Whole Foods Lifestyle - how do I prepare canned tuna without the can

01-03-2009, 05:03 AM
Hey Whole Foods Peeps,

So Ive banished canned foods from my kitchen about four months ago (first it was just an experiment, and then I realized that I really didn't need to eat canned foods).

However, lately I've begun to miss canned tuna. I tried tuna steak, but I really didn't like it- too meaty. I oven-baked it- maybe that was the problem.

So I was wondering if anyone has some tips as to how I can cook tuna to get the consistency in the can... I want to make tuna salad and I cant figure out how to cook a tuna steak to get it like bumble bee chunk light tuna in water (my fav).

Thanks in advance for the advice! :)

01-03-2009, 07:54 AM
If it's canned tuna you're looking for, why don't you just go and buy some canned tuna? It's convienient, inexpensive, low calorie and loaded with protein. A great food option.

IMO, it's not at all the same as say canned soup or even vegetables. A much higher quality and can fit in quite well with a whole foods lifestyle. Beans is another high quality "canned food" that comes to mind. Just my 1/2 cent.

01-03-2009, 09:44 AM
I agree with Robin (although I love tuna steak, canned tuna is much more economical. Also, you may want to try pan-searing it instead of baking it). It's just tuna packed in water... pretty "whole" to me :)

01-03-2009, 11:09 AM
I LOVE tuna steak as well. Love it!!! But wow, it's a LOT of money and would surely not fit into my budget if I were to substitute it for the canned stuff, which I eat about 3x a week. But it is good :p

01-03-2009, 11:15 AM
And it's oh-so-pretty!


Gosh, what my grocery bill would be with a 3-tuna-steaks-a-week habit :eek:

01-03-2009, 12:49 PM
I would also suggest not worrying too much about minimally processed canned products.

I do use canned products, and decide whether they're whole foods, by the ingredient list. I'm not a whole food purist, so I do use some things (like canned cream of mushroom soup) that I don't consider completely "whole" and yet use in moderation. Basically, though I read the labels and don't buy products if I don't know what the ingredient is (some that sound very scary are actually natural products or even vitamins, so if I don't know what an ingredient is, I look it up online). Canned and frozen vegetables can actually have more nutrients than fresh, because they truly are packed at their peak shortly after being picked (I used to live in a town with a DelMonte plant and knew folks working at the factory - workers were actually "on call." They didn't go to work according to a shift, they went to work when the vegetables were ready).

Canned and jarred tomatoes also have more accessible lycopene than fresh tomato.

Canned veggies can have too much salt, but I pick lower salt brands (not necessarily those that are advertising as reduced sodium) and if there's too much salt for my tastes, I will soak the veggies in water in the fridge (the longer you soak, the more salt that will leach out, but I usually only soak for an hour).

I don't care for the taste of tuna in the can since I discovered the pouches.
Personally, I think there's much less "taste of the can" in the pouched tuna. I also like that there's nearly no liquid.

I think trying to make expensive fresh tuna "like the canned" is like taking filet mignon or prime rib and grinding it for hamburger.

01-03-2009, 12:51 PM
Maybe poaching the salmon with some herbs and then flaking it? Hmm.. Never really thought of it.

I have no trouble eating canned tuna,, just look for the dolphin friendly label, if you are so inclined. :)

01-03-2009, 01:09 PM
Yeah, banning "all canned foods" just because of the can isn't actually terribly sensible. :)

There is nothing wrong with tuna canned it water. All it is is ... tuna and water.

Same with canned tomatoes - get the ones that aren't sweetened or have stuff added into them. A can of diced tomatoes that has tomatoes and water in it is very healthy.

I use canned solid pack pumpkin all the time. Ingredients: pumpkin.

Canned beans? Ingredients: beans, water, salt. (rinse 'em and you solve the salt problem)

Eating whole foods doesn't mean that you have to banish all canned products from your shelves indiscriminately. It means that you eat foods that are real. There's nothing more "real" than pure cooked tuna or whole beans or whatever. :)


01-03-2009, 01:56 PM
I guess it depends on the reasons for avoiding canned foods. I buy very little canned food because I really don't want to add any more BPA to my diet than I have to. :shrug: Right now the only companies that don't use BPA lined cans are Eden foods for their beans and a company that cans coconut milk (can't think of the name right now). On the other hand it's been really hard to find a reasonible substitute for tomato sauce making so sometimes I buy a couple of cans because there just is no other option available.

01-03-2009, 11:31 PM
Ah, well, then maybe the tuna in a pouch would work for you? I've not been too concerned since I buy only tomatoes, beans and tuna in cans usually.

Thighs Be Gone
01-03-2009, 11:35 PM
I have been buying the ahi tuna steaks and love them! You can make traditional tunafish salad with them too if you would like.

ETA: I also do not worry about the canned things. All is okay in moderation in my book.

01-04-2009, 10:59 AM
How could I have forgotten canned tomatoes? That's another great "canned" product. I also keep canned, sliced mushrooms on hand. Don't use them very often, but they're good to have around in case I want to make a last minute lemon chicken or chicken marsala.

I also like canned Mandarin Oranges. Great to throw in a salad. The only other canned item I can think of that I use, and it's a rarity - is canned niblet corn or white shoepeg corn. I don't eat corn very often, but there are a couple of different salads that I make with it that calls for it.

Okay, thought of another one, again a rarity - cranberry sauce.

01-05-2009, 04:14 AM
I guess it depends on the reasons for avoiding canned foods. I buy very little canned food because I really don't want to add any more BPA to my diet than I have to. :shrug: .

CyndiM, you've actually it the nail on the head of why I've cut out canned foods.

Actually, I would not describe myself as a "whole foods person". Not really. Wait... I take that back... the label does fit I guess.

Anyway, one of the reasons that I've cut out canned food is because they use them so much in the food service industry, that feel that I unknowingly consume enough canned foods when I eat "street food," so I really don't need to use them at my home.

And so far, everything canned good that I've eliminated from my diet has been replaced with a BETTER TASTING version of the same: canned vs. frozen corn & green peas- frozen WAY yummier, canned coconut milk vs. freshly juiced coconut milk- fresh WAY better tasting.

Thanks for all your opinions:hug:... I do value them and its always good to hear what other health-conscious folk are doing/ thinking. However, I've pretty much made up my mind about the canned food thing and right now I'm just looking for a way to make some tuna salad. Should I bake, boil, or steam the tuna first? Should I add spices when I cook the tuna, or would that mess up the flavor of the tuna salad? etc... stuff like that is what I'm seeking advice on. Thanks!:D

01-05-2009, 04:18 AM
also, I will try the pouch. Thanks for the tip waterrat & kaplods!