How to Make My: Nirvana-in-a-bowl Tuna Salad

Van's work colleague really likes my tuna salad. He called it: ‘Nirvana in a bowl.' Okay, a little over-the-top, but that sounds weird enough, so we'll go with that. 

Here's an approximation of what goes in:

1 can, 7 oz. can Kirkland Brand (Costco) Albacore Solid White Tuna in Water.

¼ cup, roughly chopped, pickled jalapeno peppers, mild, drained (I use Mezzetta Tamed Jalapeno Peppers).

¾ tsp., minced, fresh rosemary. If using dried: crumble into small pieces, not powder.

¼ tsp ground black pepper. Grind it fresh if possible.

2 tsp, fresh lime juice.

1 tsp, yellow mustard.

2 tsp, sriracha chili sauce. I prefer Huy Fong's (the one with the rooster on the bottle).

2 tsp cocktail sauce. Pretty much any brand as long as it has a bite of horseradish to it.

¼ cup mayonnaise. IMPORTANT: NOT MIRACLE WHIP. I've found Best Foods/Hellmann's brand is pretty good.

Let's start with a can of Kirkland tuna, drained, but not completely.

I like Kirkland because of its consistent, exceptional quality. It's a good product. No, I'm not a stockholder. I've been using it for years and will continue to do so. Haven't tried any other brand with this recipe, and if you do, please let me know what you think.

Now, we'll add mild pickled jalapenos, not spicy at all.

You can substitute dill pickles. But I have found that using the not-spicy pickled jalapenos actually works swimmingly. If they're overly wet, let them drain a bit on a paper or cloth towel. Then we just give these a rough chop. We're going for some texture here, so no need to make baby food.

Another facet that's nice about mild pickled jalapenos is, again, they're not hot. And being pickled, they substitute incredibly well for dill pickles in other recipes. I think they're fantastic on peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches. Give that a try sometime.

Next, let's work with a little bit of fresh rosemary.

Aromatics like rosemary can be tricky in a recipe. Depending on the individual plant, they can overwhelm a dish quickly. So let's be conservative and use a small spring, say 2 inches. You can always add more, later, but it's one of those bells you can't un-ring.

Get a good mince on the leaves, while avoiding the stems.

If at all possible, use fresh rosemary. It's terrific having year-round to add a dimension that dried aromatics can never hit. Use it on potatoes, roasts, soups. It's killer on garlic bread – Oh man, that's my favorite! Having to resort to buying it dried is such a disappointment.

Next, ¼ tsp (4 pinches) black pepper, fresh ground if you've got it.

I'm told the term ‘pinch' refers literally to what you can pinch between your thumb and index finger. And this results in an approximate dry amount of 1/16 teaspoon. Special thanks to for the 45-minute rabbit-hole.

Next, we'll take a nice wedge of lime. Just give it a nice gentle squeeze to release 2 tsp of juice.

And now if there wasn't enough sodium already, a little bit of mustard, just a little bit.

Ooh, and sriracha, Vietnamese ketchup. I can say that my in-laws are Vietnamese, they call it that.

Next, cocktail sauce. Cocktail sauce. It works, Nuff said.

All right. Now, this is important, listen carefully, REAL MAYONAISE, NOT MIRACLE WHIP.

I like Best Foods. I hear east of the Rockies or the Mississippi, Great Britain, and pretty much the rest of the world, it's called Hellmann's. Again, mayonnaise, real, not Miracle Whip.

Now, we are going to take a fork and mix together this glorious blend.

If your mixture seems a little bit wet or sloppy, don't fret, as you break this tuna up, that liquid is going to get nice and absorbed. That mayonnaise and those excellent ingredients combining together it up into a beautiful looking tuna salad should get you thinking of accompaniments.

It's really good with toasted sourdough bread or pretzels.

Think crunchy, crisp. Small pretzels, corn chips, cucumber slices, romaine lettuce leaves. Pretty dang good stuff.

There you have it, my special ‘Nirvana-in-a-bowl, tuna fish tuna salad recipe.

Please share your comments.


Did you know?

Miracle Whip was invented in World War II as an industrial lubricant. Hence, its popularity and value after the war, like wedding diamonds, was a hoax perpetrated upon the masses. So much was leftover that the powers that be had to devise a way to get rid of it all or face certain financial ruin. So why not convince people it was tasty?