Smoke and spice: A tuna sandwich worth eating

Pantry foods are essential. When times are tight and budgets are small, it pays to have a well-stocked cupboard of odds and ends.

Good olive oil can make any salad shine, a jar of sun-dried tomatoes can replace mealy tomatoes on a winter BLT and cans of coconut milk are life savers when cow milk turns sour.

Although it sometimes gets a bad reputation, canned tuna is an invaluable pantry staple. It requires no cooking, virtually no planning (just make sure you have a can opener handy) and yields a lot of complete protein.

Unfortunately, many of us are scarred with bad memories of canned tuna. Especially when it came on a sandwich.

We can all too clearly recall the brown, mushy and sometimes questionable lunch box staple of our youth … and the smell. Everyone knew when someone’s mom had packed tuna.

Don’t worry. This recipe is not that sandwich.

With a couple ingredients that you probably have lying about already — and if you don’t have them you may want to get out and get them — you can elevate the classically bland tuna sandwich into a something truly enjoyable.

Although I cannot promise you that it won’t still waft of seafood, I think you will be too enveloped in the deliciousness of this sandwich to worry about what others might be thinking about your lunch.

So grab some thick slices of crusty sourdough (or whole wheat if that’s your thing), slap on some of this spread and eat your sandwich with pride.


Tuna Sandwich (web)
Using regular college household items, any student can make a quick and delicious treat for any time of the day. Photo credit: Grace Kerfoot


Note: This recipe is the epitome of quick and easy. A batch of this can be made up in minutes and will keep in the refrigerator for two to three days. For a vegetarian option, use canned navy beans instead of tuna.

Smoky and Spicy Tuna Sandwich

1 7-ounce can of tuna

1 (heaping) quarter cup of mayonnaise*

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon Sriracha

2 slices of sourdough bread

Optional toppings: sliced avocado, radishes, pickles, cucumbers, spinach, or shredded cabbage. (Something with crunch certainly makes the sandwich more satisfying!)


· Drain liquid out of the tuna can.

· In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients with a fork. Add more seasonings to taste.

· Generously spread about one-third of the tuna mixture onto half of the sandwich. Layer avocado and top with another slice of bread.

Slice, serve, feast.

*I use the vegan variety of mayonnaise called Just Mayo. It tastes great and has only four ingredients. Look for it at almost any grocery store.

Grace Kerfoot can be reached at [email protected] or @gracekerf on Twitter.