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12 Canned Tuna Recipes That Aren’t Just Tuna Salad

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I scored a deal on canned tuna fish during Zingerman’s summer sale a few weeks ago. This is what I live for, in my thirties. ANNUAL SALES. And it was the good stuff! Ortiz, in olive oil! A case of 12 cans. Art critics may note how the signature yellow tins are sort shaped like fish. But more importantly, I saved money, and now I have a healthy protein ready on the fly, if fish flew, which they do not. Tuna salad is in my future, but I don’t want 12 cans’ worth. So, uh, what else can I do with all this tuna?? I asked the Test Kitchen and Bon Appétit editors which recipes they thought I could swap in, or add tuna to, beyond the obvious niçoise/tuna salad usual suspects. This is what we came up with.

(You can get a massive 30-can case from Zingerman’s for $200—wow—or find the 12-er on Amazon for $69, nice. OR! Ask your local grocer if they sell by the case; they might give you a discount.)

  1. First, I will make a batch of the best tonnato I’ve ever blended. Then I’ll spend a week spreading it on toast with sliced hard-boiled eggs for breakfast. Or pouring it over roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli for lunch. Or tossing it with grilled green beans at dinner. Tonnato has range!

  2. The premise of Claire Saffitz’s anchovy and garlic-breadcrumb pasta is to let the anchovy shine. I’ve made it many times and wouldn’t dare stray. But I will add in some tuna for extra fish points.

  3. Not just any tuna salad, but GREEN GODDESS tuna salad is calling. I can’t believe this calls for both mayo and sour cream. Fine, I’ll do it!

  4. A little tuna on Andy Baraghani’s fancy tomato toast would be divine.

  5. Tuna and avocado, what a combo. Make this dip, grab a box of Triscuits, and call it lunch.

  6. Tuna would be great in place of rotisserie chicken in this rice bowl with a lip-smacking scallion sauce.

  7. Will I go all-out, defrost the puff pastry, invest in HAM, and make epic tuna empanadas? Maybe!

  8. String up some Christmas lights, make a pot of black coffee, and recreate my favorite diner with a cheese-oozing tuna melt. Side of too many chips.

  9. Sure, tuna in any ol’ salad is probably going to work, but especially up against the shallot vinaigrette, feta, and dill in this chopped number.

  10. Another salad, forgive me, but this escarole Caesar was developed by Molly Baz with tinned fish in mind. It’s meant to be. Crispy lettuce against crunchy nuts against sharp cheese—tuna will be a no-brainer swap for sardines here.

  11. We’ve got mere days left with summer’s best tomatoes, and this tomato salad with Alabama white sauce would kill with some bonus tuna.

  12. Okay, fine! Tuna casserole it is.

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Food

Pull-Apart Breadsticks

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When a recipe calls for sopping up sauce, these breadsticks are your sopper-uppers of choice. Topped with Kalamata olives, garlic, red onion, and Calabrian chiles, they’re also just as good on their own—serve them straight from the oven and let everyone rip them off with their hands. This recipe comes from Bryan Ford and is based on his Master Bread Dough. Feel free to customize them with whatever finely chopped toppings you desire; just be sure to press them into the dough so that they stick.

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Fridge Clean-Out Nabe With Mushroom Dashi

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Pour dashi into a 1.5–2-qt. donabe or small saucepan and stir in mirin and soy sauce; season with salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add squash and turnips, cover, and cook until vegetables are almost completely tender, 5–7 minutes. Uncover; add greens, tofu, white and pale green parts of scallions, and reserved mushrooms. Cover and cook until greens are wilted, tofu is warmed through, and squash and turnips are tender, about 2 minutes.

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One Pot, One Million(ish) Options

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Every week, Bon Appetit associate editor Christina Chaey writes about what she’s cooking right now. Pro tip: If you sign up for the newsletter, you’ll get the scoop before everyone else.

Dear Healthyish friends,

From late October to early April, one piece of cookware takes up permanent residence on my stovetop, quietly burbling up hot pots and soups on cold nights. People message me on Instagram whenever I post photos of my donabe: What is it? (A Japanese earthenware pot used for cooking and serving.) Where did I get it? (Toiro Kitchen in L.A.) What do I make in it? (Everything!)

At a basic level, a donabe is a pot that just happens to be pretty enough to double as a striking serving piece. High-quality versions have thick walls that effectively retain heat and are especially good for gently cooking the vegetable-heavy meals I want constantly this time of year.

When I’m short on time, I opt for a quick nabe, or hot pot, which starts with a light broth that I season with good soy sauce and mirin. My broth of choice is often dashi, an essential Japanese stock of dried bonito flakes, kombu, and water that gives dishes like miso soup their subtle briny flavor. When I need dinner to be even more hands-off, I’ll make a vegan mushroom dashi by placing dried shiitakes and a strip of kombu in a big jar of water and refrigerating it all overnight. The resulting golden broth is savory and lightly earthy. It lacks the body of a lipsmacking chicken stock, which is exactly why I like it: A bowlful leaves me feeling satisfied but not weighed down.

Image may contain Human Person Plant Indoors Room Kitchen Food Vegetable Produce and Culinary
Photo by Emma Fishman, Food Styling by Rebecca Jurkevich 

When warmed in the donabe, the dashi creates a small hot tub environment for whatever kitchen-sink assortment of vegetables and protein I’m cooking. Some days I may have peeled, seeded, and sliced kabocha or butternut squash already prepped and ready to drop into the simmering broth. While the thick squash starts cooking away, I’ll quickly tear greens and mushrooms, slice tofu, and boil a little pot of noodles like soba to slip in right before I’m ready to eat. In those few minutes I enter an almost flow-like state, moving seamlessly from cutting board to stove; dinner is ready in minutes.

Though this recipe is a nabe I make often, it’s meant to be a guideline, not scripture. That’s the beauty of this style of cooking: Each rendition is slightly different from the one before. But no matter how much you mix it up, you’re guaranteed a meal that’s vibrant and delicious, nourishing yet light, and that leaves you feeling good inside. If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this, it’s that you can absolutely riff without a recipe. And that you should have a donabe of your own, of course.

May your weekend be broth-filled,

Christina Chaey
Associate editor

Make the recipe:

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