Larry David: “You know, when they make tuna, there’s already mayo in it. You don’t have to put it on the bread.
-Mayonnaise is essentially a nutrient-void food. It is often made with hydrogenated oils and contains artificial ingredients and preservatives.
-Majority of an avocado’s calories come from fat, most of which are healthy, monounsaturated fats. On a gram-for-gram basis, avocados have more potassium than bananas and are rich in the fat-soluble vitamins E and K.
-Skipjack is a type of tuna. At it’s current rates of consumption, is considered highly sustainable.
Some of my recipes are more ROOTED than others. On the ROOTED spectrum, I consider this tuna sandwich recipe to be pretty far over there – yet it just makes sense. There are a few things that I often strive to do in my cooking, one of which is stay true to whole-food based recipes that rely on the most flavorful ingredients I can get my hands on. The other thing I try to do is logically sub out unnecessary, nutrient-void “legacy” ingredients for natural, unadulterated healthy food. I look at many traditional recipes as an opportunity to solve a problem – and to do so without sacrificing flavor. Most “salad sandwiches” provide the perfect opportunity.
The purpose of mayonnaise in tuna salad is to provide texture, act as a binding agent, and maybe provide a bit of flavor. Even Larry David knows that mayo is not needed in excess on a tuna sandwich as he advises his fat friend Jeff that “You know, when they make tuna, there’s already mayo in it. You don’t have to put it on the bread.” And maybe you don’t even have to settle for this, what if your tuna was mayo-less? With the purpose of mayo in a tuna sandwich in mind, it is easy to realize that there are PLENTY of other ingredients that can stand in, and probably even do a better job.
Mayonnaise is convenient, sure, as it’ll save in your fridge for eternity. And in our food society, convenience often trumps all. But in my mind, avocados are far superior. They offer healthy fats in place of saturated fats and hydrogenated oils, and provide vitamins and minerals where mayo typically has none.
This recipe is not the end-all be-all. In fact, I encourage you to make it, but play around and find a version that works for you based on flavors you like and ingredients you tend to have on hand. Depending on my mood and hunger level, I often vary the ratio of avocado-to-tuna (about 1/2 avocado per can of tuna is a good place to start – but you can do more or less).
Also, another thing to be conscious of when consuming canned tuna is both the sustainability of the fish, as well as mercury levels. Albacore, one of the most prominent types of canned tuna, has been shown to have moderate levels of of mercury contamination. When available, I typically opt for skipjack tuna because is sustainable at its current rates of consumption, and is deemed to have reasonable levels of mercury (and we used to eat it at awesome fish frys growing up as kids). But note that mercury levels vary based on where fish are caught, and can vary within fish populations over time.
-1 can skipjack tuna
-1/2 avocado (or desired amount)
-8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved and quartered
-1 T lemon juice
-2 t fresh parsley, chopped
-1 T chopped green onion
-1/4 cup crumbled fresh sheep’s-milk feta
-salt and pepper
-fresh focaccia bread
Total time: 10 minutes
Makes 1-2 sandwiches
Combine tuna and avocado and mash to desired consistency. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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Recipe ID: 1731