This Green Goddess Tuna Salad combines vibrant herby flavors with tuna and crunchy veggies for a creamy, bright and delicious make-ahead friendly lunch. Serve as a sandwich, wrap, or with your favorite crackers and veggies!
The first time I heard about Green Goddess dressing was when it appeared on the shelves at Trader Joe’s. It was vegan, Whole30 friendly, and absolutely delicious. Fast forward to now, and I find myself wanting to infuse those flavors into my lunches in another way!
Enter this Green Goddess Tuna Salad. Prepare to be blown away by how green and vibrant the sauce is! This is one of my favorite ways to elevate a basic tuna salad for a new spin on a classic make-ahead lunch.
What does Green Goddess mean?
The term ‘Green Goddess’ references a green salad dressing that usually includes anchovies, lemons, mayonnaise, and a plethora of soft green herbs like chives, parsley, and tarragon.
The original Green Goddess salad dressing was invented in the 1920’s by a hotel chef in San Francisco. He created the dressing recipe in celebration of a hit play by the very same name.
This tuna salad recipe combines the fresh and vibrant flavors of that Green Goddess salad dressing with all the tuna salad ingredients you know and love. The result is a beautiful and refreshing creamy green tuna salad, packed with vegetables and herbs. You’re gonna love it, I promise!
Total Time: 20 minutes
Method: No Heat
Prep: Make-Ahead Friendly
What are the ingredients in this Green Goddess Tuna Salad?
This recipe uses basic ingredients and is a great way to use up a ton of herbs all at once! All of these ingredients should be available at your local grocery store, even the anchovies. I love to use fresh herbs from the garden whenever possible!
Here’s a list of everything you need plus a little more info for each:
- soft green herbs – You’ll need two cups packed – basil, parsley, cilantro, tarragon and chives all work well but avoid mint! I’d definitely go with parsley as one of your main herbs. It tends to be more affordable than other herbs. You can also add a few leaves of spinach if you need more greens.
- Greek yogurt – Use full fat (5%) Greek yogurt for the best flavor and texture. Higher fat yogurt is usually thicker which we want for this sauce.
- mayonnaise – Using just a small amount of mayo instead of all Greek yogurt helps balance out any tart flavors from the yogurt. I also love the difference in texture!
- lemon zest & juice – Balance out all the earthy and fishy flavors with a nice burst of lemon for brightness. It helps blend all the flavors together really well!
- extra virgin olive oil – Using a small amount of oil helps give the sauce a smoother texture as well as adds a rich deep flavor.
- kosher salt – A little bit of salt ties all these ingredients together and brings out all the flavors!
- anchovies – Adding some anchovies to the Green Goddess sauce gives it a delicious umami taste that’s so addicting! Plus, anchovies were part of the original 1920’s recipe.
- garlic – I love garlic and it adds the perfect zest to the sauce otherwise packed with herbs!
- canned tuna – The base of our salad! You can use tuna packed in water or packed in oil. I prefer tuna packed in water so I can give my cats the leftover tuna juice.
- celery, green onions, cucumber – These green veggies make up the rest of the tuna salad. They add both a crunchy texture and delicious flavors to mellow out to bright and vibrant dressing.
How do you make this Green Goddess Tuna Salad?
Making this Green Goddess Tuna salad requires just three main steps: blending up the sauce, mixing it with the tuna, and then mixing it together with the veggies.
Grab your blender – I like to use a Nutribullet for this recipe since it’s a smaller amount of sauce, but a Vitamix or food processor would work too. Jam pack those herbs into a measuring cup and then stuff them into the blender cup.
Add the rest of the sauce ingredients, including the roughly chopped garlic and anchovies. Blend it together until you have a smooth and slightly thick bright green sauce. Set that aside while you open up the tuna.
Drain the tuna and transfer it into a large bowl. Use a fork to break up the large pieces of tuna, but keep some bits intact for texture – you don’t want a mush! Fold in about 3/4 of the prepared Green Goddess dressing, adding more if needed as you stir.
If you’re serving the salad right away, fold in the celery, green onions and cucumber just before serving, adding more dressing as needed. You want everything to be saturated, but without extra dressing pooled in the bottom of the bowl.
If you’re making this ahead of time, just fold in the celery and green onions, and scatter the cucumber on top of each portion. Another option is to slice and add the cucumber right before serving. Give it a taste and add more salt or lemon juice if needed.
My favorite way to eat this Green Goddess Tuna Salad is on a couple slices of bread with some romaine. It makes the best tuna salad sandwich, but a green version!!
Can I omit the anchovies if I don’t have them?
I recommend including the anchovies in the dressing, when possible. If you don’t have access to anchovies, this recipe will still be delicious, but not quite as delicious as it could be!
You can most likely find anchovies in the grocery store very close to the canned tuna and other canned fish products. It may also be found near the condiments.
Best tips for making Green Goddess Tuna Salad:
Here are my best tips for making this recipe in your own kitchen:
- When adding the Green Goddess sauce to the tuna, start by adding about 3/4 of the sauce at first, then add more as needed. Leftover sauce can always be saved for salad dressing.
- Drain the tuna as much as possible. You want to remove as much of the tuna water or oil so it doesn’t make the tuna salad too wet.
- Deseeding the cucumber is a great way to reduce moisture in the tuna salad. Cucumbers tend to be the first thing that get soggy, so deseeding them or adding them right before enjoying is a good strategy.
Ways to customize this Green Goddess Tuna Salad:
Here are a couple ways to customize this recipe to make it your own:
- Use your favorite herbs: if have a particular love for cilantro or basil, make that a majority of your herbs. Parsley is always a good backup to go with.
- Add avocado: Skip the oil and add half a ripe avocado instead!
- Serve on a bed of your favorite greens and top with your favorite veggies. This tuna salad can do anything your favorite tuna salad can do!
What should you serve with this Green Goddess Tuna Salad?
My favorite way to eat this tuna salad is on some bread with some extra lettuce greens involved, along with a crunchy side like chips or crackers. You can also stuff it into a pita or onto a wrap with some chopped lettuce.
Another idea is skip the bread and enjoy it with veggies or crackers for an easy on the go option!
Where do you get those containers?
It’s so important to have dependable containers for your meal prepped meals (see ALL my recommendations here!). Airtight, glass, freezer safe – those are some of my requirements.
For the meal pictured below, I used my 3 Compartment Glass Meal Prep Containers made by Prep Naturals. I got them on Amazon. These are my favorite containers for meal prep lunches where I want to keep some foods separated from the others.
How do you meal prep this Green Goddess Tuna Salad?
This recipe was developed specifically for meal prep and makes a delicious make-ahead meal for lunch. However, here are a couple of detailed make-ahead options for you:
- Prep for the week: Make the recipe as written and portion the ingredients evenly into four meal prep containers.
- Sauce prep only: It is possible to make the Green Goddess sauce ahead of time for quick tuna salad assembly later. Any leftover sauce can be saved for salad dressing for 3-4 days.
Is this recipe freezer-friendly?
No, I would not recommend freezing this recipe due to all the fresh veggies involved.
How to store Green Goddess Tuna Salad:
Store leftover or meal prep Green Goddess Tuna Salad in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Any leftover Green Goddess sauce can be saved for salad dressing for 3-4 days.
This Green Goddess Tuna Salad combines vibrant herby flavors with classic tuna and chopped veggies for a bright and delicious make-ahead friendly lunch. Serve as a sandwich, wrap, or with your favorite crackers and veggies!
For the Green Goddess dressing:
- 2 cups packed soft green herbs (basil, parsley, cilantro, tarragon and chives all work well but avoid mint!)
- 1 cup Greek yogurt (5% fat preferred)
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- zest of 1/2 medium lemon
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus extra to taste
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra to taste
- 3 anchovies, packed in oil
- 1 garlic clove
For the tuna salad:
- 3 (5-ounce) cans chunk tuna (see note)
- 2 small ribs of celery, chopped
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cucumber, deseeded and chopped
- Make the dressing: Using a high powered blender or food processor, blitz together all the dressing ingredients, roughly chopping the anchovies and peeling and roughly chopping the garlic before adding them to the blender. You should have a slightly thick sauce: check the seasoning and add more salt to make it more savory, more lemon juice to make it brighter.
- Mix the tuna: Drain the tuna and transfer into a large bowl. Use a fork to lightly flake the tuna and break up the large pieces, but keep some bits intact for texture – you don’t want a mush! Fold in about 3/4 of the prepared Green Goddess dressing, adding more if needed as you stir.
- To serve now: If you’re serving the salad right away, fold in the celery, green onions and cucumber just before serving, adding more dressing as needed. You want everything to be saturated, but without extra dressing pooled in the bottom of the bowl. Serve as a sandwich, on salad, or with crackers and veggies.
- To serve later: If you’re making this ahead, just fold in the celery and green onions, and scatter the cucumber on top of each portion, ready to be stirred into the tuna salad just before serving. Taste, and add again more salt or lemon juice if needed. Store in an airtight bowl with lid in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Tuna: You can use tuna packed in brine or water for this recipe, but it could make it less meal-prep friendly as the additional liquid will make the salad looser when stored in the fridge. Be sure to drain the tuna well.
Herbs: If you’ve not got quite enough herbs, you can make the amount up with up to 1/2 cup baby spinach leaves.
Recipe inspired by Green Goddess Salad from Baked by Melissa. Nutrition information estimated with My Fitness Pal.
- Serving Size: about 1 cup
- Fat: 25g
- Carbohydrates: 9g
- Protein: 33g
Recipe developed by Rachel Phipps.