Tuna salad is a great cost-effective meal option you make with inexpensive pantry staples. Plus, it pairs well with everything from crackers to your favorite sandwich bread. Check out our extensive list of side dishes and learn what to serve with tuna salad!
Let’s get started…
What Is Tuna Salad?
Classic tuna salad is generally made of salt, water, lemon juice, celery, onion, mayonnaise, or plain Greek yogurt, and canned tuna in water or olive oil-packed tuna.
Some people also add hard-boiled eggs, pickle relish, and diced red peppers to their tuna salad.
Most people serve tuna salad on a bed of lettuce leaves with side dishes or as a sandwich.
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Crusty Artisan Bread
If you want something heartier and more filling, crusty artisan bread is a great option. It’s a sturdy, satisfying bread that can hold up to all ingredients in a tuna salad sandwich.
My husband loves a tuna salad, bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich. So next time you have tuna salad, top it with some bacon, lettuce, and tomato.
This side dish is versatile and so easy to make. Serve the marinated cucumbers on the side, or put them straight onto your sandwich for a nice crunch.
To make marinated cucumbers, slice your cucumbers thin and toss with extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. You can also add some dried Italian herbs to the cucumbers.
My favorite vinegar for these cucumbers is white vinegar, champagne vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
ProTip: Be sure to add them to the sandwiches before serving, or they may get soggy.
If you’re looking for a quick and simple side dish that’s healthy, tasty, and goes great with tuna salad, then garden salads are for you!
Garden salads go well with tuna salad because they can be dressed with a simple lemon juice and olive oil vinaigrette for a quick delicious, high-fiber side dish that goes well with sandwiches.
Not into simple dressings? Then try making a dressing with dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. Add in a pinch of salt and pepper. Then toss in a few finely chopped fresh herbs like flat-leaf parsley or dill, and finish it with a splash of fresh lemon juice. It won’t disappoint!
Your garden salad can be as simple as lettuce and cherry tomatoes or a salad that includes other veggies such as carrots, red cabbage, red onions, or even a white onion. Your salad could also have hard-boiled egg slices. It’s your salad. Make it how you want.
Serving roasted potatoes with tuna sandwiches is a great way to add carb-laden comfort food to your meal.
Technically, you can use any potato, but your results will vary, depending on whether you use a waxy potato or a starchy one.
I find yellow or gold potatoes produce the best results as they’re not too waxy or too starchy.
Just be sure to use red potatoes because they are lower in starch than other varieties of potato.
Dill Pickle Spears
Dill pickles are tangy, flavorful, and salty – all of these traits go great with tuna salad. In addition, the acidity of the pickles helps balance out the heaviness of tuna salads made with mayonnaise.
Plus, it’s a super easy side dish. Just open the jar and lay a few spears on each plate.
However, if you use dill relish in your tuna salad or prefer sliced dill pickles on your sandwiches, I’d choose another side dish.
Steamed vegetables are a great option to serve with tuna salad. They taste great and make your meal more filling due to the added fiber.
If tomatoes are in season, you’ll want to add some sliced tomatoes as a simple side dish.
Sprinkle on some Himalayan sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper and enjoy.
ProTip: If you’re eating on the go, add a few tomato slices to your sandwich.
Let’s be honest. Potato chips are nutritionally empty yet delicious snack food. Most of us can’t resist that salty, crunchy bite.
While they’re not necessarily the healthiest side dish for your meal, they complement a tuna salad sandwich quite well.
If you’re looking to add some crunch to your sandwich, add some potato chips. Yep, it works! Just add the chips directly to your sandwich!
On the other hand, you can serve chips on the side of your tuna salad sandwich for a quick meal.
Marinated Cucumber, Tomato, and Onion Salad
Sliced onions are delicious, but raw onion has a bold flavor that not everyone enjoys. But, if you’re a raw onion lover, a cold sliced onion marinated in a little oil and vinegar along with some diced tomatoes and cucumbers makes for a beautiful side dish for your tuna salad sandwich. It also works well for egg salad and chicken salad sandwiches as well.
Tomato soup is a great side dish for any meal, including a tuna fish sandwich.
If you’re looking for a hearty meal, try serving it alongside a toasted tuna salad sandwich.
Here in the south, we love our coleslaw. It’s a crunchy, tangy (and sometimes sweet) addition to any meal.
Coleslaw isn’t just for barbeque, hot dogs, and hamburgers. It pairs very well with all fish dishes, including tuna salad.
If you’re looking to add some crunch, coleslaw is for you. Just add a scoop of coleslaw to your sandwich or serve it alongside your meal. Either way, coleslaw makes a great addition to your tuna salad meal.
If you’re looking for something other than regular bread, consider serving your tuna salad on pumpernickel bread instead. This hearty type of dark bread goes great with tuna salad.
Cottage cheese is a creamy side dish for tuna salad. Pair it with a side of fruit for a classic pairing.
Is there anything better than juicy, sweet fresh fruit? I don’t think so.
What’s lovely about serving tuna salad sandwiches with a side of fresh fruit is that you not only get your fiber intake, but you also get some natural sweetness to balance out the saltiness of the tuna.
If you’re not into green salads, a traditional Caesar salad pairs well with tuna salad. It’s a heavier salad, so it makes a beautiful complement to a lunchtime entree of tuna salad.
Many chowder soups go great with tuna salad, but I think corn chowder is incredibly delicious—the sweet corn flavor pairs well with any seafood.
Cold Pasta Salad
A portion of cold pasta with red onion and black olives tossed in an olive oil vinaigrette makes an excellent side dish for tuna salad.
French fries are the perfect side dish if you’re looking for something to pair with your tuna salad that has loads of flavor and is filling.
Whether you’re eating tuna salad on a bed of lettuce or having a sandwich, raw veggies make a healthy, delicious side dish.
The veggies will add a fresh, crunchy component to your meal that will help offset the heaviness of your tuna salad.
Suppose you’re not feeling the traditional two slices of bread, no worries. Pita bread is always a good option.
Another excellent option is a Greek salad made with red onion, black olives, and fresh herbs dressed in a traditional Greek vinaigrette.
Crispy Onion Rings
What’s a fish sandwich without some crispy onion rings?
These little fried goodies add a wonderful crunch to your meal.
So, whether you’re looking for a side dish to serve with your tuna sandwich or your tuna on a bed of lettuce, crispy fried onion rings will complement your tuna well.
Final Thoughts From Cost-Effective Kitchen
Whether you’re looking for a side dish to complement your tuna sandwich or a bed of lettuce to put your tuna on, there are plenty of great options.
The key is to a good tuna fish pairing is to know what flavors, textures, and aromas you’re looking for in your meal so that you can pick and choose from what you’ve read above.
And, if you aren’t sure what flavors will work well together, consider trying a classic combination like pairing your tuna salad with coleslaw or even a tuna salad with raw veggies or chips.
The important thing is not to let food go to waste when you don’t have to. Instead, use the tips above to help reduce food waste at your home by mixing your meals up and saving some money while you’re at it.
Until next time…