Canned Food Month Recipe: Tuna Quinoa Boats


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Canned tuna is one of the most requested items by our clients.  Today’s recipe is inspired by our clients' desire to enjoy something new and interesting with tuna beyond the sandwich or noodle casserole.  The great part about this recipe is that it’s also kid-friendly.  Parents can create the tuna mix beforehand and have their children put the tuna into the boats.

Angela Henry, CHOICES Nutrition Education Manager shares how this recipe provides a tasty and satisfying lunch or snack without sacrificing nutrition. “A serving of red bell pepper has more vitamin C than an orange,  which is very important for a healthy immune system! We also wanted to highlight a lesser-known grain (technically a seed) like quinoa, a good source of fiber and protein.”

Recipes like this are featured in the CHOICES Nutrition Education classes, available to low-income Central Texans throughout the year.

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Tuna-Quinoa Boats

Prep time: 20 minutes
Serving size:
 ½ cup                                               Serves: 8


1 cup cooked quinoa, at room temperature or chilled*
½ cup red onion, minced
½ cup green bell pepper, diced
½ cup cucumber, peeled, seeded or diced
½ cup celery, diced
1 (6-ounce) can tuna, drained and separated
¼ cup low-fat mayonnaise
¼ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup cilantro or parsley, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
4 yellow, orange or red bell peppers cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed**


  1. Boil 1¼ cup water, add quinoa, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, onion, bell pepper, cucumber, celery, tuna, mayonnaise, yogurt, and lemon juice.

  3. Season with salt and pepper and stir well to combine.

  4. Divide salad among the bell pepper halves.

* To cook quinoa, boil 1¼ cup water. Add 1 cup quinoa, cover and lower heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes covered. Set aside to cool.

**For softer texture, parboil pepper halves in boiling water for two minutes. Removed and chill.

Nutrition Information per Serving:
Calories 114, Total Fat 1.2g, Carbohydrates 16g, Fiber 2.5g, Protein 5.3g, Sodium 283mg, Cholesterol 4.3mg

Adapted from:  Healthy Lunch Time Challenge Cookbook

Recipe modified by CHOICES Nutrition Education Program

Funding is provided in part by the USDA's SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education).

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