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When the Cupboard Is (Almost) Bare: Make These Two Can Tuna Tacos

Fish tacos you can make tonight—with what you already have. 

Tuna tacos

Tuna tacos 


Reposted with permission from

I’m a lover of canned tuna. It’s like a reliable friend, always there for you in your cupboard. I like it in a sandwich (add gherkins, cucumbers, and dill), on pizza (add sliced onions and basil), tossed with spaghetti (add tomatoes, capers, anchovies, and parsley), and, maybe most of all, in a taco.

The first time I had a tuna taco was when we took a family vacation to Sayulita years back. Joe was inspired by watching Rick Bayless make tacos filled with nothing much more than canned tuna and canned escabeche and he served it up for our lunch. The combination of oily tuna with bracing, spicy pickled jalapenos and carrots was addictive. And all it took was chopping an onion and opening two cans.

Since then, this quick and easy taco has become a go-to when we vacation in Mexico. I’m in Tulum right now with some friends and family, so I made it for lunch yesterday with the addition of chopped crunchy raw onions, cilantro, and radish, plus slices of buttery avocado and a smear of a morita chile salsa (I’m into making dried chile salsas right now). I served it all up with flour tortillas. Paired with margaritas made with fresh lime juice, fresh mango, Triple Sec, and tequila, plus a nice ocean breeze, it was everything.

Two-Can Tuna Tacos
Serves 4-ish

3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 large can tuna, preferably packed in olive oil
chopped canned pickled jalapeños, to taste
kosher salt to taste

Equal amounts finely chopped cilantro, radish, and white onion
sliced avocado
warm corn or flour tortillas

In a pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion. Sauté until translucent. Add the tuna and cook for a minute or two. Add the chopped pickled jalapeños (and carrots or whatever else is in the can). Season with salt to taste. Serve with tortillas and top with cilantro, radish, onion and avocado.


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