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Canned Tuna Recipes for Deliciously Simple Pantry Meals

By Shannon Bauer | July 20, 2020 | Shape

Reach wayyyy into the back of your pantry and you'll probably discover a forgotten can of tuna. Found it? Great.

Although the words "canned tuna" commonly conjure images of lunchtime sammies, the budget-friendly pantry staple can be transformed into so much more. When drained, one can or around 7 oz of tuna (in water) has about 2 g of fat, 33 g of protein, and 144 calories, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Translation: It's a nice source of lean protein.

From burgers to pasta dishes, salads to breakfast (yep, breakfast!), there are so many canned tuna recipes that go beyond just slices of bread.

The View from Great Island

Typically featuring "sushi-grade fish," poke bowls can be a luxury many at-home cooks wouldn't even consider whipping up (*raises hand*). But that changes when this easy canned tuna recipe enters the game. An array of vegetables such as pickled radish and cucumbers, cabbage, mango, and carrots help you to truly taste the rainbow with this meal.

Belle of the Kitchen

When it comes to quick and simple canned tuna recipes, these pan-fried cakes fit the bill—coming together in less than 30 minutes. Cumin, chili powder, black beans, corn, and cilantro give a Mexican twist to the fish while the spicy cream sauce takes it to a whole other level. (Sound up your alley? Then you're going to love these creative and colorful Mexican recipes.)

Family Style Food

There's a reason pasta and canned tuna can be found in nearly everyone's pantry: they're both incredibly cheap and shelf-stable.  On hectic weeknights, turn to these trusty ingredients (after all, these foods last a long time). Mix olive oil, tuna, garlic, crushed red pepper, and sundried tomatoes to heat while you cook your linguine. Combine together and, violá, in just 25 minutes you've made a delicious Italian meal.

The Iron You

The best thing about tuna for breakfast? No co-workers to complain about the fishy smell. This omelet is a great way to use up leftover tuna salad—just crack a couple of eggs, then top with the tuna mixture and shredded cheese. (Psst...this canned tuna recipe isn't the only protein-packed way to start your day—these quick and easy egg dishes are great options, too.)

Wonky Wonderful

The easiest way to take a salad from side dish to the main event: Add protein. Rather than the typical mayo-soaked tuna salad, this version is lightened up with flavorful, fresh ingredients such as cucumbers, olives, and artichoke hearts, then topped with olive oil, wine vinegar, and feta.

Bowl of Delicious

Crab cakes are great, but tuna cakes might just be better—at least when it comes to staying on budget. Not only is it wallet-friendly but this canned tuna recipe is also Paleo diet-approved, as it uses almond flour and is cooked on a skillet to cut down on oil. In a rush to eat? Not so fast. You're still going to want to take an extra few minutes to whip up the homemade lemon dill aioli (just trust me, you'll thank me later).

Gimme Some Oven

Now I'm sure she was a great cook, but this isn't your grandma's traditional tuna casserole. Instead of cream of vegetable soup, this canned tuna recipe calls for a lighter sauce made of unsweetened almond milk and chicken stock.

Featuring nutritious ingredients, such as mushrooms, peas, carrots, and onions, this one-pan meal can be considered complete once it's topped with a little cheese and Panko breadcrumbs. (For more inspo, check out these healthy casserole recipes for when you don't feel like cooking.)

What's Gaby Cooking

Artfully arrange the olives, roasted bell peppers, chopped vegetables, and tuna, then snap a quick pic before digging in. When it comes to canned tuna recipes, few are as Insta-worthy as this French salad. Might I suggest a "missing Paris" caption? And be sure to also flex about the homemade lemon chive vinaigrette. Delish or, dare I say, délicieux.

This article was written by Shannon Bauer from Shape and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Shannon Bauer
Shape