Mediterranean Tuna Sandwiches

In elementary school, I ate school lunch most days.  I didn’t mind.  In fact, I really liked the grilled cheese, salad bar (a special privilege for 4th graders), and square pizza.  Ah…square pizza.  But, my mom would pack my lunch from time to time.  I loved those days.  I’d sit among my friends and carefully unpack my lunch bag, item by item, always saving the napkin for last because my mom often wrote notes on them.

As I got older, my mom packed my lunch for me more often.  In high school, she did so pretty much every day.  If I didn’t have anything that needed to stay cold, she’d put everything in a brown paper bag, carefully folded, and stapled shut with a raffia bow on the top.  I loved it.  So did my friends.  (When you go to an all-girls school, details such as raffia bows don’t go unnoticed.)  But even better than the raffia bows were the days when I got napkin notes.  My mom always knew just what and when to write.  If I had a big test, she’d wish me luck.  If I was just plain exhausted from cheer, dance, school plays, and studying, she’s just leave me her signature capital cursive L with a smiley face.  It always made me feel better.

Now I’m grown up, but I still bring my lunch every day.  As a teacher, I have to.  I now have the advantage of being able to microwave my food, but sometimes a sandwich, like this Mediterranean tuna one, is just the ticket.  This isn’t your white bread, mayo-laden tuna sandwich, though.  It’s light, bright, and bursting with flavors my adult palate has come to love.  But you know what?  Packed in a brown bag with some veggies and hummus or a piece of fruit, this recipe still makes for a great sack lunch.  The only thing missing is a napkin note.

mediterranean tuna

Mediterranean Tuna Sandwiches

slightly adapted from from Ellie Krieger, So Easy


2 (6-oz.) cans chunk light tuna in water, drained well

1/4 c. finely diced red onion

1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley

1/4 c. chopped kalamata olives

2 TBSP olive oil

zest and juice of 1 lemon

salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

3 c. mixed greens (about 1 1/2 oz.)

1 large tomato, sliced

8 slices whole wheat sandwich bread


1.  In a medium bowl combine the tuna, onion, parsley, olives, olive oil, lemon zest, juice, salt, and pepper. 

2.  Toast bread, if desired.  Place 1/4 tuna salad onto four pieces of bread.  Top with greens and a few tomato slices.  Serve immediately.  (If taking for lunch, take components separately and assemble sandwich just before eating.)  Serves 4.

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  1. Lynsey
    March 21, 2012 / 5:10 pm

    I love you story of the napkin notes. It's amazing how something as small as a "napkin note" can make impression that lasts a lifetime. This sandwich sounds delicious; light yet full of flavor. Thanks for sharing

  2. Natalie
    March 21, 2012 / 8:13 pm

    I've made something similar and we loved these…need to make again soon! 🙂

  3. Yo Momma
    March 22, 2012 / 12:15 am

    awwwww momma's napkin notes are/were the best 🙂

  4. ErinsFoodFiles
    March 22, 2012 / 2:35 am

    This sounds delicious. Oddly, tuna is one of the things I miss most during pregnancy. I got all freaked out 1st tri because I bought a bunch of "chunk white" albacore tuna before I found out I was pregnant, and then I read a Consumer Reports story about how you can't really ever know how much mercury is in your tuna because it varies widely. And of course, mercury affects brain development.Anyways, this post just reignited my desire to eat tuna! I used to do something with it about 1x a week or so for lunches. I can't wait till I can try this version!

  5. Jessica
    March 22, 2012 / 3:40 am

    Lunch notes are the best! When I was working as a nanny I put a few in the lunches and I would love the thank your I would get during the after school pick up!Love this twist on the classic tuna sandwich!

  6. That Girl
    March 22, 2012 / 8:50 am

    I always had a packed lunch. And was jealous of my friends who got to buy the square pizza!

  7. Nicole @ The Marvelous Misadventures of a Foodie
    March 22, 2012 / 2:36 pm

    Yum! This tuna sounds delicious – I love the idea of a Mediterranean twist on the usual 🙂

  8. Lexie
    March 22, 2012 / 2:38 pm

    Aw, daughter. Thank you for the wonderful memory. I didn't realize you even remembered all those sack lunches I made. I loved doing it every single time. You worked so incredibly hard at everything you did, and I always wanted you to know I saw that devotion. I love you. And…I love this sandwich. Can't wait to have it soon. I love you!

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