Elevate That Lowly Can of Tuna

Running out of meal ideas and tired of spending time in the kitchen? As I was penning this post, the worst week (so far) of the coronavirus pandemic was in full bloom, with dire warnings to stay at home if at all possible. With consternation about navigating the perils of the grocery store, we took preventative measures and revamped our weekly meal plan around the food we already had in stock and did an inventory on what our cupboards were harboring. Aha, a couple of large cans of tuna!

Take that can of tuna—(no, don’t shove it anywhere)—and raise it up a couple of notches. Here, pesto, olive, and artichokes turn a simple tuna salad mixture into a delightful surprise. You could even develop it into a tuna melt sandwich with the addition of your cheese of choice on top. Whatever floats your boat, amigo.

In fact, the very next day for lunch using the leftover mixture, I made an open-faced, toasted Ezekiel bread sandwich with melted cheddar.

Of course, these amounts are flexible. Adjust the quantity to suit your own preferences, or what you may have on hand. Perhaps you have green olives instead of black kalamatas? No pesto? Create your own version with fresh herbs, nuts and olive oil and some grated parm.

TIP: For future use, harvest fresh basil from your garden or local farmer’s market during the summer months. Wash, dry and blend with a good olive oil. Pack into silicon ice cube trays and freeze until solid. Store cubes in a freezer ziploc until ready to use in individual servings for soups, pastas, dips, etc.

Once plated over a bed of greens, tomatoes and carrots strips, drizzle your favorite dressing over the greens. I personally didn’t feel it needed anything more, but The Mr. dressed his greens with a homemade salad dressing. Alas, we forgot to top with some garlicky croutons we made the night before from leftover focaccia bead… There’s always tomorrow’s salad…

Pesto, Olive and Artichoke Tuna Salad

  • Servings: 2 1/2 dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1/2 cup chopped artichoke hearts
  • 3 Tbsp. homemade or store bought pesto
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 doz. pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • 1 12-oz. can tuna, drained
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Greens, tomato wedges and carrot strips
  • Optional: sliced and toasted bread of your choice, for serving
Once combined, the mixture can be covered and refrigerated until ready to use.


  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the artichoke hearts, pesto, olive oil, olives, and tuna.
  2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Also add some greens, or even a few slices of tomato.
  4. Heck, turn it into a tuna melt and add some provolone over the top. You do you.


Adapted by a recipe from Farideh Sadeghin

3 thoughts on “Elevate That Lowly Can of Tuna

    1. Yes, that’s what we usually use, but most people have canned tuna on hand and I thought this recipe would be perfect for the current climate.


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