On my continuing quest to stick to a healthier eating plan after Whole30 (the 30-day clean eating program that prohibits dairy, alcohol, processed sugars, legumes and grains), today I’m going to share these Whole30 Safe Catch tuna cucumber cups, which I made recently while trying to figure out an easy way to incorporate more protein into our diet. Whole30, as I’ve mentioned before, requires a lot of extra planning and time spent in the kitchen, even for someone like myself who cooks every single day. Before Whole30, I previously shunned canned tuna, since it doesn’t really fit into my philosophy of trying to make everything fresh and from scratch, but hey, when I’m not eating carbs, dairy, or sugar and being my normal fat, happy self, something had to give. The give was in the form of canned tuna, and I quickly found that making these Whole30 Safe Catch tuna cucumber cups was a good,crunchy way to keep my hungry tummy satisfied.
The makers of Safe Catch sent me a few cans of their wild skipjack and wild albacore tuna to try. Safe Catch is tested for mercury and is made of sustainably-caught tuna. Before Safe Catch, I didn’t know that there’s basically a little bit of mercury in all types of fish, and there’s even a wide variation in mercury levels in fish of the same species. Who knew? (Cue the More You Know rainbow.) Before I even started messing around with various recipes using this tuna, I tasted both the wild skipjack and the albacore tuna plain, straight out of the can. The skipjack tuna was light-colored, although not as pure white as the albacore, and had a more intense tuna flavor than the albacore, which, honestly, tasted like dry plain white chicken breast. I think that’s probably why people like it, but I much preferred the briny fishiness of the wild skipjack. Safe Catch’s wild skipjack is also nearly a dollar cheaper per can than its wild albacore. Generally, though, both types of tuna didn’t taste drastically different than the canned tuna I usually buy, but I did take comfort in knowing that I was tasting sustainably-caught tuna with minimal mercury levels.
The wild skipjack tuna makes a great tuna salad, which I loaded up with chopped red bell peppers, celery, homemade mayo (you have to make your own on Whole30, but I promise it’s easy), mustard and salt and pepper. I love red bell pepper and paprika in my tuna for added color and a light sweetness.
Also, you should note that the cucumber cups you see here are actually much larger than the ones I ultimately used when I served them to friends. I liked the height of the cups when I was taking photos, but after I tasted one with this giant cup, the cucumber completely overshadowed the tuna. In the recipe below, I recommend slicing the cucumber into 1/2-inch disks, which lends to a much better tuna-to-cucumber ratio.
Then again, if we’re talking about little, stumpy cucumbers, then maybe I should be calling them tuna cucumber rafts and not cups, eh?
- 2 cans Safe Catch wild skipjack or albacore tuna, drained
- 1 seedless English cucumber
- 2 tablespoons bell pepper, minced
- 1 stalk celery, minced
- ⅓ cup Whole30 compliant mayo
- 2 tablespoons mustard
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel the cucumber, leaving about ½ inch between peels so that the cucumber skin stays on in alternating stripes. Cut off both ends of the cucumber, then slice into ½-inch thick chunks. Scoop out the center of each slice so that there's a little divot for the tuna salad. Put on a plate and set aside.
- Using a spatula, empty tuna into a medium sized bowl and break up any large chunks. Add mustard and mayo and toss to thoroughly coat tuna. Add celery, bell pepper and paprika and mix well.
- Spoon a heaping tablespoon on top of each cucumber slice. Refrigerate any leftover tuna salad and serve cucumber cups immediately. Cucumber cups can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight, but you may have to drain the plate in the morning, as the cucumber will release moisture overnight.