I Hate Tuna, but This Tuna Melt Is My New Favorite Dinner

It’s budget-friendly, too.



I am not a big fan of tuna. I never had a tuna salad sandwich in my lunchbox when I was a kid. I don’t put tuna on my salads for added protein or order tuna steak in restaurants. My creamy noodle casseroles include chicken, not tuna.

There is one exception to my no-tuna rule—a tuna melt. But not just any tuna melt. I only eat the Best Tuna Melt (New Jersey Diner Style), which I discovered on Allrecipes long before I wrote for this site. As a former New Jersey diner waitress (true story, I worked summers at a local diner in college), I first made this recipe for my family out of curiosity about 15 years ago. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

It had been a while since I made the broiled, open-faced sandwich, but I decided to make them for dinner last week and rediscovered just how good this tuna melt is.

What is a Tuna Melt?

A tuna melt is an open-faced sandwich with toast on the bottom, topped with tuna salad, tomato, and cheese, then broiled to melt and brown the cheese. It’s quick to make and budget-friendly. The sandwich doesn't have to be open-faced. Some people make them like a grilled cheese with tomato and tuna, but at a Jersey diner, tuna melts come open-faced.

Ingredients in the Best Tuna Melt

The ingredients in this tuna melt aren’t fancy, but when put together, they create a savory, quick supper that should be on rotation for nights when you need something quick and easy.

  • Canned tuna, drained: You can use tuna packed in water or oil.

  • Mayonnaise: Use a good mayo for the best flavor.

  • Chopped celery: Chop it tiny.

  • Chopped onion: Chop it tiny, too.

  • Chopped parsley: Don’t skip. It adds a freshness.

  • Red wine vinegar: Adds a bit of acidity to help the flavors pop.

  • Salt and pepper: Because salt and pepper.

  • Ripe tomato slices: This sandwich is the best in summer when tomatoes are at their ripest, but if you want one before slicing tomatoes are ready, try plum tomatoes, which seem to have better flavor off-season than slicing tomatoes do.

  • Seedless rye bread: Or whatever bread you’d like.

  • Swiss cheese slices: Buy extra if you like your tuna melt super cheesy.

  • Paprika: Optional, for garnish.

How to Make the Best Tuna Melt

This sandwich comes together fast, but if you want to make it even more quickly after a long day at work, you can whip up your tuna salad ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. In 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how long it takes the cheese to melt on the sandwich, you’ll have a tasty dinner.

  1. Make the tuna salad: Mix the tuna, mayo, celery, onion, parsley, vinegar, salt, and pepper together and set aside (or covered in the fridge).

  2. Toast the bread in the broiler of your oven.

  3. Remove the bread and top with tuna salad, a slice of cheese, tomato, and another slice of cheese.

  4. Broil until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle with paprika.

How the Allrecipes Community Makes This Tuna Melt Their Own

As delicious as this recipe is exactly as written, many of our Allrecipes members put their own spin on this diner-style tuna melt.

Bread: While rye bread is traditional, any bread works—whole grain, English muffins, focaccia, sourdough (which is what I used), oatmeal, and even broiled hamburger buns in a pinch. Member Amanda1982 suggests broiling the bread on both sides so one side doesn’t get soggy.

Extras: Amanda1982 also puts a bit of fresh, chopped garlic in her tuna melt. Judy LeMaster uses green onion instead of white onion. And STARDUST_331 adds a smear or two of Dijon mustard on the toasted bread.

Cheese: Some members change up the cheese. Cheddar is the choice of noseitch and several others, and sunnycook chooses provolone. Other suggestions include Muenster, pepper Jack, and American.

Construction: The award for most creative riff on this tuna melt goes to Micraman, who made it in the form of a wrap, spreading the tuna on a tortilla, adding cheese and tomato, rolling it up, and putting it in the air fryer at 300ºF for 5 minutes. Clearly, that takes it to a whole other place than a New Jersey diner, but it sounds good, doesn’t it?

The tomato plants in my garden are just starting to flower. It will be a while before I can use my own Jersey tomatoes for this Jersey-diner style tuna melt, but after making a tomato sandwich, this tuna melt is the next thing I”ll make with the flavorful slicing tomatoes that come out of my raised beds.

Read the original article on All Recipes.