Thursday, March 24, 2011

80--- Thai Tuna Salad with Chickpeas

Tuna fish is a great lean source of protein. Nutritionally, there s not a lot of difference between fresh or frozen and canned tuna..... if you make the right choice. But there are so many choices in canned tuna, it's easy to make the wrong choice. Here's a little breakdown:

Chunk Light Tuna vs. Solid Albacore: Chunk light tuna comes from a slightly smaller fish than albacore tuna, may be light pink in color. Solid albacore may have higher mercury levels than chunk light tuna fish.

Packed in Oil vs. Packed in Water: for 1 cup serving; 289 -331 calories (12-14 g fat) for oil-packed vs. 179 -220 calories (1 -4 g fat) for water packed. Also, in tuna packed in oil, some of the omega-3 fatty acids from the tuna may be leached out by the oil. When you drain the oil from the can, you may lose some of these precious nutrients. Omega-3 fatty acids will not be leached out into water, since water and oil do not mix. Therefore, you can drain the water from a can and not lose omega-3's.

I served this Thai Tuna Salad with Chickpeas over baby spinach leaves. It was a lovely, filling spring meal!

Thai Tuna Salad with Chickpeas

Serves 5

12 oz chunk light tuna in water, drained

2 cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed if canned

2 medium carrots, shredded

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped coarsely

3 green onions, sliced

1/2 cup red bell pepper, seeded and chopped


1 clove garlic, pressed and finely minced

2 Tbsp sweet Thai chili sauce

1 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 tsp lite soy sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp creamy peanut butter, reduced fat

2 Tbsp lime juice

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground coriander

Combine salad ingredients into a medium bowl and toss until mixed. Whisk dressing ingredients together and add to salad. Mix well. Place in refrigerator for 1-3 hours prior to serving.

Nutrition Info per 1 cup serving: 241 calories, 5 g fat, 22 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber


  1. My mom and I were JUST debating the difference between chunk light and white tuna after I posted a tuna melt the other day. She thinks chunk light looks like cat food, but I didn't notice the difference. Now that I know it is healthier I'll get that every time :)

  2. I love tuna and eat it almost everyday, small amounts about 1 1/2 ounces. Do you know what the difference is between store bought and canning your own? For the last 3 years I have been buying whole fish (off the boat) and doing my own canning. There is a huge taste difference, but I wasn't sure if there was a nutritional difference too. Thanks Heather

  3. Wow Heather! You are so lucky to live in an area where you have access to fresh fish! When you can your own you can control the amount of salt and other preservatives that go into it. Other than that, there should be relatively no nutritional differences. Tuna is processed almost immediately for canning so freshness is not an issue.

  4. Hi! I found this recipe on Tasty Kitchen! It's a "keeper" for sure! I LOVE tuna-chickpeas-cilantro-red bell pepper...I'd never bought Thai chili sauce before making this, and it really makes this salad so yummy!

    I made a few changes...added celery, used sunflower see butter instead of peanut butter, didn't have a lime, so used a lemon, used granulated garlic instead of fresh. But otherwise...made as written.

    Thanks for so much for sharing!