Tuna melts are a staple in our homes when we want a quick yet hearty meal on a busy weeknight or a lazy weekend day so naturally we’d want to share one here. But this is no ordinary tuna melt, it’s fun and fresh and loaded with melty cheese and creamy avocado. We topped these Tuna Melt Quesadillas with fresh pico de gallo but you can use your favorite salsa or even a generous splash of hot sauce will work in a pinch.
This post was created in partnership with Bumble Bee Seafoods.
A comfort food classic with a Mexican twist
Tuna melts are pretty straightforward. You spread your favorite tuna salad on a piece of bread, top it with cheese and pop it in the toaster oven or under the broiler until it’s warm and melty. Simple, satisfying, and delicious.
We’ve resisted the urge to share a tuna melt recipe here for a long time knowing that when it comes to tuna salad everyone’s idea of the perfect tuna salad – and thus tuna melt – is a little different. But when our friends at Bumble Bee Foods reached out to ask us to be part of a partnership highlighting their new sustainability initiatives – and their wildly delicious and incredibly versatile canned tuna, we knew that it was time to share a recipe for one of our comfort food favorites – but with a spicy little twist.
Enter Tuna Melt Quesadillas
That’s right, we went there. We combined the cheesy/crispy deliciousness of a quesadilla with the satisfying comfort of a tuna sandwich. It’s basically a two-for-one as far as healthier weeknight-approved comfort foods go.
Celebrate World Ocean’s Month with something delicious
In addition to sharing these fiercely delicious Tuna Melt Quesadillas today we want to highlight some of the sustainability initiatives The Bumble Bee Seafood Company is committing to:
In conjunction with World Ocean Month, Bumble Bee® recently announced new sustainability commitments, including allocating $40 million dollars over 5 years to programs that help protect our oceans like minimizing plastic waste, providing alternative seafood options, and encouraging sustainable fishing practices. These include:
- Good Catch/Plant-Based Foods Initiative: Providing alternative, sustainable ways for consumers to enjoy ocean-inspired food is a key pillar of the company’s long-term commitment to ocean health. Earlier this year, Bumble Bee became the first and only major seafood company to enter into the plant-based protein sector via a joint-venture with Good Catch Foods.
- Global Ghost Gear Initiative: Bumble Bee recently extended its partnership with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative to include a project in Indonesia to develop and deploy ocean-safe tracking mechanisms to find and collect lost and abandoned fishing equipment and to incentivize end-of-life use.
- Reducing Plastic Shrink: Bumble Bee is planning to eliminate the plastic shrink on its multi-packs this year through continued innovation, making its overall packaging nearly 95% recyclable in 2020 and expanding to 98% by 2025.
Since 1899, The Bumble Bee Seafood Company has been on a mission to show the world that there’s a Better Way to Seafood. For as long as we can remember, Bumble Bee® tuna has always been on our pantry shelves. And now as moms, we’re relying on the same quality and ingredients to feed our own families. Ounce for ounce tuna is lower in calories, fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol than even the leanest cuts of beef and chicken. So it’s a naturally healthy choice – and sustainable choice – and one we reach for regularly.
Ingredients for Tuna Melt Quesadillas
- Tuna – We prefer Bumble Bee® Solid White Albacore Tuna packed in water for this recipe but Chunk White Albacore or Chunk Light Tuna in water will also work well
- Celery – Feel free to omit or even increase the amount if you like a little extra crunch
- Onion – Yellow, white, red, or green will work so feel free to use what you have on hand
- Mayo – We use this mayo (or it’s egg-free counterpart)
- Fresh cilantro – Can be omitted or substitute dried cilantro in its place
- Lime juice – Adds a little zing to the tuna salad. If you’re prepping the salad ahead of time, leave out the lime juice to keep the salad from getting watery
- Cumin – What’s a Mexican-inspired dish without cumin?
- Garlic powder – Fresh garlic is lovely but when you need just a bit, garlic powder is the way to go
- Salt and Pepper
- Tortillas – We used corn tortillas but you can use your favorite kind
- Avocado – Leftover homemade or store-bought guacamole is a great option if you don’t have a ripe avocado on hand
- Shredded cheese – Any kind will work but we’re particularly fond of cheddar, Monterey jack, and Mexican blends
- Salsa or Pico de gallo – Use your favorite brand or substitute a splash of hot sauce
How to Make Tuna Melt Quesadillas
If you can make a tuna sandwich and a quesadilla, then you can make these. They’re simple and quick to make – so they’re perfect for busy weeknights or lazy weekends or getting your kids involved in the kitchen.
First, prepare the tuna salad. We’ve added fresh lime juice, cilantro, and cumin to this one to give it a bit more flavor but by all means, use your favorite recipe or feel free to use prepared tuna salad from the deli or salad bar as a shortcut.
Next, you’ll layer half of the tortillas with shredded cheese and mashed avocado, tuna salad, then more cheese before topping if off with another tortilla and cooking it in a hot skillet until the tortillas are lightly brown and crispy and the everything in between is warm and gooey.
Finally, top with your favorite salsa or pico de gallo – or a generous splash of hot sauce – before serving. A simple side of fresh vegetables is always a good choice and one that requires next to no preparation so you can get in and out of the kitchen fast while still enjoying a satisfying meal.
How to Make Tuna Melt Quesadillas Meal Prep-Friendly
While these only take about 20 minutes to make you can save even more time by prepping ahead. Here’s what you can do now to save time later:
- Make the tuna salad (omitting the lime juice until you’re ready to make the quesadillas, then you can stir it in – or skip it and serve the quesadillas with fresh lime wedges instead)
- Shred the cheese – If you bought block cheese rather than shredded cheese, now is a good time to shred it, measuring out what you’ll need and storing it in the fridge until ready to use.
Then all you have to do is assemble the quesadillas while you wait for the skillet or griddle to heat. And maybe make a salad or round up some veggies from the crisper to enjoy alongside your Tuna Melt Quesadillas.
For the Tuna Salad:
- 2 (5-ounce) cans Bumblebee Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water, drained
- 1 stalk celery, finely minced
- 2 Tbsp. finely minced onion
- 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
- ¼ tsp. ground cumin
- Juice of ½ lime
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Quesadillas:
- 8 corn tortillas (may substitute grain-free tortillas, if desired)
- 4 ounces (1 cup) shredded cheese of choice (such as cheddar, pepper jack, Mexican blend, etc.)
- 1 large avocado, mashed
- 1 cup pico de gallo (or salsa of choice)
- Cooking spray, optional
- Prepare tuna salad by combining drained tuna through lime juice in a bowl. Mix with a fork to combine. Set aside.
- Place a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, lightly spray with cooking spray, if desired.
- To assemble quesadillas, sprinkle ½ of the shredded cheese over 4 tortillas.
- Using a small spoon or fork, dot each of the 4 tortillas with some of the mashed avocado then use the back of the spoon (or fork) to gently spread it without making too much a fuss about it.
- Divide the tuna salad mixture evenly between the tortillas and sprinkle with remaining cheese before topping with remaining tortillas.
- Place the quesadilla into the hot skillet (you may have to do just one or two at a time depending on the size of your pan) and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the cheese starts to melt.
- To flip the quesadilla, slip a spatula under the bottom then place your hand on top of the quesadilla to hold the top tortilla and the illing in place while you flip it to the other side.
- Continue cooking an additional 3-4 minutes until the cheese is melted, the tuna salad is heated through and the tortilla is lightly browned.
- Remove quesadilla to a cutting board and allow it to cool for a few minutes before slicing with a large knife. Top with pico de gallo or salsa of choice before serving.
- Serving Size: 1 quesadilla with ¼ cup pico
- Calories: 466
- Sugar: 3g
- Sodium: 530mg
- Fat: 27g
- Saturated Fat: 9g
- Carbohydrates: 28g
- Fiber: 6g
- Protein: 28g
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This post was made possible by our friends at Bumble Bee Seafoods. Although we received compensation for this post, the opinions expressed here are – as always – 100% our own. Thank you for supporting the great companies we work with thereby allowing us to continue creating great recipes and content for you
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About Jessica Beacom
Jessica is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Boulder, CO with her hubby and two daughters. She’s been described as a ‘real food evangelist’ and loves sharing her knowledge with others to help them break free of the diet mentality and find their own food freedom. In her spare time she enjoys CrossFit, telemark skiing, mountain biking, teaching herself how to play the banjo and camping out under the stars.