The Sauce That Takes Tuna From Meh to Wow!

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Tuna, often considered a versatile yet bland protein, is about to get a transformative facelift in the world of sauces. Enter the scene: the enchanting Italian-inspired Tonnato Sauce. This sumptuous sauce, coupled with tuna, promises an unforgettable taste experience, whisking you straight to the coasts of Italy.

Unlocking the Secret: What is Tonnato Sauce?

Tonnato sauce, originating from Italy, is traditionally a creamy, mayo-like sauce made from pureed tuna, anchovies, capers, and lemon juice. It’s often served with cold veal or vegetables. However, when paired with tuna, it’s like creating a perfect harmony between two distinct, yet complimentary flavors. Think of it as a flavour booster, enhancing the natural notes of the tuna while adding a tangy, briny twist.

Tip: Opt for fresh, high-quality ingredients. While capers and anchovies offer a briny touch, using fresh lemon juice can truly elevate the sauce’s zestiness.

More Than Just Tuna: Versatile Uses of Tonnato Sauce

While this sauce is a game-changer for tuna, don’t stop there! Tonnato sauce is incredibly versatile. Drizzle it over roasted vegetables, use it as a salad dressing, or even spread it on a sandwich for a burst of flavor. The possibilities are endless, and you’ll find yourself searching for ways to incorporate this sauce into your weekly menu.

Tip: Looking for some exquisite dishes to pair with this sauce? Delve into some authentic Italian cookbooks that brim with culinary inspiration!

Furthermore, don’t limit yourself to the traditional recipe. Play around with the ingredients! For a spicier kick, add a dash of chili flakes or a dollop of Sriracha. If you’re in the mood for a zestier version, amp up the lemon or even introduce some lime. Food, after all, is about experimentation and finding what sings to your palate.

So, next time you’re faced with the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?”, let the allure of Tonnato sauce guide you. Whether it’s the tender embrace of a tuna steak or the crispy allure of roasted veggies, with Tonnato sauce in your culinary arsenal, your dishes are bound to go from ‘meh’ to ‘WOW!’ in no time.

Tonnato Sauce

Course: SauceCuisine: Italian


Prep time






Total time



Dive into the heart of Italy with this zesty, creamy Tonnato sauce that’s bound to elevate your tuna dishes.


  • 1 can of good-quality tuna in olive oil, drained

  • 2 anchovy fillets

  • 1 tablespoon of capers, drained

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 1/2 cup of mayo or aioli

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Begin by placing the tuna, anchovy fillets, capers, and lemon juice into a high-speed blender or food processor.
  • Blend the ingredients until a smooth mixture is achieved.
  • Add the mayo or aioli to the blender or processor. As you continue blending, stream in the olive oil, ensuring the mixture becomes creamy.
  • Taste the sauce and season it with salt and pepper as desired.
  • Once well-combined, transfer the Tonnato sauce to a bowl.
  • Refrigerate the sauce for a minimum of one hour, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  • Serve the sauce as a dip or drizzle it over grilled or seared tuna steaks for an enhanced flavor experience.


  • For a zestier sauce, consider adding more lemon or introducing some lime.
  • For a spicy kick, incorporate a sprinkle of chili flakes or a touch of Sriracha.
  • Always opt for fresh ingredients to ensure the best flavor profile.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use canned lemon juice instead of fresh?
A: While you can use canned lemon juice, using fresh lemon juice can truly elevate the sauce’s zestiness and provide a more authentic taste.

Q: Can this sauce be used with other dishes aside from tuna?
A: Absolutely! Tonnato sauce is versatile. You can drizzle it over roasted vegetables, use it as a salad dressing, or spread it on sandwiches for an added flavor boost.

Q: How long can Tonnato sauce be stored in the refrigerator?
A: Tonnato sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Q: I’m not a fan of anchovies. Can I exclude them from the recipe?
A: Yes, you can exclude the anchovies, but they do add a unique depth of flavor to the sauce. If you’re worried about a strong anchovy taste, consider reducing the quantity rather than eliminating them entirely.

Jamie Anderson
Jamie Anderson
Hey there! I'm Jamie Anderson. Born and raised in the heart of New York City, I've always had this crazy love for food and the stories behind it. I like to share everything from those "Aha!" cooking moments to deeper dives into what's really happening in the food world. Whether you're here for a trip down culinary memory lane, some kitchen hacks, or just curious about your favorite eateries, I hope you find something delightful!

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