Make the most out of your canned tuna with these Easy Whole30 Tuna Cakes. They’re great year round, but they’re particularly good right now given the need to stay home and make the most out of your pantry. With just a few ingredients, most of which you probably have on hand, you can have some hot, fresh and crispy tuna cakes in no time!
As the name suggests, these Whole30 Tuna Cakes are grain and gluten-free, but you’d never be able to tell. They’re juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside and packed with flavour. You can enjoy them as an appetizer with a dipping sauce, like my Tarragon Aioli, or Dill Pickle Mayo, or you can try them with my Basic Coleslaw and Garlic and Thyme Roast Potatoes. You can’t go wrong either way.
And for something equally delicious, you can try making my Salmon Cakes.
What You’ll Need for Easy Whole30 Tuna Cakes
Canned Tuna in Water:
- There’s a time and place for tuna canned in oil, but this isn’t it. You want one that’s packed in water because you need to drain the tuna of any moisture. I also recommend sourcing sustainable and wild-caught tuna whenever possible. Not only is it a superior-tasting product, it’s also better for our oceans.
- Celery, bell pepper and onions are common ingredients in tuna cakes. They add texture, colour, and flavour. As the tuna cakes cook, the vegetables also release some moisture, which prevents things from getting dry.
- Herbs like parsley and dill are excellent additions to tuna cakes. Like the vegetables, they add colour and a lot of flavour. Don’t feel like you’re committed to these two herbs alone, though. You can experiment with different herbs to make various flavour combinations. For example, use fresh cilantro, finely chopped lemongrass and chili peppers for south-east Asian-inspired tuna cakes.
- I like the addition of Dijon mustard in my tuna cakes. It adds a bit of tang and acidity, which pairs nicely with the fish. The mustard also works as a bit of a binder along with the almond flour that helps hold the tuna cakes together as they cook.
- In these Paleo and Whole30 tuna cakes, I use almond flour in the place of regular wheat flour. Because the tuna is very delicate, it can have a tendency fall apart on you if you don’t introduce a binder. Almond flour works great and doesn’t impart flavour into the cakes, as, for example, coconut flour would.
- The eggs are what hold the tuna cakes together as they cook. If you don’t have eggs, you can use mayonnaise. Either or will work.
Salt and pepper:
- Since this is a recipe for fairly easy and basic tuna cakes, I stuck with just salt and pepper for seasonings. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You can try adding onion powder, chili pepper, cayenne pepper, dried herbs, old bay seasoning, adobo seasoning, etc. The world is your tuna cake, I mean oyster.
Extra-virgin olive oil:
- Extra-virgin olive oil is my oil of choice for tuna cakes because it imparts a bit of flavour and colour. Since they cook around medium heat, I am not worried about EVOO’s smoking point. If you don’t have EVOO, you can use avocado oil, ghee, butter, lard, or even coconut oil. Each will bring its own unique flavour to the tuna cakes.
Easy Whole30 Tuna Cakes - Paleo
- 3 cans tuna packed in water drained
- 2 celery stalks – finely chopped
- ½ medium red bell pepper – finely chopped
- ½ medium red onion – finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh dill or parsley – finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup almond flour
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
- 2 whole large eggs
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon cut into wedges for serving
- In a large bowl, combine the tuna, celery, bell pepper, onion, dill or parsley, mustard, almond flour, salt and pepper. Using clean hands, mix until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until well combined and slightly frothy. Pour the eggs into the bowl and mix until well combined and it begins to clump. If you notice that your mixture is too dry and flakey, whisk an additional egg and add one or two tablespoons at a time until it begins to clump up. If your mixture is too wet, add one or two tablespoons of almond flour.
- Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, portion out equal-sized mounds. Form the mounds into rounds and then carefully flatten into cakes.
- Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add olive oil and heat until shimmering. Working in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan, carefully lay in the tuna cakes and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown, three minutes. Flip and cook until golden brown on the second side, three minutes. Transfer the cooked cakes to a tray lined with paper towel to absorb excess oils.
- Serve immediately with lemon wedges.