There’s nothing quite like fresh tuna lightly seared with minimal seasoning, so you can taste the full flavor of your hard-earned catch. With such an expensive fish, you may be thinking that it’s a waste to smother it in some sort of sauce—until you try it for yourself.
When you marinate a tuna, you’ll bring out the best aspects of the fish. It’s just like marinating a steak, but arguably better because of the tuna’s smooth texture.
Grilling tuna steaks is one of the most traditional and delicious ways to prepare them. The grill gives the meat a smoky flavor and adds a crisp outer layer. In this recipe, ginger and lime add peppery, sharp and slightly sweet flavors to the tuna without overpowering it. Whether you’re cooking albacore, bluefin, skipjack or yellowfin, this seared tuna steak recipe will make your mouth water.
This tuna recipe is intended for six portions of fish and works with all tuna species. If you have large tuna steaks, you may cut them into six pieces. If you have fewer steaks, simply decrease the portions of other ingredients you use.
6 portions of tuna steak – cleaned, scaled and de-boned
2 to 3 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons of olive oil or avocado oil
2 teaspoons of minced ginger root
2 to 4 cloves of minced garlic
¼ cup of cilantro, finely chopped
Lime wedges for garnish
Red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste
Mix together the lime juice, oil, ginger root, garlic, cilantro and seasonings.
Place the raw tuna steaks into a shallow dish or plastic storage bag and pour the mixture on top. Cover the dish or close the bag and allow the fish to marinate in the refrigerator. Be sure to turn the fish once. Marinate for at least one hour, but do not leave the fish in there for more than a day.
Prepare your grill by heating the coals or starting the gas and lightly oiling the grill grate. Place the fish on the grill and cover.
Turn the steaks once during a period of 11 to 15 minutes and brush them 2 to 3 times with the remaining marinade mixture. The tuna is ready when you can place a fork in the thickest part of the fish and twist it, so that the fish flakes easily. However, the degree of doneness is up to your personal preference.
Remove the steaks from the grill and season them with salt and pepper to taste.
Discard any unused marinade. While you may want to save the tasty sauce for later, it can grow harmful bacteria from housing raw fish, especially if it is not cooked with the rest of the tuna.
Want more ideas?
Check out our free guide on other flavor-packed fish recipes to get the most out of your meals!
If you are looking for another easy tuna steak recipe, check out these other marinades that you can prepare at home. These sauces are generally easy to make, inexpensive and not overpowering. For instance, you may try a lemon and thyme marinade, an orange and soy sauce mixture or a grilled wine and herb aioli.
If marinade isn’t your thing, you may also opt for a topper. Avocado salsa, mango salsa, black bean salsa and cucumber-pickled ginger relish are just a few of the fresh toppings that pair well with seared tuna.
It’s also important to mention that your grilling method may alter the flavor. For instance, grilling on cedar plank will give your tuna an aromatic wood flavor. Be careful about grilling on wood for too long, because the fish may absorb too much of the flavor and become bitter or overwhelming. In addition, use caution when choosing your wood.
For instance, white cedar, Alaskan yellow cedar and Atlantic cedar are all safe to use on a grill. Eastern red cedar and western juniper, however, are not. If you want to buy a grilling plank, look for one that has been kiln-dried, oiled with a vegetable-based lubricant and does not have any bark left on it.
What are the best side dishes for fresh tuna recipes? You can’t go wrong with rice pilaf or fluffy quinoa. For vegetable dishes, we recommend asparagus, grilled or baked in the oven with olive oil, lemon and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. You may also try out some vegetarian shish kebabs jam-packed with onion, zucchini, bell peppers and other sturdy vegetables.
For a lighter fare, try a salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, mint, lemon juice, olive oil and feta cheese. For a hefty filler, you can easily make some garlic bread on the grill or in the oven, or loaded baked potatoes. With side dishes, the world is your oyster.
Tuna Salad Recipes
You may also be interested in tuna recipes for salad. If you have extra tuna from the night before (which is probably a very rare occurrence), creating a salad is a delicious way to turn leftovers into a brand new meal.
What’s more likely is that you have a couple of cans of tuna in your pantry, and you need to find a way to use them. Fortunately, fresh tuna and canned tuna both work for these recipes.
Our first recipe recommendation for salads is the tuna salad niçoise. The niçoise salad is a healthy tuna salad recipe designed to keep you full. It’s characterized by small red potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, green beans, cherry tomatoes, anchovies and capers. The vinaigrette is a delicious mix of garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, parsley, tarragon and olive oil. Topped with seared tuna or canned tuna, this meal is packed with nutrition and flavor.
If you want to make a delectable side dish out of canned fish, we recommend a healthy tuna pasta salad filled with veggies and Greek yogurt, which replaces some of the mayonnaise you may normally use. Your main ingredients include freshly cooked noodles (pick your favorite shape!), chopped celery, onions, fresh peas and canned tuna. For extra flavor, try adding dried dill and other light seasonings.
If you’re craving more flavor, try a curried tuna macaroni salad instead. The main ingredients are the same, with the addition of golden raisins, cilantro and curry powder. You can also make these into healthy lettuce wraps in place of traditional sandwiches. This twist on a classic tuna salad recipe is sure to tickle your taste buds.