These sesame ginger tuna lettuce cups require no-cooking and are perfect for lunch. Sweet, tangy, and a little spicy, this easy recipe is ready in just 10 minutes!
This post is sponsored by Bumble Bee® Seafoods.
This Asian-inspired tuna recipe is bursting with fresh garlic and ginger, tangy lime juice, and crushed red pepper flakes for bold flavor.
If you’re experiencing the September slam (like me) and wondering how you’ll get everything done, breathe easy. This is a healthy lunch recipe to keep in your back pocket for busy days.
What you’ll need
Bumble Bee® Wild Caught Albacore Tuna in Water Pouch
Butter or Boston Lettuce or similar
Fresh lime juice
Toasted sesame oil
Sesame oil (or another neutral oil)
Coconut aminos or soy sauce
Red pepper flakes
Sliced green onions (optional)
I know. That is a long list of ingredients. But I promise it comes together quickly.
The dressing adds lots of flavor, so I do recommend adding each ingredient to your shopping list. And using canned or pouch tuna makes this an easy meal – ready in under 10 minutes!
Tips for the best lettuce cups
This is a simple recipe but taking a few important steps helps build flavor.
Whip up the homemade ginger dressing. You may be tempted to just buy a bottle of dressing. (At which point you’ll have a 2-minute meal.) But the fresh garlic, ginger and lime juice really make a difference. So, I recommend taking the time to make the ginger dressing fresh.
Toast the sesame seeds. This adds an additional layer of flavor and crunch. To easily toast sesame seeds, add the seeds to a dry skillet. Heat over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally until the seeds are golden brown and fragrant.
Add some crunch. I’m using shredded carrots and sesame seeds.
Use the freshest lettuce. Keep your lettuce in the fridge until you’re ready to serve to ensure it’s as crisp as possible. The longer it’s out at room temperature the more it wilts.
Choose a good protein. This recipe was inspired by the popular tofu or chicken lettuce cups I’ve had at various Asian fusion restaurants. So, I thought, why not make it with tuna?
I am using Bumble Bee® Wild-caught Albacore Tuna in Water Pouch in this recipe. I regularly eat tuna for lunch but decided to go beyond my usual tuna salad with crackers. I personally love the pouches. Mainly because it means I don’t have to hunt for the can opener!
Like I mentioned in my Salmon Orzo Salad last month, I keep tuna in the pantry. It’s one of my favorite ways to fit in quick and easy protein during the day and also when I’m traveling – or when I USED to travel!
This recipe is the second in my partnership with Bumble Bee® Seafoods. I’ve enjoyed working with them for a few reasons.
Bumble Bee® has been on a mission to show the world that there’s a Better Way to Seafood. The company recently announced new sustainability commitments, including allocating $40 million over five years to causes that help protect our oceans like minimizing plastic waste, providing alternative seafood options, and encouraging sustainable fishing practices.
In fact, the company is innovating to eliminate plastic shrink on its multipacks this year, making its overall packaging nearly 95% recyclable in 2020 and expanding to 98% by 2025!
Good food is important but I like to support companies that are also committed to sustainability.
You can learn more at www.BumbleBee.com.
Now back to the recipe…
What goes well with lettuce cups?
You can enjoy a few lettuce cups solo – as a handheld salad or an appetizer.
To add more bulk to the meal or if you know you’ll still be hungry, add some rice noodles to the mix. You can double the dressing and toss in a cup of cooked rice noodles before adding the tuna. This will make for a heartier meal suitable for dinner or lunch.
You can also add in other vegetables such as cooked green beans, water chestnuts, or chopped cabbage. As always, I like to share lots of ways to make these your own.
These lettuce cups are ideal for workday lunches or school lunch breaks. If you’ll be taking them with you to work or school, be sure to package the dressed tuna separate from the (dry) lettuce cups.
How long does this tuna recipe last?
You can mix the tuna and dressing and keep it in the fridge at least 3 days ahead of time.
Once you add the tuna to the lettuce cups, I recommend eating it right away. The dressing will start to break down the lettuce cups the longer they are together.
You’ll also get to enjoy the full crunch of the carrots this way too.
The dressing has lots of ingredients for that sweet and tangy balance. But you can use what you have in your pantry.
- I recommend using fresh grated garlic and ginger if at all possible. Those flavors go a long way. But if you don’t have them fresh, it’s OK to use garlic or ginger powder in a pinch.
- If you don’t have a fresh lime, feel free to use rice vinegar (unseasoned).
- No red pepper flakes or simply prefer sriracha or hot sauce? Use that.
- Use the same amount of soy sauce or tamari as coconut aminos. I used coconut aminos here for a little umami while keeping this recipe soy-free. But either will work. Be sure to taste the dressing before adding the tuna and adjust the salt if needed as the sodium levels for these can vary.
- No sesame seeds? Use sliced almonds or peanuts.
Sesame Ginger Tuna Lettuce Cups
For the dressing
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame or other neutral-tasting oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
- 1½ inch ginger, peeled and grated
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 (2.5 oz.) Bumble Bee® Wild Caught Albacore Tuna in Water pouches
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 6-8 lettuce cups (Bibb, Butter, or Boston Lettuce work well)
- 2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds*
- Sliced green onions, optional but recommended
- Whisk the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl until blended.
- Press any excess liquid from the tuna. Add the tuna and shredded carrots to the dressing. Toss to coat.
- Place the lettuce cups on a platter or plate. Stuff each lettuce leaf with equal amounts of the ginger dressed tuna. Top with toasted sesame seeds and green onions.Serve immediately.