Tuna Salad with Lentils: Theme and Variations

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Isn’t this a pretty salad?  Just looking at the photo makes me want to make and eat it all over again.   Our fresh avocados are especially buttery this time of year because they are high in oil content late in the season.  Creamy avocado and juicy red peppers in a tuna salad with lentils…that’s what I want for lunch!

It’s too hot to cook,  so I’ve been reinventing summer salads for our meals, adding colors and flavors to help us survive the blistering heat. We always have our hottest weather in September here at the ranch.   At the time when other folks are thinking about soup, pumpkins, and fall activities,   we are staying indoors and out of the 90-105 degree temperatures.  Of course, the farmers are still outside working to take care of the avocados, irrigating to keep the trees healthy and protect next years’ crop.

The baby avocados are getting larger and need their water.  If a  tree doesn’t have enough water, the leaves will begin to  turn brown and avocados will fall on the ground….not a good thing if we want to have avocados ready to eat  next spring!  Farmers monitor their trees carefully and plan each irrigation to use the optimal amount of water for the soil and the weather conditions.  Each tree has its own  micro-sprinkler and gets just enough water …water is very expensive and precious, so we   irrigate as efficiently as possible.

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This photo was taken early in the summer when the baby avocados were still quite small.

The air is cool and fresh in the early morning,  even though we have no fog from the ocean at this time of year.  It’s a good time  to put together a basic tuna salad and let it chill in the fridge until lunch time.

morning-light-avocado-grove When I was in school I used to mix tuna with some celery, onion, mayonnaise,  and lemon juice for my favorite  tuna salad sandwich.  Now I use lentils in the salad and do without the bread.

It’s a good idea to keep a can or two of  albacore tuna  in the pantry, and a package of Melissa’s steamed lentils in the fridge…low calories but high nutrition for a tasty tuna salad.  (I find the steamed lentils in the produce section of the grocery store.)

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When you have  this  Tuna Salad with Lentils all ready to go,   it’s fun and easy to  get creative at lunchtime.  Try these two variations:  one has chunks of fresh California avocado and crunchy red peppers and  the other variation uses  fresh sweet blueberries with thinly sliced California avocado.   Try adding other healthy colors or textures of your own.  Next time I might try some pistachios.  What would you add to your Tuna-Lentil Salad?

Tuna Lentil Salad Recipe

Ingredients

2 cans (7 oz.) albacore tuna packed in water, drained

1-2 stalks of celery, chopped

1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped

1/2 cup good mayonnaise

2-3 hard boiled eggs, chopped

1/2 tsp. lemon juice

1 cup  Melissa’s steamed lentils

all purpose seasoning, or a dash of  pepper

Directions

Open the cans of tuna, drain the water,  and place into a medium mixing bowl.  With a large spoon, lightly chop up the tuna.   Add the onion, celery, mayonnaise, eggs, lemon juice, and lentils.  Gently mix together.   Serve on baby romaine lettuce or other fresh greens.

Variations:

~Add chopped red pepper and chunks of fresh California avocado.

~Add fresh blueberries and sliced California avocado.

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Disclosure:  I did not receive compensation for this post.   We are California avocado growers and offer our fresh avocados for sale through California Avocados Direct, an online gift box and subscription website.  I bought the steamed lentils, but have received complimentary samples of Melissa’s products from time to time.  All opinions are my own.

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Mimi- The avocados on my dwarf tree are very large but I don’t know when to pick them.I pick two two weeks ago and they were barely ripe today. The tops were still hard.The avocado is large and green skin. Can you help me. Don Farrell—-thanks

    • Hi Don, If your avocados are this year’s crop, they probably aren’t ready to pick yet. They won’t soften at all until the oil content is high enough. The state of California will certify avocados as mature enough to harvest in December. The flavor will improve as the oil content gets higher, so you may want to wait until March or April to eat them. They will soften earlier, so try one at a time and see how they taste. That’s what we do! Just don’t pick them until late December. Hope this helps!

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