The Creamy Addition Ina Garten Loves On Tuna Salad Sandwiches

Ina Garten isn't shy about her love of tuna sandwiches. In fact, she revealed on Instagram that it's one of her absolute favorite comfort foods. And if you've ever made her ultimate tuna melt, it's easy to understand why. This "retro food," as she called it on an episode of "Barefoot Contessa," started as a way to avoid food waste in the 19th century, when scraps of leftover fish would be saved and mixed with mayonnaise, celery, and pickles. Then, when the 20th century rolled around, canned tuna made its debut and busy, working men and women found it convenient to order up at lunch counters. 

Today, the tuna fish sandwich is still going strong, with as many variations as there are palates to please: The National Fisheries Institute claims Americans consume 1 billion pounds of canned and pouched tuna each year.

There are plenty of spices that will take your tuna fish salad sandwich up a notch, as well as other additions that will turn your classic tuna sandwich into a modern masterpiece. When Garten makes her version of this staple, she uses Italian tuna that has been packed in olive oil. But the celebrity chef also adds a creamy ingredient to her tuna fish sandwich that may have you rethinking how you enjoy this meal.


Ina Garten adds hummus to her recipe to make for a creamy and delicious tuna fish sandwich. Garten shared on an episode of "Barefoot Contessa" that her inspiration for this combo is a result of dining at a restaurant in Belgium, where they served their tuna fish salad sandwich with this Mediterranean spread made of chickpeas. The cookbook author confesses that at first she thought it was a little bizarre, but after tasting it, she was hooked.

To create the tuna salad, Garten uses traditional ingredients like chopped onion, celery, and cornichons for that crunchy texture, along with mayo, mustard, and some lemon juice for a bit of tang. But before the tuna mixture hits the bread, Garten slathers on a generous amount of hummus. She then piles on the tuna salad and tops it off with some thinly sliced radishes. 

Garten reveals that if your taste buds can be patient, allowing the tuna fish salad to set in the fridge for an hour or so will really deepen its flavor. Additionally, if you want to create a tuna fish sandwich but without the use of mayo, hummus can be a great substitute for this condiment. Hummus will still give you that creaminess that is synonymous with tuna fish salad, without sacrificing flavor.