Skip The Mayo In Tuna Salad While Adding Big Flavor With Pepperoncinis

Tuna salad is a popular and delicious lunch option, whether packed between two slices of rye, mounded on top of a bed of arugula, or tucked into crisp lettuce wraps. As part of your lunchtime rotation, tuna salad can help break up the monotony of ham and cheese sandwiches and turkey wraps, delivering a litany of vitamins and minerals such as vitamins D, B6, fatty acids, and iron and helping reduce the risks of heart disease and cancer, per Healthline. But sometimes you crave something more flavorful with a little less mayo and a bit more "Hey-O!"

Zesty pepperoncini peppers have entered the chat. While there are many great ways to bind your tuna salad together sans mayo, there's one zippy flavor-packed recipe that stands the test of time, the nearly 20-year-old Tuna Salad Composée recipe from The New York Times, which includes the aforementioned peppers and the richness of olive oil for a tasty take on tuna salad that banishes basic fish sandwiches and gives you the kind of tangy tuna-tastic experience that will leave you wanting more.

Typical mayo-based tuna salad can feel a bit heavy, gloppy, and tired, not to mention all the mayo-haters out there. And mayo-based salads bring with them safe food handling issues as well. That's why having an alternative recipe that eschews boring old mayo in favor of a little flavor can be the key to enlivening your tuna and keeping things light and fresh.

How to upgrade tuna salad with pepperoncinis

This hold-the-mayo twist on tuna uses a mixture of olive oil, two kinds of mustard (dijon and whole-grain), balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice in place of mayonnaise. And, you can use the olive oil your tuna is packed in or drain your tuna (whatever it's packed in) and use bottled olive oil for greater control over just how oily (and salty) your salad is.

The recipe calls for six de-stemmed pepperoncini peppers, julienned and mixed right in with the tuna, oil, and other seasonings, providing enough tangy zing to give tip-of-your-tongue-tingle. But there's room to play here. For those seeking more variety, there's the option of kicking up the heat a notch or two, subbing in other flavorful peppers from mild sweet cherry and banana peppers to pickled hot cherry, serrano, and jalapeño peppers.

Other mayo-free variations include a simple Mediterranean tuna salad that's even more stripped down (using just olive oil and lemon juice), a Greek yogurt swap that can provide a creamy base without all the heaviness, or you can replace mayo with mashed avocado, cilantro, and lime juice for a vibrantly green and lusciously nutritious tuna salad.