Monday, March 28, 2011

Recipe: Cranberry-Almond Tuna Salad Sandwiches

Like many bloggers, I like to check out my traffic stats on a regular basis, just to see where people are coming from and what has led them to PGEW.  I find it both fascinating & humbling to know that there are people in Spain or Germany or the UK who somehow end up stumbling upon my little blog and stay awhile to read what I have to say.

The most interesting data for me comes from the types of searches that lead people here.  Most searches are pretty straightforward: specific recipes, uses for certain ingredients and the like.  But sometimes the Google searches that bring people to PGEW can be a little... different.  Some are disturbing, others a little confusing, but in general they're just amusing.  "Who is the patron saint of burritos?" is pretty much my all-time favorite odd search, but this week I came across another interesting/amusing search: someone came looking for "unconscious tuna salad".

After giggling for a little bit (I couldn't help myself), I realized that this wasn't such a bad search after all.  It reminded me that I hadn't had a good tuna salad in ages, and with spring finally showing its face around here, it seemed like a perfect time to whip up a new batch.

In Tuna Salad Land, there are two distinct camps: the sweet tuna lovers and the savory tuna fans.  For most of my life, I've been a part of the latter, primarily because I grew up with my mom's completely kickass tuna & scallion salad.  After having something so crisp and refreshing, it was almost depressing to have to take a bite of the sweet pickle relish kind.

While that version has grown on me over the years, I'm still a bigger fan of more savory tuna salads, my favorite being the fabulous Mediterranean Style Tuna Salad I posted a couple years back.  Unfortunately, I only had tuna and baby spinach to play with, so that salad was out of the question.  But once I'm struck with a craving, I cannot let the idea go until I've satisfied that crazy need.  I was going to come up with something else. 

It looked like the ingredients in my pantry were conspiring to make sure I had something sweet thrown into my tuna because the only things that seemed to work well were dried cranberries and slivered roasted almonds.  Luckily, tuna's one of those uber-versatile ingredients that can go in a million different directions depending on what you pair it with, so once it was mixed together with the fruit & nuts and a couple other key ingredients, I ended up with a pretty nice little salad. 

With some dried herbs and crisp red onion I was able to have my savory craving satisfied, but the dried cranberries also lent a sweet-tart kick that was a welcome change to my standard tuna fare.  The slivered roasted almonds also added a fun, crunchy texture to the mix.  This easy-to-prepare salad is great on its own with some fresh greens, or in a sandwich as I've done here.  It would also make a fantastic pita filling, if you prefer that kind of sandwich.  I'm pretty sure the kids will like it, too!  Let's check it out.

Cranberry-Almond Tuna Salad Sandwiches (makes 2 sandwiches, total cost per sandwich: ~ $1.75)

1 can of water-packed tuna, drained
2 T finely chopped red onion
3 T dried cranberries
2 T slivered roasted almonds
2-3 T mayonnaise (you can use more or less depending on personal taste)
1/2 t herbes de provence*
Pinch of salt & pepper
4 slices whole grain, whole wheat bread
Small handful of baby spinach or spring mix

1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl and mix together until completely combined.  Check for flavor and add salt & pepper to taste. 
2. Toast or grill the bread to desired doneness. 
3. Add half the tuna salad mixture on one side of each sandwich and spread a tiny amount of mayo on the other side. 
4. Top with greens, put the sandwiches together, grab some napkins, and enjoy!

*Can't find herbes de provence at your store?  Make your own version with equal amounts of dried thyme, basil, savory, and marjoram, a couple small pinches of fennel seed and rosemary, and if you have it, a tiny amount of dried lavender (yes, lavender!).  Mix together until thoroughly combined, store in an airtight container, and voila!  Your very own jar of herbes de provence. :)


  1. Hahaha! I do love checking that stuff out. The most bizzare search that brought someone to my blog was "Food Pillow." I have no idea what that person was actually looking for but I laugh every time I imagine a pillow made out of cheeseburgers.

  2. This sounds yummy! I might try a slight variation--I make a lovely yeast bread with herbs de Provence in it--I might try that out!

  3. i'm stuffing this in a pita for lunch tomorrow. :)

  4. Another yummy sounding must try. My current unusual tuna salad has banana and curry, but always like variety.

  5. I might need to make this for lunch today, it looks really good!

  6. Does anyone have suggestions for a mayonnaise substitute? I like tuna salad, but absolutely loathe the taste of mayonnaise.

  7. Thanks everyone!

    @Tiffany: My go-to ingredient for creaminess sans fat/mayo flavor is non-fat plain yogurt. Just be aware that this will give the salad a completely different tang & flavor that may or may not go well with the cranberries & almonds. Personally, I haven't tried it yet, but if you do and it works out, please let us know!

  8. I love this idea for a tuna salad sandwich, I feel like sometimes I 'forget' about tuna salad and then suddenly something reminds me how great it is! (maybe not a strange google search term, but you know what I mean, lol) Love this version with cranberries, I always have them on hand so I will have to try it!

  9. Tuna salad can help you control bad cholesterol because Tuna has Omega3. It is yummy and healthy snack.

  10. Good idea, Kimberly! I almost always have plain Greek yogurt on hand, so perhaps I will try it that way.

  11. Tuna sandwiches are awesome. Love all the variations.

    instead of mayo, sometimes i'd use plain yogurt or mustard. guess it depends on what i'm mixing it with though.

  12. Thats most interesting tuna salad I have ever seen :) I should try it sometime

  13. Just tried this for lunch, SOO good! Thank you!

  14. Oh, I just HAVE to try this! We have a little dried cranberry trail mix left (no granola, just nuts, seeds and an abundance of cranberries) that I think I'll add. I had a chicken salad sandwich in Ireland once that I've never seen a recipe for that included walnuts and apples. It was fantastic, so I'm looking forward to trying this as well.

  15. I just found your blog and I love it! That sandwich sounds perfect, I like to sometimes add cucumber to give some crunch.

  16. This is yummy.. I took it to work 3 days in a row:-)

  17. That looks sooo yummy! I will have to try making it. This is my first time to your blog and I really like your practicality. Most recipes cost so much it is better for us to spend $3 more and go out to eat. Your blog helps me shy away from that excuse and learn how to provide meals for my husband and I.

  18. If you're hunting for herbs de provence, I suggest checking your local organic co-op. Most I've visited have very high quality bulk herbs at rock bottom prices, $11.79/lb sounds expensive until you realize the small size of your average spice jar. I visit mine once or twice a week and stock up on all my herbs and spices (yes, even odder ones, like tumeric and salt free taco seasoning) for less than $3. Plus they have a far better selection than your average grocery store and my town's even puts Fresh Market to shame.

  19. I am going to make this tonight for dinner. It sounds so good on a very hot day.



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