A variety of tuna types make great meals for cruisers.
Amanda gathers various fishy provisions in Brisbane.

Tuna Makes Great Cruising Cuisine

Recently in Brisbane, Australia, I took stock of my canned tuna provisions and discovered that I had eight brands from seven countries. Tuna is high-protein, a superb source of vitamin B, selenium, and Omega-3s fatty acids. It’s my proven staple to create hearty salads for healthy dinners (next to chopped canned tomatoes and peanut butter) so I wouldn’t leave port without it. Growing up as a “fish on Fridays” Kiwi kid out cruising the Pacific with no refrigeration, a can of tuna was just that…a can of tuna. Now days there’s more to consider.

Globally canned tuna is budget-friendly but when I’m facing a purchase I check the label to try and choose a responsibly-caught option, although when provisioning in small countries the choices of canned tuna are often limited. Skipjack (aka light), albacore (aka white), and yellowfin are the most common types of canned tuna, but bycatch and overfishing happen regardless of the tuna species. Don’t pay much attention to “wild-caught” or “dolphin-safe,” your best choice is canned tuna that was caught one fish at a time, by either pole-and-line or pole-and-troll, thus not swept up en masse in nets with other marine life. There are also concerns over the mercury levels in tuna. Industrial activity and natural occurrences, such as volcanic eruptions, emit mercury into the atmosphere and into the oceans which builds up in marine life, therefore large tuna should be eaten in moderation.

How your canned tuna is packed is your next decision as this concerns the Omega-3 content. Ideally you want to choose a gourmet brand with the tuna packed in cans, nothing added except a pinch of salt, then sealed and cooked only once. Most brands used older tuna that is cooked twice to make easier to pack but unfortunately this process loses most of the Omega-3s. When tuna is packed in oil, fat is fat soluble meaning that all the good fish fats will leech away into the oil. Therefore you’re best choosing a high quality olive oil packed tuna and then utilize the oil in your recipe. Brine packed tuna is salty so it’s best to rinse the tuna to avoid a high sodium intake. Tuna packed in spring water is a reasonably priced, healthy option.

Essentially canned tuna is good for you, incredibly versatile and these recipes will WOW your crew ensuring you add a humble can of tuna to your provisions.


Farro is an ancient grain whose nutty flavor and chewy texture adds a pleasant and filling element to a classic French salad.

8 oz green beans – cut into 1″ pieces

1 cup cooked farro 

1 yellow pepper – diced

1 stalk celery –  diced

½ cup red onion – diced

½ cup kalamata olives – chopped

½ cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil – sliced 

2 tablespoons capers

1 10oz jar artichokes – chopped

2 7oz cans tuna

6 hard-boiled eggs – halved

for the dressing

1 lemon – zested and juiced

1 shallot – minced

2 tablespoons fresh tarragon chopped

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

In a large bowl combine bell pepper, celery, onion, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, artichokes and tuna. In a small bowl add dressing ingredients and whisk together. Combine farro, vegetables and dressing. Serve garnished with eggs. Serves 6.

Amanda's Tuna Cakes Described in the Recipe Below
Savory and protein packed!


A convenient way to use up leftover potatoes, these fish cakes makes hearty lunch or light dinner.

7oz can tuna – drained

2 cups mashed potatoes

1 red capsicum – roasted and diced

1 egg

3 tablespoons flour

3 chives – diced

3 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper

In a bowl combine capsicum and potato. Add egg, flour, chives and tuna. Season and shape into four large potato cakes. Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan over a medium heat, add the cakes and cook for eight or so minutes, turning once until warm and golden.


Packed with protein, vegies and prebiotics this salad is full of all the healthy stuff our bodies need.

½ cup cooked French lentils

1 medium carrot – julienned

2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

1 spring onion – sliced

¼ parsley leaves

for the dressing

1 teaspoon light miso paste

1 garlic clove – crushed

1 teaspoon grated ginger

1 teaspoon tahini

2 teaspoons light oil (like rice bran or avocado oil)

2 teaspoons cider vinegar

tamari to taste

In a medium bowl combine salad ingredients. In a small bowl add dressing ingredients and whisk together. Season with tamari. Arrange salad on a plate and drizzle with dressing.


Inspired by the antipasto platter trend this recipe transforms tuna into a luxurious spread that’s creamy but not heavy.

2 10oz cans tuna in olive oil

2 sticks unsalted butter – room temperature

6 garlic cloves – crushed

¼ cup heavy cream

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

6 anchovy fillets – drained

3 tablespoons capers – drained

2 tablespoons capers – minced

salt and pepper

¼ cup finely chopped parsley

¼ cup finely chopped celery

Line a 7½ “ by 3½ -inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving plenty of overhang. In a food processor, combine tuna, butter, cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, cayenne, anchovies and 3 tablespoons of capers. Season with salt and pepper and process until smooth. Place puree into loaf pan and smooth the top. Cover with the overhanging plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 8 hours. In a small bowl, combine minced capers, parsley and celery. Unmold the pate onto a serving dish and sprinkle with parsley mixture. Serve chilled with crackers or toast.


Lemon zest and juice bring bright flavors to dish which is perfect served either hot or cold.

1 lb. short pasta

1 large bunch of basil

1 large bunch of parsley

2 tablespoons capers

2 anchovy fillets

1 lemon – juice and zest

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove

1/3 cup olive oil

1 ½ cups frozen peas

1 12oz can of tuna

pepper and salt

Cook pasta as per directions adding the peas 3 minutes before pasta is done. Meanwhile finely chop basil, parsley, garlic and capers. In a bowl combine chopped herbs with anchovies, mustard, lemon juice and half of the zest and olive oil. Combine herb mix, tuna and pasta, and serve topped with remaining zest. 


This month Amanda invites you to attend her exciting free seminars at the Seattle Boat Show January 25 and 26. Details on www.mahina.com.