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Italian Tuna Salad

Italian Tuna Salad – Grandma’s Easy Recipe

Italian Tuna Salad – Easy Peasy

Italian Tuna Salad was one of my grandmother’s contributions for family barbecues and summer get togethers. Served with the Italian Sausage and Peppers it was a family favorite.

My grandmother was one of eight children. Eventually they all grew up and moved away, some moved to New Jersey, others to Long Island. My grandmother and a couple of siblings stayed in the Bronx.  From time-to-time, my grandmother’s sisters and brother would make a ‘trip’ from Long Island to the Bronx.  Of course, my grandmother would prepare some food to serve her beloved sisters, brothers, and in-laws for their visit.  Italian Tuna Salad was always on the menu.

For some, it was a long 2-hour ride from ‘the island.’  This annual visit was always during the summer.  My mother and i would always be invited to the annual get togethers. Grandma would prepare the cold Italian Tuna Salad as one of the dishes for her annual reunion lunch.  This tuna salad is not your typical tuna salad—no onion and no mayonnaise!  We used either Bumblebee or Starkist Solid White Tuna. Grandma would toss in a medley of ingredients into a large bowl, toss it with oil and vinegar and set it aside.  One thing about this salad is that it is served wilted!

Mushy, but delicious!

Yes.  Mushy!  That is the beauty of this dish.  Iceberg lettuce wilts once mixed with salad dressing.  In the seventies, iceberg, romaine, or Boston lettuces were your only options for salad greens.  Nowadays, you have a large variety.  I prefer a mix of field greens, which are very tender and delicious. Serve your salad with nice Italian bread. If you are a fan of tuna, this recipe will not disappoint. Trust me. 

Italian Tuna Salad


2 8-ounce cans of Solid White Tuna (either in oil or water)
1 large head of iceberg lettuce (or any lettuce you prefer)
1 large red onion sliced
1 large can of pitted black olives (no pits)
1 container of grape tomatoes sliced in half
1 large cucumber peeled and sliced thin
¾ cup of olive oil or canola oil
½ cup of either red or white vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste


Prep: Wash and cut lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and cucumber.
Drain liquid from both olive and tuna fish cans. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add the lettuce, sliced onions, sliced grape tomatoes, sliced cucumber, olives. Add oil, toss mixture. Add vinegar, toss some more.
Add salt and pepper. Toss again. Your tuna salad is ready!
Grandmas Tuna Salas

Note:  You may want to retain some sliced onions, tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, and tuna on the side to garnish the top of the salad before serving.  Garnish after you toss after you add the salt and pepper.  Enjoy!

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