Great Grandma Mimi's Tuna Salad Recipe

My grown son is now in his own condo and this collection of recipes I called, Dearest Michael were written when he was younger as you will see by my references, as a gift to him for this very moment. 

Whether you read them for the story or the recipe, know that they were written as a tribute to the many people who have influenced my kitchen, my cooking and my notion of family.


It is getting to be beach and picnic season at last in Rhode Island. The teaser of this past week's April surprise summer weather made me think it was time to pull out some beach and picnic recipes. If you aren't a beach person, then a picnic any time of day is always a great joy. This tuna salad recipe is easy and delicious. I hope it becomes a staple in your family too.

I feel like Tuna Salad is a family staple that has a special combination of ingredients that just can’t be screwed around with.

Tuna Salad recipes are pretty close to the hearts of the people who enjoy them.

From the type of tuna, and mayonnaise you use to the extra items added, Tuna Salad sandwiches have that perfect combination based on how and what you grew up with.

For my son, he never liked tuna sandwiches, but I do. They are a definite beach sandwich and I love to have a bowl made in my fridge for a quick few bites when I am in a hurry.

I was lucky to have a Great Grandmother for a good part of my life, and I would often visit her when she was at the family house in Maine, up from her place in Florida in the summers.

It was here she gave me the interesting idea of adding chopped apple to the tuna and I have added it to my tuna salads since.

When I asked a few of my family members about this recipe, none of them recalled it, perhaps it was just a fluke thing that my Grandma Mimi showed me. Her generation was very clever in their ways to make more out of less when it came to recipes.

I also use the Italian tuna in olive oil. I think it gives the salad way more flavor and because it is so great to have in the fridge, I always make two cans. You could cut this recipe in half if you want too.

*Because I make some product recommendations in my blogs, I may get a small commission as an affiliate and or an Amazon affiliate. Anything I recommend I personally use. I want to make it easier to shop for items you may not have, need to replace-- or if you are a lover of all things kitchen like me, just want to add to your collection.

Great Grandma Mimi's Tuna Salad

Beach season started early this past week in Little Rhody and it got me thinking about the joys of summer and making great sandwiches for the beach and picnics. This easy tuna salad is a yummy recipe for 2 slices of bread or a nice container and a fork. Enjoy!

older elegant attractive woman sitting in a summer dress

Prep Time: Less than 10 minutes


  • 2 cans of drained Italian tuna in olive oil
  • 1/2 -1 honey crisp apple (or another type of apple with a sweet and tart vibe) chopped in small pieces. (I never peel them, but peel if you want)
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced fine
  • A dill pickle spear, chopped well (optional)
  • 2-3 generous T. or more of Hellman’s Mayonnaise (Unless you are making your own, I haven’t found any mayonnaise to be as good as Hellmans)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon


  • Lightly drain the tuna leaving a little oil in there to keep it wet
  • Add the tuna to the bowl and place all the remaining ingredients on top of tuna and mix well.


  • This can become a base for so much. Add a can of drained white beans or chick peas for some extra hardiness and serve in a bowl instead of a sandwich.
  • Scallions or diced red onion are nice too.
  • I find this tuna salad tastes better after it sits in the fridge for a few hours, but not necessary.
  • If apples are too weird as an addition for your tuna salad, try slicing them thin and adding them on top of the tuna in your sandwich, it is a way to sort of try before you make the commitment.

Happy Beach Season!


This tuna recipe has prompted my picnic and beach brain so I am including some fun items to make for a lovely day outside whether solo, with friends or family.

Italian tuna with oilve oil. Seabra, Clements, BJ's all carry this.

My mother always had cloth napkins on our tables growing up, I still use cloth and I even bring cloth napkins to the beach. I found these 100% cotton lightweight napkins and fell in love. Try it if you don't already, your lunch will taste happier.

I never have enough glass pyrex with tops, so what is great about this set is the varying sizes and the bright happy tops. Make the tuna in one of these and cover the extra for later.

This sweet little bowls with covers are perfect if you want to carry the tuna with you instead of making a sandwich out of it.

I love my Yeti bag, but if the price makes you roll your eyes at the idea, this is a great cooler, nice long shoulder strap and easy to fill with all things beach or picnic.

This just may be the year I splurge on a lounge chair instead of a traditional beach chair. This one looks almost like one of our massage tables! I will let you know if I decide to get this as a replacement for my Tommy Bahama chair.

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