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Creamy Pesto Tuna Salad

4.5 stars, average of 64 ratings

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I love making a slight tweak to a recipe that really transforms it. Growing up, my go-to salad was a simple garden salad with a can of tuna tossed through.

Recently, I wanted a similar keto-friendly salad but I was craving creaminess. I didn’t want to go all out and something with a rich, creamy dressing — I like my salads quite light and wanted to keep this element. So I decided to make a creamy tuna topping for the salad. Mayonnaise and pesto add flavour, while Greek yoghurt and lemon juice add a little freshness and keep it from feeling too heavy.

Despite the extra effort in preparing the creamy tuna topping, this low-carb salad still comes together in under ten minutes making it a quick and delicious meal for those warmer months.

This keto salad is ideal for lunch boxes and those who practice intermittent fasting. It's high in potassium, magnesium, protein and healthy fats. Just one serving will keep you full until dinner!

Hands-on Overall

Allergy information for Creamy Pesto Tuna Salad

✔  Gluten free
✔  Dairy free
✔  Nut free
✔  Pork free
✔  Coconut free
✔  Shellfish free
✔  Beef free

Nutritional values (per serving)

Net carbs7.8 grams
Protein31.3 grams
Fat58.9 grams
Calories698 kcal
Calories from carbs 5%, protein 18%, fat 77%
Total carbs13.5 gramsFiber5.7 gramsSugars5.8 gramsSaturated fat9.1 gramsSodium1,085 mg(47% RDA)Magnesium82 mg(21% RDA)Potassium1,039 mg(52% EMR)

Ingredients (makes 1 serving)

Creamy tuna:
  • 1 small tin tuna in oil, drained (95 g/ 3.4 oz)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp paleo mayonnaise (23 g/ 0.8 oz) - you can make your own mayo
  • 1 heaped tbsp full-fat Greek yoghurt, coconut yogurt or more mayo (30 g/ 1.1 oz)
  • 1 tbsp pesto (15 g/ 0.5 oz) - you can make your own pesto
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (15 ml)
  • 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 4 leaves iceberg lettuce, torn (60 g/ 2.1 oz)
  • 1 small tomato, sliced (60 g/ 2.1 oz)
  • 1/2 small cucumber, sliced diagonally (80 g/ 2.8 oz)
  • 1/4 avocado, thinly sliced (50 g/ 1.8 oz)


  1. Make the creamy tuna by mixing all the ingredients in a small bowl, and mashing together with a fork until combined. Add salt to taste.
    Creamy Pesto Tuna Salad
  2. To make dressing, add ingredients to a small jar and shake to combine.
    Creamy Pesto Tuna Salad
  3. Layer the lettuce, cucumber and tomato in a shallow bowl.
    Creamy Pesto Tuna Salad
  4. Top with the tuna mix and the avocado. Drizzle over the dressing.
    Creamy Pesto Tuna Salad
    Serve immediately, or store in the fridge for a day. The creamy tuna can be made in advance and stored in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to 4 days. Creamy Pesto Tuna Salad

Ingredient nutritional breakdown (per serving)

Net carbsProteinFatCalories
Tuna, tinned (in oil), drained
0 g25.2 g7.7 g177 kcal
0.1 g0.2 g18.7 g167 kcal
Yogurt, plain (full-fat, Greek style, 5% fat)
1.1 g2.7 g1.5 g29 kcal
Basil pesto
1 g0.6 g9.8 g93 kcal
Lemon juice, fresh
0.5 g0 g0 g2 kcal
Salt, sea salt
0 g0 g0 g0 kcal
Olive oil, extra virgin
0 g0 g13.5 g119 kcal
Apple cider vinegar
0.1 g0 g0 g2 kcal
Pepper, black, spices
0.1 g0 g0 g1 kcal
Iceberg lettuce, fresh
1.1 g0.5 g0.1 g8 kcal
Tomatoes, fresh
1.6 g0.5 g0.1 g11 kcal
Cucumber, fresh
1.2 g0.5 g0.1 g10 kcal
Avocado, fresh
0.9 g1 g7.4 g80 kcal
Total per serving
7.8 g31.3 g58.9 g698 kcal

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Dearna Bond
Creator of

Dearna Bond

Dearna is a passionate foodie and food photographer, and loves sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm for both via her food blog and online photography courses.

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Comments (4)

Do you think it will taste good if we replace canned fish with cooked cod roe?

I say YES! Cod roe is a fantastic ingredient. I love using it cooked or smoked (to make keto taramalsalata). It's different texture though. Cooked cod roe is very smooth, soft, plain in flavour. Smoked is firmer, salty. I'm thinking you may need to add some flavour by using at least a few slices of smoked cod roe or smoked salmon.
(I'm sorry for the delayed response, life gets busy with newborn twins!)

I would use Romaine lettuce instead of Iceberg lettuce in any recipe. It is much more nutritious.

Thank you for the great suggestion, Carol!