Lentil Tuna Salad
Published Jun 12, 2017, Updated Sep 20, 2022
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This lentil tuna salad combines beluga lentils with canned tuna, fresh veggies and a turmeric dressing. It’s absolutely delicious and perfect for summer cookouts and parties.
I’m super excited about this particular salad because it’s loaded with tons of healthy ingredients, has a flavorful dressing and is the perfect dish to bring to a summer cookout or bbq.
One of my best tips for eating healthfully at summer cookouts is to bring a healthy dish to share. That way you know there’s at least one nutritious thing to enjoy and you get to introduce your friends and family to something healthy and delicious.
That said, most of your standard bbq side dishes are pretty heavy on the carbs and fat without a ton of protein, but this one has the full package of carbs, healthy fats and protein from the tuna and lentils.
Ingredients in Lentil Tuna Salad
In general, the salad ingredients are pretty simple, so what really makes this salad is the apple cider vinegar turmeric dressing. Here’s what you need to make this delicious (and super easy) tuna salad:
- canned tuna – I used Genova’s albacore tuna packed in olive oil. It’s wild-caught, delicious and comes in easy to open cans. No can opener needed!
- beluga lentils (black lentils) – I’m personally always happy when I find recipes that use lentils because you don’t have to soak them (although you certainly can) and they cook up quickly, in about 20-25 minutes or so.
- red onion, red bell pepper & cucumber – these fresh veggies add a nice crunch to the salad.
- golden raisins – I love the pop of sweetness from the golden raisins.
- cilantro – adding fresh cilantro to this salad gives it such great flavor.
- avocado – adds a nice creaminess to the salad and some healthy fat.
- sea salt – a must-have for a tasty tuna salad.
- apple cider vinegar turmeric dressing – a super simple dressing that has this sweet and spicy thing going on from the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, turmeric, salt, pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg, and olive oil.
Notes & Substitutions
Lentils – I like to cook my own lentils, but to make this recipe come together even quicker you can totally use pre-cooked, steamed lentils. Stores like Kroger carry the Melissa’s steamed lentils and steamed lentils are one of my favorite items to buy from Trader Joe’s.
Mix-ins – Feel free to switch up your mix-ins for this tuna salad… I often do! Sometimes I change up the veggies based on what I have on hand and add extra herbs like fresh dill (so good!). Feel free to get creative and make this your own!
Red onion – Not a fan of red onion feel free to use yellow onion instead.
Feta – Adding feta to this salad would be a great addition if you don’t need it to be dairy free.
Benefits of Lentils
Beluga lentils (black lentils) are high in anthocyanins, the same antioxidants found in deep purple fruits like blueberries and plums which are being studied for their memory-boosting and cancer-fighting properties.
How to Serve Lentil Tuna Salad
I love meal prepping protein-packed salads because there are so many different ways you can eat them. Serve it as a meal, side salad or just an afternoon snack… I’ve been known to do all three! Here’s how to enjoy it:
- Eat as is – it’s definitely a complete meal on it’s own.
- Over a bed of greens – I am a volume eater so I love starting with a base of greens and topping it with this salad.
- Lettuce cups – scoop into a lettuce leaf for a crunchy and fresh wrap. Romaine, butter or iceberg lettuce works great for this.
- In a wrap – scoop into a whole grain wrap and add some greens for a little extra crunch and you have a satisfying wrap!
- On toast/as a sandwich – I love this as both an open faced sandwich on toasted bread or a more traditional sandwich with un-toasted bread.
- With crackers or tortilla chips – This is a great snack or appetizer when eaten like a dip with crackers or chips. It’s delicious when paired with my almond flour crackers.
Prepping and Storing Tuna Salad
This tuna lentil salad is the perfect meal prep recipe! One batch makes a big serving, so you’ll be set with lunches or dinners all week long.
If you’re prepping this salad in advance, I would recommend leaving the avocado out and adding that in right before serving. After mixing all of the ingredients together, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The salad will keep for 3-4 days.
More Tuna Recipes to Try:
- Tuna Salad
- Simple Lemon Tuna Salad
- Tuna Salad with Egg
- Spaghetti Squash Tuna Noodle Casserole Boats
- Broccoli Avocado Tuna Bowl
- BBQ Hummus Tuna Sandwich
- Sweet Potato Tuna Salad (No Mayo)
- Tuna Curry Bowl with Cauliflower Rice
- Tuna, Broccoli and Kale Caesar Pasta Salad
Other Protein Salads to Try:
- Tofu “Chicken” Salad
- Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad
- Almond Butter Chicken Salad
- Curry Chicken Salad
- Avocado Egg Salad
- Turkey Salad
Be sure to check out all of the tuna recipes as well as the full collection of salad recipes on EBF!
Lentil Tuna Salad
- 1 1/2 cups black beluga lentils sifted and rinsed
- 3 cups water
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 Genova Albacore Tuna in Olive Oil in Easy-Open Can drained
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 avocado chopped
Apple Cider Vinegar Turmeric Dressing:
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- dash of nutmeg
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Cook lentils: Add lentils, 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover and simmer until lentils are soft, about 25 minutes. Drain through a fine strainer and rinse quickly with cold water to cool. Drain again, set lentils aside and allow to cool. This step can be done ahead of time. Just cook your lentils, cool and store them in the fridge until you’re ready to make the salad.
- Combine ingredients: In a large bowl, add the cooled lentils, tuna, red onion, bell pepper, cucumber, raisins and cilantro into a large bowl and toss to combine.
- Make dressing: In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, turmeric salt, pepper, cayenne, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk in olive oil and toss over the lentil tuna mixture.
- Serve: Refrigerate until ready to eat. Add the chopped avocado just before serving. Serve with crackers for a snack or appetizer, on bread or a wrap for a sandwich or over a bed of greens. Salad should last 3-4 days in the fridge.
- Lentils – I like to cook my own lentils, but to make this recipe come together even quicker you can totally use pre-cooked, steamed lentils. Stores like Kroger carry the Melissa’s steamed lentils and steamed lentils are one of my favorite items to buy from Trader Joe’s.
- Mix-ins – Feel free to switch up your mix-ins for this tuna salad… I often do! Sometimes I change up the veggies based on what I have on hand and add extra herbs like fresh dill (so good!). Feel free to get creative and make this your own!
- Red onion – Not a fan of red onion feel free to use yellow onion instead.
- Feta – Adding feta to this salad would be a great addition if you don’t need it to be dairy free.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Inspired by My New Roots Best Lentil Salad.
I love how colorful this salad is! And so high in protein and nutrients! Yum.
Thanks Juliette. The flavor is so good too. I love the dressing.
this serves 14 people?
Hi Beth. It makes about 7 cups of salad so if each person had 1/2 cup it would serve 14. This would be feasible for a summer party/cookout because you’ll likely be using this a side dish and have multiple sides. It also just depends on how much each person takes. 🙂 If you were serving this for a weekday lunch, I’d recommend doubling your portion to at least 1 cup so the servings/nutrition facts would obviously change.
Hi Brittany! Can french green lentils be substituted for the black lentils?
The first time I ever had this was at a friends house. She said “it’s healthy, delicious and we can serve it over a bed of lettuce”. I thought “okay, but I don’t think I’ll like a non-mayo based tuna salad”. I was wrong! I wouldn’t leave her house without the recipe and it’s a favorite in my house! I love the crunch the peppers And cucumbers offer and the dressing is to die for!!
Ahh that makes me so happy to hear, Julie!! So glad you enjoy this tuna salad. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment + star rating. I so appreciate it. <3
This recipe sounds great. Can I use Genova yellow fin tuna in olive oil because that is all I could find?
Hey Carol – I’m sure that would work just fine! 🙂
Another delicious recipe! I used the Trader Joe’s prepared lentils.
So glad you enjoyed this dish, Charlotte. Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a review. I appreciate it!
Made this for my lunch today. Boy was it good! Definitely making this again.
Thank you Brittany ✨
Yay! So glad you loved it, Deni. Thanks for the review. I so appreciate it!
One of my favourite salads 😋
Woo!! That makes me so happy to hear, Therese. Thanks for coming back to leave a review. It means the world to me.