The Secret To Truly Nostalgic Tuna Salad Is How You Cut The Vegetables

Tuna salad is one of those dishes many people remember from their childhoods, whether that's with fondness or loathing. It was easy to whip up and it could make an appearance in a lot of things: on top of a bed of greens, inside a couple pieces of bread, served with crackers or as the star of a tuna melt. Before the rise of Pinterest, where you can look up a thousand ways to make tuna salad, the lunchtime staple was made pretty much the same way from your kitchen to the lunchroom cafeteria to the corner deli — tuna mixed with mayo, with some mustard, celery, and onion. This is how a lot of us remember it.

You may prefer your tuna salad with avocado and pesto sauce now, but you can't deny that the taste of the original takes you back, and you probably wouldn't say "no" to plain tuna salad on wheat if it was done just right. The key to getting that signature, well-balanced flavor of the perfect tuna salad is all about the size of the veggies that are mixed in. You want each bite to taste the same, and to do that, you need the right sized pieces of onion and celery. Get ready to exercise your knife skills.

Don't mince words, mince your veggies

Once you drain canned tuna the fish is pretty dry, especially if you're using tuna packed in water. In order to achieve a pleasant texture, you need to add fat, which for classic tuna salad has to be mayonnaise. Onion and celery are also musts for traditional tuna salad because they add both crunch and flavor. 

And in order to get the most out of both of those veggies, you'll want to mince them. When you mince something, you end up with uniform pieces that are much smaller than diced but not pulverized into a paste. The smaller your veggies are cut, the more flavor they'll impart to the dish; but since you still want the crunch factor, mincing is the happy medium in this case.

You'll probably add some salt, pepper, mustard, and maybe a squirt of lemon juice for brightness, but once everything is mixed together, the goal is an even distribution of all the ingredients for a balanced flavor. After trying this method you might wonder why you stopped eating classic tuna salad in the first place, but we're going to bet it might have had something to do with biting into a huge piece of onion once upon a time. This is perfect anytime you're craving something comforting from the past. Try it on your favorite bread with a bowl of hot tomato soup on the side.