Tuna Boats


I admit it, I’m a mayonnaise fiend. When I typically made tuna salad in the past, I used LOTS of mayo. I love tuna salad, so I thought about how to incorporate it into my lean and green program. In addition to being a favorite food, it’s super easy to prepare ahead for a grab-and-go meal solution when taking off for work or any other busy day.

I don’t like light mayonnaise, and besides we still can’t use very much of that as a healthy fat; certainly not enough to suit my tastes.

I also love Fage Greek Yogurt in all three varieties: Total, Total 2% and Total 0%. So I thought what about that? Unsure of the proper proportions of tuna to yogurt to satisfy the protein-to-healthy-fat ratio for a lean and green meal, I contacted nutrition support. I was told that we can use 1/4 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt with 5.25 ounces of tuna plus two healthy fats, or 1/2 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt with 3.5 ounces tuna plus one healthy fat.

Now we need three green servings to complete the meal. We can have fun and get creative here. Play with textures, colors and flavors. Maybe you want to take a classic approach and serve the tuna salad on a bed of greens with dressing as your healthy fat(s). Maybe you’d like to add some chopped vegetables to the salad: scallions, celery, bell peppers, hot peppers, cucumber, raw zucchini, tomatoes, etc.

In this recipe the majority of the vegetable component (2 servings) comes in the form of bell pepper boats, which have the added benefit of turning the whole meal into finger food. To form the boats, I simply select a pepper that has well developed “lobes.” I simply place the pepper on its head (the stem end) and slice each of the lobes off as closely to the core as possible to create the deepest “boat” possible from each one. (Note, sometimes I use green bell peppers, sometimes red, yellow or orange, remembering that color is an important visual component of the meal.)

Spoon the salad into the boats, place them in a to-go container and stick them in the fridge for a ready-to-eat meal!

I double the recipe when I make this, because why not get two meals for the same amount of effort? After preparing the salad today, I divided it in half — by weight for precision — and stored the other half for use in another meal. Then I spooned the remaining half into the bell pepper boats. Now I’m ready to grab the container on my way to my 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift at work tonight!

Ingredients for the doubled tuna salad recipe:

  • 7 oz (198g) tuna, drained weight (packed in water)
  • 1 c Fage Total 2%
  • 50g chopped scallions
  • 74.5g chopped cherry tomatoes, drained of juices*

Mix ingredients together. Add salt & pepper to taste, if desired.

Doubled recipe yields 2 lean + 2 greens

Halve the salad, store half for later. (Halve by weight for precision.)

Each half is now 1 lean + 1 green. Add additional greens and healthy fats as desired.**

For the tuna boats:

  • 1/2 of the doubled tuna salad recipe
  • 149 g green bell peppers***

Spoon half the tuna mixture (now 1 lean + 1 green) into bell pepper boats (2 green) for a complete meal. Add healthy fats, if desired and available on your daily plan.

* I rough chopped the cherry tomatoes in my countertop mini food processor and drained the juices through a strainer and used 74.5 g of the meat of the tomatoes.

** I sometimes add a healthy fat directly to the salad, e.g. Bolthouse Farms Ranch Dressing (yogurt-based dressing) to add some tang. On this day, in this photo, I added no healthy fats because I decided to use those elsewhere in my day.

*** According to this chart from Medifast, 1 serving of green bell pepper (peppers, green, sweet) is .5 cup chopped, which weighs 75.4 g. Because I’m not chopping the pepper, I’m measuring by weight. In this case, the pepper I used yielded exactly 150 g when sliced and cleaned of seeds. +1 g is close enough for me.