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What Can You Make With a Cheap Can of Tuna? An Elegant Dinner in Your Air Fryer or Oven

That's right. A 12-ounce can of tuna that costs under two dollars from Walmart can form the base of a dinner that you can serve guests. The meal--Tuna Baked in Ramekins With Mango-Tomato Salsa--is full of flavor and is incredibly nutritious. You obviously will need other ingredients beyond the can of tuna, but most of the additions are reasonably priced and, except perhaps for the mangoes, easy to find. I've been known to substitute chopped canned peaches for the mangoes in a pinch, but the mangoes are better if you can find them ripe. The tuna part of the dish is similar to crab cakes. In fact, my husband thought that was what he was eating when he first tried the dish. Nope. Cheap tuna. Really. The salsa adds color and freshness to the dish as well as sweet, acidic, and salty flavor. You can certainly serve the tuna "as is" without the salsa, if you'd like, but the salsa definitely dresses the dish up. I like to serve the tuna on a bed of lettuce (or arugula or spinach, depending on what's available and on sale) and put the salsa around the tuna. Enjoy!

What Can You Make With a Cheap Can of Tuna?  An Elegant Dinner
What Can You Make With a Cheap Can of Tuna? An Elegant Dinner in Your Air Fryer or Oven

Tuna Baked in Ramekins With Mango-Tomato Salsa -- Serves 4


1/4 cup of chopped red or yellow or orange or a combination bell pepper

1/4 cup of chopped celery

2-3 tablespoons of chopped green onions

2-3 tablespoons of water

1 cup of soft, stale breadcrumbs (about 2 heels from bread loaves, crumbled up)

1/4 cup of chopped parsley

1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

3-4 tablespoons of plain yogurt (fat-free is fine)

1-2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

1 large egg

12-ounce can of light chunk tuna, drained (in oil or water is fine)

1-2 teaspoons of lime juice

1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese

Salsa (optional, see below)

Parsley to garnish (optional)


Add the chopped peppers, celery, green onions, and water to a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave the mixture for two minutes or until the veggies soften. Add the crumbled bread and stir it into the vegetable mixture well. If the bread is really hard, let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes to let the bread soften and absorb some of the liquid. You want the bread to break down as you stir the mixture. Add the parsley, garlic powder, yogurt, mustard, salt, pepper, and egg and mix everything well. Add the tuna, lime juice, and Parmesan and mix them into the vegetable mixture until everything is well combined and the tuna is distributed throughout the mixture. Spritz four ramekins (they should be large enough to hold a cup of ingredients) with non-stick cooking spray. Divide the tuna mixture among the ramekins.


Air Fryer: If you want to air fry the tuna, place two-to-four filled ramekins in your air fryer basket, put the basket in the air fryer and air fry the tuna at 320 degrees for 15-20 minutes until a deep golden brown. Remove the ramekins from the air fryer basket and let them cool for about 10 minutes. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining tuna-filled ramekins, if necessary. When you're ready to unmold the tuna, run a knife around the edge of the ramekins and flip them over to dislodge the tuna cakes. Place the tuna cakes on beds of lettuce, arugula, or spinach and put the salsa around them. You can garnish the tuna with parsley, if you'd like.


Oven: Put the ramekins on a small sheet pan and bake them in a 350 degree, preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until set and golden brown. Let the ramekins cool for about 10 minutes before running a knife around the edges and unmolding the tuna cakes.


Air Fryer Tuna Cakes in Ramekins
Air Fryer Tuna Cakes in Ramekins

Tomato-Mango Salsa


1 large mango, peeled, and chopped

1-2 tablespoons of lime juice

1 pint of small tomatoes, halved (like cherry tomatoes or a mixture of small colored tomatoes)

2-3 tablespoons of chopped green onions

1/4 cup of chopped parsley

1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1/8 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

2 tablespoons of crumbled feta cheese


Mix everything together in a large bowl and serve alongside the tuna. You can make the salsa ahead and refrigerate it until serving time.


What Can You Make With a Cheap Can of Tuna?  An Elegant Dinner in Your Air Fryer or Oven
What Can You Make With a Cheap Can of Tuna? An Elegant Dinner in Your Air Fryer or Oven

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