1-Ingredient Upgrade for Better Tuna Salad

Tuna salad on whole wheat with lettuce, no tomatoes. This is my standard sandwich order. Sometimes I'll opt for rye bread, if I'm feeling adventurous I might ask for pickles, or even avocado. At home, I might add capers or celery with non-negotiable onions. If you're a tuna salad sandwich lover like me, you probably know exactly how you like your tuna salad.

However you order or make your favorite tuna salad, there's one ingredient I never skip that I've found makes a big difference. It adds that kick that most tuna salads are looking for, even if they don't know it. A little bit works wonders and is probably something you already have in your home, or that you can find wherever you're ordering: Dijon mustard.

A bit complex with a subtle but definite bite, Dijon mustard will liven up any tuna salad that's in danger of tasting a bit bland, whether it's loaded with mayonnaise, watered down, or lacking enough textural vigor. .

What makes Dijon mustard special?

Dijon mustard originated in the French city of (you guessed it) Dijon. It is made from brown or black mustard seeds, which are sharper than yellow or white mustard seeds. It's also made with white wine (how French!) and vinegar. (It was made with verjos, which is raw, unfermented grape juice, rather than vinegar.)

I'm a huge Dijon fan and always have a big jar on hand for salad dressings, marinades and potato salad. I also like to spread a thin layer on puff pastry if I'm making a tart tart or Ina Garten's Mustard and Gruyère Batons (an easy fun win everyone should try!) Most importantly, I dijon for tuna salad. I keep it on hand.

Can you use other types of mustard?

When making tuna salad, I only use smooth Dijon, not the whole grain variety. You can try it if you like, but the whole mustard seed texture that works so well on a cheese board or ham sandwich just doesn't taste right to me. I prefer how smooth mustard is mixed with mayonnaise or oil in a tuna salad.

What about using other types of mustard, like yellow or spicy brown, you might ask? I would not recommend them. Stick to Dijon. A mild grapefruit punch is what I'm after, and the other mustard varieties are very sweet and pronounced in flavor. For what it's worth, I'm not sure I'd like bright yellow mustard in my tuna salad.

Sally Vargas | Art banner credit: Elena Risco

How to Add Dijon Mustard to Your Tuna Salad

Whatever recipe you follow for tuna salad (may I suggest one?), you can use this ratio to add Dijon mustard and take your meal to the next level.

For a five-ounce can of tuna, start with two teaspoons of Dijon.. If you're looking for a stronger flavor, add a quarter teaspoon at a time to taste, perhaps capping it at three teaspoons. Regardless of what else is in it, your five-ounce tuna salad will taste plenty of Dijon with more of it.

Here's a deeper dive into adding Dijon to a variety of tuna salads:

  • Mayo Y Tuna Salad: If you make tuna salad with mayonnaise, as most people do, the mayonnaise is like a soft, creamy pillow and your Dijon wake-up call. You can mix the Dijon with the mayonnaise first, and then add any other mix-ins to the tuna. But, honestly, you can always add to Dijon.
  • Olive Oil Drizzled Tuna Salad: If you're using oily tuna and not draining it, you might as well be using oil instead of mayonnaise. (This is a method I use often, especially if I'm going Mediterranean and adding ingredients like olives, capers, tomatoes, or parsley.) Here, mustard doesn't just add flavor. Is. It also thickens the texture.
  • Sour Tuna Salad: If your recipe calls for some acid, like lemon juice or capers, you might want to start with a little less Dijon, and see how you like it. If you already have excess acid, you may not need much dijon.

Ultimately, the exact amount of Dijon mustard you choose will depend on personal preference and how it plays with any additional ingredients. Whatever your standard order or recipe, you won't regret this scrumptious addition.

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