Kewpie mayo, Sriracha, or rice vinegar. Sweet pickle relish is another moisture-producing ingredient, and its subtle sweetness can help to mask tuna's fishy taste.

Other substitutes for mayo in tuna, per Cooking Light, are pesto, avocado, and nut butter. In addition to these choices, Greatist also suggests adding texture and crunch in the form of cut veggies (celery and onion, of course), and flavor by way of the seasoning. For added zest, try cumin or ginger.