When I was little, my dad used to make us tuna melts on the weekends. It wasn’t a lunchbox type of lunch because we couldn’t reheat at school (and let’s be honest, the melty cheese is the best part), but on the weekends? You better believe my brother and I were asking for tuna melts.
I have this weird thing about food sometimes where I like to eat it in an organized way. Waffles, for example, I always cut in the same way. They have little squares so I know exactly where to cut to get the perfect bite.
I’m also a color eater. When I used to eat Skittles or M&M’s or even tricolor tortellinis, I always used to eat them in color code order: least favorite to most favorite.
It’s bizarre, yes. But there’s something about the organization that I like.
And I do the same with tuna melts.
We’d have our tuna melts on a whole grain piece of bread with Vermont extra sharp cheddar cheese on top, cut into quarters. Each little square would last four bites. And each bite was the perfect blend of bread, tuna salad and cheese.
It was (and actually still is) the ultimate lunch.
Strangely, I don’t feel like seafood and cheese inherently go together. I suppose sometimes in pasta dishes you’ll have shellfish in a cream sauce, or you’ll make this smoked salmon and goat cheese spread, but cheese by itself with fish? Not really a great combo.
Tuna melts being the one exception to that rule.
When you combine tuna salad with melted cheese, it turns into this magical sandwich that is like nothing else. Not even chicken salad with melted cheese is quite as good (in my humble opinion at least).
But I didn’t want to just give you any old tuna melt today. You’re special and deserve something a little more classy I wanted this recipe to be different. I wanted it to be an elevated, more elegant version. Something that reminded me of my dad’s tuna melts from years ago, but would be worthy of serving at a lunch party (any derby folks out there? this could work!).
And my one stipulation? It had to contain quinoa, of course.
I started with the base. It could just be a slice of my high-protein quinoa bread, but that seemed a bit too traditional. I settled on portobello mushrooms because I knew that their flavor wouldn’t overpower the sandwich, but they’d be substantial enough to make it feel like a full lunch.
The filling is just regular old tuna salad, with a little quinoa twist. Wild-caught canned tuna, mixed with diced celery, dijon mustard, organic mayo and quinoa. We added a sliced tomato on top for added flair, but isn’t necessary if you aren’t a tomato-on-you-sandwich type person.
And then there was the cheese. I went the goat cheddar route (which you can find at most cheese shops), but this could easily be made with regular cheddar, monterey jack, swiss, or even vegan cheese. As long as its melty!
What resulted was simplistic perfection. Meaning that it only takes a few ingredients to transform this traditional (and a little boring) sandwich into a meal that’s delicious, filling, healthy, and seemingly fancy too
Oh yeah, and it could not be easier to make. Just check out the picture above! (don’t forget to pin it so you have this recipe on hand whenever you want!) And comes together in only 10 minutes.
- 2 portobello caps
- 1 can wild-caught tuna
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
- 2 tablespoons organic mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 slices tomato (optional)
- 1 cup shredded cheese of choice
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Scrape out gills from mushroom caps and set aside.
- Mix together tuna, celery, quinoa, mayonnaise and mustard. Season with salt and pepper.
- Split tuna salad between two mushrooms. Top with tomato (if using) and cheese.
- Broil for 3 - 5 minutes until cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.
- Serve immediately.