This Tuna Caesar Salad is sure to become a new favorite in your meal rotation. The protein-rich tuna, crispy romaine lettuce, savory Parmesan cheese and crunchy croutons create a satisfying meal that is perfect for lunch or dinner. Best part? Creamy and tangy homemade Caesar dressing that take this salad to a whole new level.
Today, I'm sharing with you a classic Caesar salad with a fun twist: canned tuna. Most eateries and cafeterias all over the United States serve some type of Caesar salad, either on its own or with chicken meat as protein.
I am a big fan of Caesar salad when it's done well but most of the time restaurants serve sad looking limp Caesar salads with little to now crunch and flavorless storebought dressing. For this reason, I usually avoid it when going out but I often make it at home and my homemade version of the classic salad is always a hit.
This Tuna Caesar Salad is packed with protein-rich canned tuna, crisp romaine lettuce, and savory Parmesan cheese. But what really sets this recipe apart is the tangy and flavorful Caesar dressing that ties everything together. Trust me, you won't be able to get enough of this tasty salad!
For more salad inspiration, make sure to also check out this Greek Chickpea Salad, my Orzo Salad with Pesto, Chicken Salad Without Mayo (with Greek yogurt) or this Lentil Pasta Salad.
Why you'll love this recipe
- This Caesar salad is easy and quick to make
- Only a few simple ingredients
- Great meal on a budget
- Easily customizable - make everything from scratch or use storebought dressing and croutons to save time
- Healthy and well balanced meal
- Lettuce: use lettuce that is crisp and flavorful, such as Romaine or iceberg.
- Tuna: I like light chunk tuna such as skipjack but albacore tuna (white tuna) will also work. I can use either tuna packed in water or olive oil for this salad
- Croutons: I like Chatham Village Homestyle Caesar Croutons for their superior flavor and crunch
- Caesar Dressing: try my super easy homemade Caesar Salad Dressing Without Anchovies or use good quality store bought Caesar dressing, if you prefer. You can also make a classic version of the dressing with egg yolks and anchovy fillets, of course!
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and substitutions.
- Swap the tuna: if you're not a fan of tuna, you can easily substitute it with canned salmon, crab meat or sardines. You could also use different protein, such as grilled chicken, tofu or chickpeas.
- Change up the lettuce: while romaine lettuce is traditionally used in Caesar salad, you can use other leafy greens such as kale, spinach, or arugula for a different texture and taste.
- Add more veggies: try adding roasted red peppers, sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, avocado slices, chopped bell peppers or sliced green onions for added flavor and nutrition.
- Add more toppings: croutons and Parmesan cheese are the classic toppings for a Caesar salad, but you can also add other ingredients such as bacon bits, sunflower seeds, or black olives.
- Make it spicy: If you like a little heat, add some chopped jalapenos or red pepper flakes to the salad.
- To make the salad gluten free: skip the croutons or use croutons made with gluten-free bread
How to make Tuna Caesar Salad
STEP 1: Make the dressing. In a food processor add good quality mayo, parmesan cheese, garlic, briny capers, lemon juice and black pepper. Process until smooth and set aside.
STEP 2: Tear or cut lettuce into bite-size pieces. Transfer to a large bowl.
STEP 3: Add most of the freshly grated parmesan cheese, croutons and tuna (leave some for the top).
STEP4: Pour in ½ cup of dressing and toss together until all lettuce pieces are coated with dressing. If you like lots of dressing on your salads, add a bit more.
STEP 5: Decorate the top of the salad with remaining tuna, croutons and parmesan cheese.
STEP 6: Serve immediately and enjoy.
What to serve it with
This salad can be served as a standalone dish or as a side dish alongside various main courses. Here are some ideas for what to serve with Tuna Caesar Salad:
- Soup: Pairing Tuna Caesar Salad with a warm bowl of soup, such as this Vegan Creamy Tomato Bean Soup, Polish Mushroom Soup or Butternut Squash Carrot Ginger Soup, can make for a hearty and satisfying meal.
- Bread: A slice of garlic bread is a great addition to a Tuna Caesar Salad meal, providing a delicious crunchy texture and garlicky flavor. These Biscuits Without Milk will also work great.
- Pasta or rice: A small side of pasta, such as this Creamy Zucchini Mushroom Pasta or my classic Pork Bolognese over spaghetti, can be served with Tuna Caesar Salad for a more filling meal. Rice is also a great option, try this Mediterranean Rice reciope.
- Roasted vegetables: pair it with roasted vegetables, such as broccoli or carrots for a healthy and well-balanced meal. My favorite way to roast vegetables is in the air fryer: try this Air Fryer Eggplant or my Air Fryer Butternut Squash Fries. They are both quick and delicious!
Storage and meal prep tips
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for up to 2 days. However, the dressing can make the lettuce soggy, so you may want to store the dressing separately and add it just before serving.
- For meal prep can prepare the ingredients for the salad in advance. Store the ingredients separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator and assemble the salad just before serving.
- Pack for lunch: this Caesar salad makes a great lunch option. You can pack the salad in a container and take it to work or school. Store the dressing separately and add it just before eating to keep the salad fresh.
Yes! I like using canned skipjack tuna to save time and washing dishes (plus I'm a huge fan of canned tuna recipes) but if you prefer, you can definitely use fresh fish instead. For best results, use fresh (or frozen and thawed) ahi tuna. Season and sear both sides of tuna steaks until brown. I like it rare in the middle, but that's totally up to you! Slice and serve on top of the salad. Grilled tuna will also work great.
Yes, you can make the dressing in advance and store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Shake or stir well before using it.
Caesar salad is named after its inventor, Caesar Cardini, an Italian-American restaurateur who owned a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, during the Prohibition era in the 1920s.
It is generally recommended to tear romaine lettuce instead of cutting it. When you tear the lettuce, the leaves break along their natural lines, which helps to preserve their texture and keep them from wilting too quickly. Cutting the lettuce can cause it to bruise, resulting in a limp and unappetizing salad.
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- 4 oz Romaine lettuce or other crisp lettuce torn into bite-sized pieces
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup croutons homemade or store bought
- ⅓ cup Caesar salad dressing homemade or store bought (See Note 1)
- 15 oz canned Skipjack tuna 1 can drained, or albacore tuna (See Note 2)
- Place lettuce, ⅔ of each tuna, parmesan cheese and croutons in a large or medium bowl.
- Add Caesar dressing and toss the salad to coat all the lettuce pieces evenly. If you like a well dressed salad, add more dressing.
- Transfer to one large serving bowl or two smaller bowls and top with the remaining tuna, croutons and parmesan cheese.