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Thai Tuna Salad Recipe (Easy Yum Tuna)

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Thai tuna salad recipe with refreshing Thai flavors and the best, most simple dressing ever. This healthy and easy yum tuna is perfect for meal prep or those busy weeknights when you need to get something out on the table in an instant.

Spicy Thai tuna salad, yum tuna, with chilies, shallots, lemongrass, and fresh herbs in a white dish.

Thai salads are always delicious because you can mix in so many different types of proteins.

I usually stick to yum talay with seafood like squid and shrimp or yum neua with juicy beef slices, but I just tried making this one with tuna, and it turned out to be fantastic!

It’s so quick and easy to make, super tasty, and perfect for any time of the day.

What is Thai tuna salad

Thai tuna salad is a simple, refreshing dish with a dressing of tangy lime juice and savory fish sauce. With the addition of fresh chilies, lemongrass, and cilantro, this healthy meal is perfect for a light and refreshing dinner.

Yum tuna

One of my new absolute favorites has got to be this yum tuna. If simple, flavorful salads are what you’re looking for, you’ve hit the jackpot.

It’s an absolute crowd-pleaser, and everyone in my family loved it. Grandma, the kids, my hubby, even the dogs were practically climbing the table, no kidding.

The way Thai flavors can brighten up canned tuna is simply unbelievable – no need for fancy, pricey tuna here.

Spicy Thai tuna salad, yum tuna, in a white dish and a wooden fork lifting a forkful of tuna, herbs, and spices.

It’s crunchy, fresh, and if you’re a fan of Thai cooking, I bet you got most of the ingredients waiting in your pantry. A sprinkle of basic herbs, some basic Thai seasonings, and canned or fresh tuna is all you need.

I gave the veggies a pass and didn’t miss them at all. But hey, feel free to toss in whatever you have on hand.

You can enjoy it as a side or as a main-dish with Thai sticky rice or noodles. Have it with ground beef lettuce wraps or on crackers, it’s all amazing.

Close-up of Thai yum tuna salad with chilies and fresh herbs and spices.

And if you’re on a diet, this is the perfect Asian tuna salad recipe for you because there’s no mayo here. It’s super healthy and everything you can wish for in a salad with tuna.

Oh, it’s also a great make-ahead meal, simply make it in advance and store it in the fridge for later – no need for takeout!

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Ingredients for Thai tuna salad labeled: herbs and lemongrass, red chilies, shallots, tuna, lime juice, white sugar, and fish sauce.
  • Canned tuna – The main protein – canned tuna in water. You can use canned tuna in olive oil if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Coriander, scallions (green onions) – Feel free to add your favorite herbs like mint leaves and Thai basil.
  • Lemongrass – Finely chopped lemongrass adds a fragrant, citrusy aroma and flavor to the salad.
  • Shallots – These add a subtle sweet flavor and a hint of sharpness. If you don’t have these on hand, you can try using red onions, but I haven’t tested this.
  • Chilies – I used Thai Jinda chili peppers, which are pretty spicy. Feel free to use a mild type of chili pepper or omit them altogether.
  • White sugar – A bit of sweetness is essential for balancing out the spicy and savory flavors in this easy tuna salad recipe. Avoid using palm and brown sugar to replicate the exact flavors.
  • Fish sauce – This key ingredient of Thai cuisine adds umami and a salty flavor to the salad dressing.
  • Lime – Fresh lime juice brightens up the dressing, giving it a refreshing tangy flavor.

How to make tuna fish salad

  1. Drained tuna in a glass bowl.

    Step 1: Separate the canned tuna from the liquid using a sieve.

  2. Thai salad dressing in a clear bowl.

    Step 2: In a mixing bowl, combine the dressing: fresh lime juice, fish sauce, and white sugar. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.

  3. Herbs and vegetables mixed with dressing.

    Step 3: Gently mix in the coriander, scallions, shallots, and chilies.

  4. Thai tuna salad ready in a glass bowl.

    Step 4: Add the tuna and combine.

Kitchenware

  • Cutting board and chef’s knife for prepping the herbs
  • Mixing bowl and spoon for stirring
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Sieve for draining tuna

Thai salad recipe tips

Reduce the spiciness: If your salad is too hot, add a little sugar to make it less spicy. If spicy food isn’t your thing, take out the chili seeds.

Balance the flavors: Keep tasting your salad and tweak it until you get the perfect mix of salty, sweet, spicy, and sour flavors. Thai food is all about creating a perfect flavor balance.

Vegetables: Throw in some veggies like cherry tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, green beans, red bell peppers, or fresh basil if you like.

Proteins: You can swap the tuna for grilled chicken and pork or any other protein.

Tuna summer salad serving tips

This tuna fish salad is great on its own as a light meal, and you can pair it with steamed jasmine rice or rice noodles for a filling dish.

You can use it as a filling to make tuna lettuce wraps and pair them with these shrimp lettuce wraps, or spread it over crunchy crackers or toasted bread. Use it as a filling for tuna wraps for an on-the-go-lunch. It’s so versatile!

Spicy tuna salad leftovers

Keep your tuna salad in an airtight container and store it in your fridge. It’ll stay fresh for up to 2 days. Avoid freezing and give it a gentle mix before serving.

Frequently asked questions

Is this a spicy tuna salad?

This salad is medium spicy. You can easily adjust the heat by lowering the number of chilies or removing the seeds.

Can I make this in advance?

Yes. It keeps well in the fridge for up to 2 days. Perfect for a flavorful lunch at work.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes. Just make sure to double-check the labeling of your fish sauce brand.

Authentic Thai salad recipes

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Thai Tuna Salad Recipe (Easy Yum Tuna)

Top-down view of spicy Thai tuna salad with chilies, shallots, lemongrass, and fresh herbs in a white dish.
This Thai tuna salad recipe comes together quickly with simple ingredients and lots of Thai flavor.
Praew
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Salad
Serving Size 1

Ingredients

  • 4.4 ounces canned tuna
  • 0.5 ounces lemongrass sliced thinly
  • 1.8 ounce shallots sliced thinly
  • 0.35 ounces green onions chopped
  • 0.18 ounces coriander chopped
  • 3 chilies chopped, to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce

Instructions

  • Separate the tuna from the liquid using a sieve.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the dressing: fresh lime juice, fish sauce, and white sugar. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  • Gently mix in the coriander, scallions, shallots, and chilies.
  • Add the tuna and combine. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Feel free to add your favorite vegetables or to replace tuna with grilled chicken or other protein.

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