DIVAS ON A DIME: Avocado tuna stack is perfect summer meal

By Patti Diamond

This canned tuna dish is almost too pretty to eat. (www.JasonCoblentz.com)

With food prices rising across the board, it’s nice to see that (so far) the price of canned tuna remains affordable. In fact, I bet you have a can or two in your pantry right now.

Tuna is incredibly versatile, from sandwiches and creamy casseroles to zesty salads. Plus, it’s packed full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, high-quality protein, selenium and vitamin D.

However, not all tuna is created equal. There is a huge range in product quality available at the market. Between sustainability, nutrition and health, there’s a lot to consider before stocking up on tuna. It’s hard at first glance to determine which tuna brands are doing their part in responsible fishing and environmental practices because language on labels and company websites can be misleading.

A quick online search can help find which brands are observing sustainability, as well as ethical and fair-trade practices. Resources like the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Site or Greenpeace’s canned tuna report are great places to start making informed choices with canned fish. Spoiler alert — just because a brand is popular doesn’t make it responsible. Please make the best choice you can, when choosing your can.

Now, how about a deliciously easy, no-cook recipe that’s perfect for a warm summer evening? We’re dressing up ordinary canned tuna into a zesty flavorful dish with a Latin flair by adding pico de gallo and avocado in colorful layers. It’s almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

This composed salad is a perfect light lunch or dinner, or a gorgeous appetizer for your next party. Serve with tortilla chips for extra crunch. I used the tuna can as a mold to shape the salad, but you could use food molds or a biscuit cutter. Alternatively, you could simply layer in small glass bowls.



Yield: 2 servings  Time: 10 minutes


1 (5 to 7 ounce) can albacore tuna in water, drained

1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/4 cup celery, minced

1 tablespoon green onion, minced

1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced

2 1/2 tablespoons lime juice, divided

1 large, or 2 medium avocados

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup pico de gallo (purchased or recipe below)

Tortilla chips


  1. Prepare the pico de gallo if not using purchased. Drain the tuna, reserving the can to use as a mold for the salad if desired.
  2. In a bowl, mix tuna, mayonnaise, celery, green onion, cilantro and 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice. Add a pinch of salt, and stir it all together.
  3. Peel and dice the avocado then place in a bowl with the remaining tablespoon lime juice, add a pinch of salt and stir.
  4. If using the can as a mold, rinse and dry the can, and spray with cooking spray. Line the inside of the can with plastic wrap and spray that, too. Place half the tuna in the bottom of the can and gently press down. Next, layer with half of the avocado.
  5. Place your serving plate over the can and flip them both over. Carefully remove can and plastic wrap. Top it with a mound of pico de gallo. Repeat for second serving. Serve with tortilla chips.




1/2 cup tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup white onion, diced

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 small jalapeno pepper; cored, seeded, minced

1 lime juiced and zested


Combine everything in a bowl. Refrigerate to allow flavors to combine.


If the Latin flair doesn’t light your fire, replace cilantro with parsley and substitute 1 cup fresh ripe tomato for the pico de gallo. Enjoy!


Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is the penny-pinching, party-planning, recipe developer and content creator of the website “Divas On A Dime — Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com


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