Simple Apple Tuna Salad Recipe

Tuna salad is a simple and popular dish that's a staple in many households. It's usually made by mixing canned or leftover cooked tuna with mayonnaise, and it often includes additional ingredients like chopped celery, onions, and sometimes relish. It's typically served on bread as a sandwich or on a bed of lettuce for a lighter option. As good as traditional tuna salad is, even the best dishes deserve to be shaken up once in a while. 

A tasty and unusual twist to the classic tuna salad is to mix in some chopped apples, which add their sweet flavor and crisp texture. The addition of apples in this recipe, as well as a little apple cider vinegar for extra punch, adds a unique taste and makes the salad more refreshing and vibrant. The tart-sweet quality of the apples complements the savory meatiness of the tuna, making it a delightful and slightly unexpected combination. Recipe developer Taylor Murray brings us her version, which can easily be adapted with a variety of add-ins or substitutions, and even works as a chicken salad if that protein is preferred. 

Gather the ingredients for apple tuna salad

There are thousands of recipes for tuna salad out there and everyone has their favorite combination. For the base of this recipe, we are going with a straightforward mixture. Start with canned tuna or cooked leftover tuna steaks. If you are going with canned, make sure it is whole albacore in water, which has a milder, less fishy flavor. Add to that a combination of mayonnaise and deli mustard. This can be any kind of Dijon or grainy mustard, just skip the yellow mustard, which is a bit strong for this application. Into the mix also goes some chopped celery and red onion for crunch and texture. Finally, to add our apple flavor, we toss some chopped apples with apple cider vinegar. For this recipe, we used Gala apples, though any tart apple will work.

Step 1: Add the vinegar to a bowl

Add the apple cider vinegar to a small bowl.

Step 2: Add the apples

Add the chopped apples and toss to combine. Set aside.

Step 3: Add mayo to a medium bowl

Add the mayonnaise to a medium bowl.

Step 4: Add the mustard

Add the mustard.

Step 5: Stir to combine

Stir to combine the mayonnaise and mustard.

Step 6: Add the celery

Add the celery to the bowl.

Step 7: Add the red onion

Add the red onion to the bowl.

Step 8: Add in apples

Add chopped apples to the bowl.

Step 9: Add the tuna

Add the tuna to the bowl.

Step 10: Toss to combine

Gently toss to combine all of the ingredients.

Step 11: Season to taste

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 12: Serve the tuna salad

Serve with desired accompaniments.

What are some creative ways to serve this apple tuna salad?

This versatile tuna salad can be served in various creative ways to suit different occasions or types of meal. For a light and nutritious lunch, serve it over a bed of mixed greens or in a lettuce wrap. This option is particularly refreshing during warmer months and adds a fresh and crunchy component to the meal. For a more filling option, scoop the apple tuna salad into a whole wheat or multigrain pita pocket, which provides additional fiber and a satisfying texture. And, of course, you can serve it on your favorite bread as you would a traditional tuna sandwich.

If you're hosting a brunch or a party, consider serving the tuna salad as a dip with crackers, cucumber slices, or toasted bread. This presentation is both elegant and convenient for guests to enjoy. For a quick and cozy dinner, stuff the salad into a tomato or bell pepper and bake it briefly, to turn it into a warm and comforting dish. You can adjust each of these serving suggestions to fit the occasion with a variety of sides and garnishes.

Can I substitute any ingredients in the apple tuna salad?

You can easily modify this tuna salad recipe to suit various dietary needs or preferences, and each substitution will impact the dish's flavor and texture. For starters, you have many options to use as a substitute for the mayonnaise. For a lighter version, you can replace mayonnaise with Greek yogurt, which will make the salad creamier and tangier. If you're looking to make this dish vegan, use a plant-based mayonnaise and a vegan tuna alternative, like a commercial vegan tuna product. Chickpeas also work well as a plant-based tuna substitute. This change will alter the salad's flavor profile and texture, giving it a more earthy taste and a different kind of protein punch. 

For those avoiding gluten, ensure that the mustard and any other added ingredients are gluten-free. As for the apples, you can experiment with different varieties to adjust the sweetness or tartness of the salad. Each type of apple brings its own flavor and texture so choose one that suits your taste.

Simple Apple Tuna Salad Recipe
5 from 24 ratings
For a crisp and punchy upgrade to classic tuna salad, add chopped tart apples. Ready in ten minutes, this salad is perfect as a sandwich, a wrap, or a dip.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Apples with tuna salad bowl
Total time: 10 minutes
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup chopped apple (about 1 small apple)
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon deli mustard
  • ½ cup chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped red onion (about ¼ of an onion)
  • 9 ounces cooked tuna fish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Add the apple cider vinegar to a small bowl.
  2. Add the chopped apples and toss to combine. Set aside.
  3. Add the mayonnaise to a medium bowl.
  4. Add the mustard.
  5. Stir to combine the mayonnaise and mustard.
  6. Add the celery to the bowl.
  7. Add the red onion to the bowl.
  8. Add chopped apples to the bowl.
  9. Add the tuna to the bowl.
  10. Gently toss to combine all of the ingredients.
  11. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  12. Serve with desired accompaniments.
Calories per Serving 313
Total Fat 18.2 g
Saturated Fat 2.8 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 54.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 13.2 g
Dietary Fiber 2.9 g
Total Sugars 8.5 g
Sodium 658.9 mg
Protein 25.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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