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Quinoa Tuna Salad

This Tuna Quinoa Salad is a great light and protein-rich quinoa salad recipe to have on hand! It's very easy to make (20 minutes total!) and makes a great light lunch or hearty side dish for dinner.

This salad is naturally gluten-free, packed with veggies, and it has a light lemony dressing.

Bowl of quinoa tuna salad with veggies and feta.
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Quinoa salad with tuna

Quinoa is a great source of plant protein, and tuna is a great source of healthy protein from seafood. Combine them together, and you have a healthy, high-protein salad that is tastier than it sounds!

I love how the flaked canned tuna mixed with the tiny quinoa, making EVERY bite flavorful. The crunch from the cucumbers, juiciness from the tomatoes, and salty creaminess from the feta only makes things better.

Fork holding tuna quinoa salad to show texture.

This salad has a light lemon dressing. I add a tiny bit of mustard to the dressing so the oil and lemon juice emulsifies, and I add just a bit of honey to balance the sour and tart flavor of lemon juice. Not enough to make a sweet dressing. Just enough for you to get a little taste, and then immediately reach for more.

Ready to make this salad??

Related recipe: Tuna Pasta Salad with Veggies

Ingredients to make quinoa tuna salad

Ingredients

For the tuna quinoa salad:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (white, brown, or tricolor), rinsed well in a fine mesh colander
  • Water for cooking quinoa (2 cups on the stovetop, 1 cup in the Instant Pot)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved or diced
  • 1 cup diced cucumber (1 medium cucumber)
  • 2 scallions, diced (or ¼ cup diced red onion)
  • 2 5-oz cans tuna, drained (I use chunk lite tuna packed in water for lowest mercury and calorie content)
  • ¼ - ½ cup crumbled feta (to taste)
  • 2-4 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as dill, basil, or parsley

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • zest of ½ - 1 lemon (optional, but if you're using a fresh lemon don't skip this! I use this zester for super easy zest)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard (Dijon or any kind)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning or dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)

Related recipe: Mediterranean Couscous Bowls with Tuna

Equipment

Related recipe: Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

Instructions

Step 1: Cook the rinsed quinoa according to the package instructions. I cooked mine on the stovetop: Combine 2 cups water, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1 cup rinsed quinoa in a pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and let it simmer for 12 minutes. Uncover and let it cook on low for another 3 minutes, or until the quinoa is fully cooked and releases tiny curly white strings (those are fine!) and all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork but don't stir too much. Transfer to a heat-safe bowl and let the quinoa cool.

Cooked quinoa in a bowl.

Step 2: While the quinoa is cooking and cooling, prepare the rest of the salad: Dice the cucumber (peel if you want), dice the tomatoes, chop the scallions, drain the tuna, zest the lemon, juice the lemon, and chop your fresh herbs.

Step 3: Prepare the dressing by mixing together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well with a fork.

Lemon dressing for tuna quinoa salad in a bowl.

Step 4: Add the veggies, feta, and dressing to the quinoa and mix gently. Mix until just combined, but do not overmix so the quinoa doesn't get mushy. If needed, adjust the flavor to your liking with a little extra salt or lemon juice. Serve immediately, or chill before serving.

All the ingredients for tuna quinoa salad in a bowl.

Related recipe: Instant Pot Quinoa with Sausage and Veggies

Tasty add-ins for quinoa tuna salad

This salad is great on its own, but you can totally adjust it to your liking or to what you have on hand. It's a great clear-out-the-fridge salad! Try any of these add-ins:

  • Cooked chickpeas
  • Sliced olives
  • Sun-dried tomatoes (oil packed and drained)
  • Marinated artichoke hearts
  • Diced fresh bell peppers
  • Thinly sliced or diced red onion
  • Canned or cooked corn
  • Cooked frozen peas
  • Cooked white beans
  • Grated Parmesan
  • Any other fresh herbs
Bowl of tuna quinoa salad with a lemon wedge.

Storing leftovers and tips for leftovers

This salad makes about 4 servings, perfect for a small lunch or a side dish for a hearty dinner. This salad is best served fresh, but it can be stored for up to 1 full day if you have leftovers. It will be a little more "watery" the next day because the cucumbers and tomatoes will release juices.

If you are not planning on finishing all of it the first time, I recommend only mixing together as much as you will eat. Store the remaining chopped veggies in one container in the fridge, the cooked quinoa and feta in another container, and the dressing in another. Then combine everything on Day 2 when ready to eat!

This is a great way to prep this salad for a work lunch the next day—just keep everything separate. Or to make things easier at work, store the veggies on top of the quinoa, and store the dressing in a separate container. Combine and stir well before eating.

If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don't forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!

Bowl of tuna quinoa salad with feta, tomato, cucumber.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Quinoa Tuna Salad

Healthy, light, flavorful, and high in protein! This Quinoa Tuna Salad makes a great light lunch or dinner, and is great for packing for a work lunch. Read the notes below recipe for lunch-packing tips and tasty add-in ideas.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Cooldown time5 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Fat
Servings: 4
Author: Kate

Ingredients

For the tuna quinoa salad:
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (white, brown, or tricolor), rinsed well in a fine mesh colander
  • water for cooking quinoa (2 cups on the stovetop, 1 cup in the Instant Pot)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes halved or diced
  • 1 cup diced cucumber (1 medium cucumber)
  • 2 scallions diced (or ¼ cup diced red onion)
  • 2 5-oz cans tuna drained (I use chunk lite tuna packed in water for lowest mercury and calorie content)
  • ¼ - ½ cup feta cheese (to taste)
  • 2-4 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs such as dill, basil, or parsley
For the dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • zest of ½ - 1 lemon (optional, but if you're using a fresh lemon don't skip this! I use this zester for super easy zest)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard (Dijon or any kind)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning or dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)

Special equipment

  • 2-3 quart pot for cooking the quinoa (or an Instant Pot)
  • Fine mesh colander for draining quinoa and tuna
  • measuring cups and spoons

Instructions

  • Cook the rinsed quinoa according to the package instructions. On stovetop: Combine 2 cups water, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1 cup rinsed quinoa in a pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and let it simmer for 12 minutes. Uncover and let it cook on low for another 3 minutes, or until the quinoa is fully cooked and releases tiny curly white strings (those are fine!) and all the water is absorbed.
    Remove from heat and fluff with a fork but don't stir too much. Transfer to a heat-safe bowl and let the quinoa cool.
  • While the quinoa is cooking and cooling, prepare the rest of the salad: Dice the cucumber (peel if you want), dice the tomatoes, chop the scallions, drain the tuna, zest the lemon, juice the lemon, and chop your fresh herbs.
  • Prepare the dressing by mixing together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Mix well with a fork.
  • Add the veggies, feta, and dressing to the quinoa and mix gently. Mix until just combined, but do not overmix so the quinoa doesn't get mushy. If needed, adjust the flavor to your liking with a little extra salt or lemon juice. Serve immediately, or chill before serving.

Notes

Tasty add-ins for quinoa tuna salad: Cooked chickpeas, sliced olives, sun-dried tomatoes (oil packed and drained), diced fresh bell peppers, marinated artichoke hearts, thinly sliced or diced red onion, canned or cooked corn, cooked frozen peas, cooked white bean, grated Parmesan, any other fresh herbs. And of course, you can always double the veggies!
Storing leftovers and tips for leftovers: This salad is best served fresh, but it can be stored for up to 1 full day if you have leftovers. It will be a little more "watery" the next day because the cucumbers and tomatoes will release juices. 
  • I recommend only mixing together as much as you will eat. Store the remaining chopped veggies in one container in the fridge, the cooked quinoa and feta in another container, and the dressing in another. Then combine everything on Day 2 when ready to eat!
  • Prep this salad for a work lunch the next day: Store the veggies on top of the quinoa, and store the dressing in a separate container. Combine and stir well before eating.

Nutrition

Calories: 270kcal (14%) | Carbohydrates: 34g (11%) | Protein: 15g (30%) | Fat: 9g (14%) | Saturated Fat: 2g (10%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 21mg (7%) | Sodium: 497mg (21%) | Potassium: 462mg (13%) | Fiber: 4g (16%) | Sugar: 5g (6%) | Vitamin A: 334IU (7%) | Vitamin C: 12mg (15%) | Calcium: 88mg (9%) | Iron: 3mg (17%)

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