In my earlier twenties, I absolutely loved tuna fish sandwiches. I actually went through a period where I was so obsessed, I would have one just about every day. I know, it shocks me too that I never grew tired of them, but what can I say? I just loved them. My signature tuna fish salad was delicious, but it was also full of not so healthy fat and mercury-filled canned tuna. I also heaped it on some toasted bread, and every once in a while, I would treat myself with a slice of cheddar cheese that I broiled on top to replicate my favorite tuna melt. It was beyond decadent, and actually made me feel terrible after I ate it thanks to my yet to be discovered gluten allergies combined with my lactose intolerance, but it tasted so good that at the time it seemed worth it.
It has been a few years since I have had a tuna fish sandwich, and sometimes I find myself missing that familiar taste, but I must say, this Tuna-less Salad recipe does a pretty damn good job of hitting the spot. You may be wondering, ‘why not just use regular tuna?’ Well, the answer is pretty simple. Although tuna fish is both inexpensive and packed with protein, it is also filled with mercury, and mercury is poison. For me, that is enough of a reason to want to substitute it out of my diet, but that is not to say that tuna fish doesn’t have some health benefits when consumed in moderation. Key word being moderation!
Another benefit to this salad over regular tuna fish salad is that this recipe uses raw sunflower seeds in place of tuna. Seeds and nuts are a far easier form of protein for the body to digest than animal protein is, so it ends up taking far less energy away from you than it would if you were to use tuna. I personally like to eat food that provides me with energy rather than robs me of it, so I try to save animal proteins for the evening and plant proteins for during the day. Doing this step alone (animal protein at night, plant protein during the day) changed my digestion completely, and definitely for the better. If you struggle with digestion issues, I would definitely recommend you give this simple change a try, and you can start by trying with this tuna-less salad.
- 1.5 cups raw sunflower seeds; rinsed
- 2.5 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- ⅛ tsp. high quality sea salt
- ⅛ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1Tbsp. dried dill
- ½ cup celery; chopped
- ¼ small yellow or white onion; minced
- 1 sheet of nori or 2 Tbsp. dulse flakes
- 1 tsp. dijon mustard
- 2 tsp. organic horseradish
- ¼ cup pickle juice
- 1 kosher pickle spear; diced (optional)
- Collard greens to wrap in (optional)
- In a food processor, process rinsed sunflower seeds until seeds have a chunky consistency.
- Add in the pickle juice, lemon juice, salt, pepper and dill. Pulse until evenly mixed.
- Empty mixture into a medium sized mixing bowl.
- Add sheet of nori (skip if using dulse flakes) and onion to food processor.
- Process until onion and nori is well minced.
- Add onion and nori mixture to the mixing bowl (add in dulse flakes here if using instead of nori). Stir to evenly combine.
- Add in chopped celery. Stir.
- Add in dijon mustard and organic horseradish. Stir to evenly mix.
- Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
- If using collard greens, prepare leaves one at a time by rinsing and removing the thick part of stem by slicing a knife down each side of it.
- Roll salad mixture into wraps and serve.