Tag Archives: tuna fish salad recipes

Ten Tasty Tuna Salad Sandwiches: Part 2 – Marvelous Melts

“The fishing was good; it was the catching that was bad” – A. K. Best

In Part One of Ten Tasty Tuna Salad Sandwiches, I wrote about some of my favorite “cool classics” where the tuna is served cold on some sort of tasty bread. The focus of Part Two is on tuna melts, where the tuna is topped with some sort of cheese (one of the world’s wonder foods as far as I’m concerned) and heated. As I mentioned in Part One, I am picky about my tuna salad and compare everything to my grandfather’s concoction (click here for his recipe.) All of these melts start with a great base of tuna salad that I would happily eat cold.

So cast your rods and catch some of these marvelous tuna melts:

Seaboard Café  707 Semart Dr., Raleigh, N.C.  27604

The Seaboard Café is a great lunch destination located in Logan Trading Company, right off of Peace Street near Peace College. Opened Monday-Saturday from 11:00-2:30, it does a great business and the line is often quite long, but moves at a steady pace. I order the Grilled Tuna Salad, Swiss & Cranberries Sandwich for $7.50, and really didn’t know what to expect with the cranberries. OMG – this is one of my favorite tuna melts ever! It comes on grilled sourdough bread and is a perfect mix of sweet and savory. It is served with raspberry-Dijon pasta salad which is tasty and a pickled carrot (they sell these delicious little things by the pound). I don’t go as often as I’d like to mainly because I always wind up buying too much stuff at Logan’s and across the street at Seaboard Wine.

North Ridge Pub - 6196 Falls of Neuse Rd., Raleigh, NC 27609

This place wasn’t on my original list for trying tuna melts, but it should have been as it has one of the best I’ve ever had. The tuna is mixed with light mayo, celery, onion and special seasonings. It has Swiss cheese and tomato on toasted white bread. The bread is quite good, and the sandwich is huge. It comes with a choice of fries, Caesar salad, house salad or coleslaw for $7.50. My server didn’t ask what I wanted and assumed I wanted fries, which was okay because they were good. I enjoyed this wonderful sandwich with a great mimosa (generous pour in a chilled glass.) Small and cozy, the North Ridge Pub is run by the same people who own Café Tiramisu, which is right next door and one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Raleigh (hoping to review it soon!)

Café Harmony - 5645 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh, N.C. 27612


I tried the albacore tuna melt, which consists of tuna salad on an open-faced English muffin with tomato, Swiss cheese and sprouts, heated. The tuna salad was very good with onion, celery, mayo and parsley. $8.99, with your choice of veggie chips or blue chips. This place recently opened and is run by the folks who own Harmony Farms, which is located a few doors down. It is Raleigh’s first totally organic and natural café, according to its website. Café Harmony is located in the strip mall on the corner of Millbrook and Creedmoor Roads. I have also tried the smoky black bean burger there, which is awesome and will be featured in an upcoming blog. I hope this place makes it, and judging by the lunch crowds, it should.

Sunflowers Café - 8 West Peace Street, Raleigh, N.C.  27603

I knew I had to try the tuna salad at Sunflowers, one of my favorite sandwich shops anywhere! And I was not disappointed. The tuna salad had pickle relish, eggs, mayonnaise and onions in it, and even though I normally steer clear of the relish and eggs in my tuna, this salad was quite good and creamy. It came grilled on rye bread with avocado, cheddar cheese, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, mayo and house mustard. This was a great combination of flavors – I especially liked the cheddar and avocado. The tuna melt comes with a side of chips for $6.50.

Serendipity Gourmet Deli – 118 South Academy Street, Cary, N.C.  27511

This tuna salad is for the purist – it’s basically white albacore mixed with mayonnaise. It was very creamy, but did need some salt and pepper. It was served on a croissant with melted Swiss and tomato. I thought they toasted it a tad bit too much, but it was still good. It came with chips and a pickle for $7.50. Service was good and friendly. Serendipity is a quaint little place in downtown Cary. I remember going there in the mid-80s, and the food is still good.

So ends Ten Tasty Tuna Salad Sandwiches, parts 1 & 2. Be sure to check out my grandfather’s recipe if you just don’t feel like going out. And please send me your favorites if they aren’t on my list!

Bon appétit!

Pampa’s Tuna Salad Recipe

As I mentioned in my post: Ten Tasty Tuna Salad Sandwiches, my grandfather, Kelton Virnelson, used to make the best tuna salad. He only used BumbleBee white albacore tuna, and would add diced celery and onion, white pepper (it was more aesthetically pleasing to the eye), fresh lemon juice and homemade (yes, homemade) mayonnaise. I’ve tried my best to replicate his recipe but use lowfat, store-bought mayo (usually Duke’s Light) instead of his homemade version.

Pampa’s Tuna Salad Recipe


  • 1 12-oz. can of albacore tuna, well-drained
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • ¼ cup onion, diced (I like sweet onions, such as Vidalias)
  • ¼ fresh large lemon
  • ¼ cup light mayonnaise
  • Freshly ground white pepper and seasoned salt to taste


Flake the tuna with a fork; squeeze the juice of a quarter of a large lemon on it (watch out for any errant seeds!) Add the rest of the ingredients; mix well. If I’m serving this on bread, sandwich roll or on a bed of lettuce, I let the tuna salad chill in the refrigerator for a little while. If I‘m making a tuna melt (recipe below), then I like for the salad to be room temperature as it heats faster.

Tuna melt recipe


  • Pampa’s tuna salad (see recipe above)
  • Bread (I like to use split English muffins or La Brea’s Three Cheese Semolina bread available from Harris Teeter. But any type of bread will work.)
  • Cheddar cheese slices (I like Cracker Barrel’s 2% sharp cheddar)
  • Tomato slices (optional)


Lightly toast the bread so the tuna won’t make it soggy. Spread some of the tuna on each slice. Top each with a slice of tomato (you can also add onion and/or avocado slices.) Top with cheese. Broil in the oven or toaster oven until the cheese melts.

Bon appétit!