The $1.79 Trader Joe's Pantry Staple I Never Leave the Store Without|Recipes Spots

  • on October 23, 2023
The $1.79 Trader Joe's Pantry Staple I Never Leave the Store Without

Trader Joe's storefront with a yellow circle illustration over the logo
Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham / Trader Joe’s

I love me a tuna fish sandwich. I’m pretty sure it goes all the way back to when my mom was pregnant with me—that was her pregnancy food du jour.

That said, I’m pretty particular about my tuna fish. I’m one of those people who reads the fine print on labels, and pretty much every major tuna fish brand and grocery store brand contains one ingredient that turns me off: vegetable broth.

In my opinion, a can of tuna should have tuna, water, and salt. That’s it. Vegetable broth is added to mask fishy flavors and make it taste milder. Though I’m not allergic to soy, tomatoes, or garlic, often part of the broth, I don’t want those extra ingredients or flavors in my tuna.

Fortunately, I found a tasty—and inexpensive—solution: Trader Joe’s Skipjack Tuna.

Trader Joe's Wild Skipjack Tuna packet with a yellow and peach color blob background
Simply Recipes / Photo Illustration by Sarah Crowder / Trader Joe’s

Why I Love Trader Joe’s Skipjack Tuna

TJ’s tuna fish costs $1.79 for a 3-ounce pouch and tastes delicious. It’s got a mild, meaty taste with a very light aroma. To catch a whiff, you really have to put your nose up to the open pouch. The tuna comes out in nice chunks and flakes, which makes it perfect for mixing into your favorite tuna recipes.

In fact, this is the tuna fish I use for all of my tuna fish salads. And I always keep a couple of packs in the pantry since it makes a great last-minute lunch or snack.

Classic Tuna Salad Sandwich on a Plate with a Side Salad
Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

How to Use Trader Joe’s Skipjack Tuna

TJ’s tuna fish is incredibly versatile. I tend to use it for tuna fish salads, and it works for all variations. One pack is enough to feed two people.

I mix up a base of mayo, Dijon mustard, celery seed, onion powder, and a touch of honey, but I sometimes add fresh dill or chives and occasionally a dash of Spanish paprika. I mix in diced onions and chopped celery, and I love, love, love adding just a bit of diced red bell pepper.  

Sometimes I’ll add dried cherries or cranberries to emulate a prepared tuna salad I like from Whole Foods, and some slivered almonds for extra crunch. You can serve it simply over greens for a lighter lunch or as a sandwich or wrap.

If it’s cold out, I take it to the next level with a tuna melt. I put the tuna fish salad onto toasted bread, layer on lettuce, sliced tomatoes, a slice of cheese, and a sprinkle of more Spanish paprika. Stick it under a broiler until it’s gooey and melted.

Other Delicious Ways to Use Tuna Fish

If I’m making a tuna fish pasta salad, I’ll also add peas. For an extra touch of the Mediterranean, I’ll add some diced kalamata olives, too. I’ve even used it in a quick salad Niçoise with olives, potatoes, and green beans with an easy French vinaigrette of red wine vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. 

This is also great tuna fish to toss into a tuna fish casserole, but if I’m lazy, I’ll make a quick tuna pasta by tossing it into cooked pasta with peas, onions, a dash of sour cream, and seasonings.

Use Trader Joe’s Skipjack Tuna to make these recipes:

  • Tuna Salad Sandwich
  • Tuna Macaroni Salad
  • Tuna Patties
  • Tuna Pasta with Tomatoes and Olives
  • Tuna Burgers with Dill Olive Mayo
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