Tuna: An Inexpensive, Healthy Food


In the United States, Americans eat about 1 billion pounds of canned and pouched tuna a year. And why not? It’s inexpensive, and when it comes to healthy eating, canned tuna has it all.

Speaking as someone who went through both junior and senior high school with a tuna sandwich and an apple for lunch every single day, I have always been a fan of this can.

And according to the Tuna Council, I’m not alone. In the United States, Americans eat about 1 billion pounds of canned and pouched tuna a year. Only coffee and sugar exceed canned tuna in sales per foot of shelf space in the grocery store.
I won’t bore you with more statistics, but truly Americans are prolific tuna eaters. And why not? It’s inexpensive, and when it comes to healthy eating, canned tuna has it all. It is rich in protein, low in fat and calories, and is an excellent source of the essential omega-3 fatty acids that help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. 
And it’s easy to keep on hand; it takes up minimal space in the pantry and despite it’s small size packs a nutritional wallop. 
Tuna Loaf
2 medium carrots
1 medium onion
2 cans (6.5 oz. each) oil-packed tuna (Don’t drain!) 
3 eggs
3⁄4 cup matzah meal
1⁄8 cup sugar
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsps. canola oil
Preheat oven to 350˚. Lightly grease a shallow baking dish.
Trim and scrape the carrots. Cut into chunks. Peel and quarter onions. Place the carrots and onions in food processor bowl equipped with steel knife. Chop until fine.
Add undrained tuna, eggs, matzah meal, sugar, salt and pepper to processor bowl. Process until smooth, scraping sides as necessary.
Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle with oil. Bake uncovered for about 35 to 45 minutes, until golden, but not brown, and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cut into wedges.
Serves 6.
Retro Tuna Casserole
Considered somewhat exotic in the ’60s, this casserole is easy and tastes good.
2 cans (6.5 oz. each) tuna in water, drained
1 can (12-oz.) condensed cream
of mushroom soup
1⁄2 cup diced celery 
1⁄2 cup water
4 medium scallions, white part only 
3⁄4 cup roasted cashews, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges,
2 cups chow mein noodles
Preheat the oven to 350.˚
Combine all of the ingredients except the chow mein noodles in a large bowl. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased large casserole dish.
Sprinkle the noodles over the casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes.
Serves 4.
Tuna Pinwheels
May be served as is or topped with mushrooms, cucumber-dill sauce or pesto for an ­elegant presentation.
31⁄2 cups flour, sifted
13⁄4 cup margarine
1⁄2 tsp. salt
6-8 Tbsps. ice water
1 can artichoke bottoms
2 cans (6.5 oz. each) tuna (oil
or water; well drained)
2 eggs
1⁄2 cup finely chopped nuts
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1⁄2 tsp. onion soup powder (optional)
1⁄3 cup matzah meal
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg yolk, beaten
sesame seeds
To Prepare Pastry: Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in margarine with a pastry blender or two knives until crumbly. 
Sprinkle ice water evenly over surface, 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened. (After adding 6 tablespoon ice water, squeeze dough firmly between your fingers. If it falls apart, add remaining water.)
Divide dough in half and form each into a flattened disk; wrap with plastic wrap. Freeze for half an hour or chill for 2 hours. Let stand at room temperature 5 minutes. 
Preheat oven to 375˚. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
To Prepare Filling: Quarter well-drained artichokes and place in food processor. Buzz briefly. Add tuna, eggs, nuts, parsley soup powder, matzah meal, salt and pepper and combine thoroughly.
Roll out one pastry disk on a floured surface to 1⁄8-inch thickness, about 13×9 inches.
Spread the filling evenly over the dough and roll, sealing tightly. Place on parchment-lined sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. 
Mix the egg yolk with 1 teaspoon of water and brush over the prepared rolls. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Score with a sharp knife at 3⁄4-inch intervals. Bake for about 45 minutes or until golden. Slice and serve.
Makes 2 rolls of 8 to 10 serv­ings. 
Fresh Tuna Salad 
Tuna doesn’t only come in cans! Try fresh frozen tuna in any of your favorite fish recipes or try this one.
1 lb. frozen tuna steaks
juice of one lemon
1⁄2 cup mayonnaise (regular or lite)
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
1 tsp. prepared mustard
Squeeze the lemon juice generously over the fish and defrost completely.
Preheat oven to 350˚.
Bake the fish, covered, in a lightly greased ovenproof dish until it flakes easily (about 25 to 30 minutes). Alternately, micro­wave at full power for 8 to 10 minutes (depending upon thickness of steaks).
Allow fish to cool. Remove any bones. Flake the fish with a fork.
Combine mayonnaise, horseradish and mustard and mix thoroughly with the flaked fish. Chill before serving. 
Serves 4 as a main serving or makes 8 appetizer servings.
Rivka Tal is a former Minne­sotan who has lived in Jerusalem for the past 46 years. She is a food writer and translator. Email her at: [email protected]com.


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