This Tuna Melt Is So Light & Tasty It Will Make You Cry

tuna melt

This is a guest post by Lisa Cain, PhD, a.k.a Snack-Girl

Tuna melts use to be a staple in my college dorm. One cup mayonnaise, a little tuna, and say the word “green” and you had lunch!

As you age, you learn a few things. For example, ketchup is not a vegetable and mayonnaise should be used sparingly. Does anyone else remember PBS featuring a song on “Drowning your food”?

For this tuna melt, I have used only a tablespoon of mayonnaise. Some of you might be wondering why I don’t use more of a light mayonnaise to make it creamier. I did buy and write about light mayonnaise and my conclusion was that it didn’t taste very good.

Hellmann’s used starch to thicken the product and it was just awful. I threw out the jar without finishing it. So, I made a new rule.

None of Snack Girl’s recipes will have light mayonnaise as an ingredient. I don’t care how many samples they send me – it is NOT going to happen.

What is special about THIS tuna melt is that it is packed with protein, 43% of your daily value of vitamin A, 129% of your daily value of vitamin C, and 6% of your daily value of iron in ONE half of a bell pepper (gluten-free, too).

When you heat it under the broiler, you get a hot cheesy tuna taste and a warm crunchy sweet pepper taste. It is so fresh and lively that you won’t miss the bread. My husband ate these for dinner and told me that he loved me. See what good food can do?

I had a few left over so I put them in a container for lunch the next day. These are great to bring to work and then heat up for about 20 seconds in a microwave (or eat them cold). You don’t need a fork or knife – just grab them like a sandwich.

Red bell peppers can be expensive. I was able to find some for $2 per pound and I was psyched! Spend a little less money on vitamin pills and more money on food like red bell peppers.

Have you lightened up a tuna melt? Please share.

Lightest Tuna Melt Recipe

(makes 4)

5.0 ounce can tuna in water, drained
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 scallions, sliced
2 ounces cheddar cheese (four small slices)
2 red bell peppers, halved, core and seeds removed
salt and pepper to taste

Mix tuna, mayonnaise, celery, and scallions in a small bowl. Add mixture to 1/2 red bell pepper and place a small slice of cheese on top. Heat broiler to high. Place peppers and roast under broiler for 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Enjoy!

Peppers can be stored in the refrigerator for three days.

For one half bell pepper = 142 calories, 6.5 g fat, 5.4 g carbohydrates, 14.9 g protein, 1.6 g fiber, 264 mg sodium, 3 PointsPlus

Lisa Cain, Ph.D. writes about healthy snacks on She is a published author, mother of two, and avid snacker.


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  • NO

    your a dork


    You can use cottage cheese instead of mayo. I promise you won’t miss the mayo!

  • Dat888

    Oregons Choice canned tuna/salmon would go well. I’m curious if plain yogurt would work wellas the cottage cheese comment. Thanks for the recipe idea.

  • Renee Titelbaum

    I don’t use mayo or sour cream any more in my cooking. I’ve switched to Greek yogurt any time a recipe calls for one of those. Always works great, and you get protein instead of fast.

  • Cactus_Wren

    Where are bell peppers sold by the pound?  Here in Arizona, at every store I’ve been to, jalapeños and other small peppers are sold by the pound, but bell peppers — of whatever color — are sold by the each.  (This week I can get red or green ones at three for a dollar.)

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  • Roscoe Kandowski Jr

    However scrumptious this dish may be, I find offensive the suggestion that “[t]hese are great to bring to work and [to] heat up for about 20 seconds in a microwave (or [eaten] cold).” Tuna has no place in a microwave collectively shared in a work environment. Smoking has been banned in public and work places precisely because secondhand smoke does to one’s lungs and clothing what tuna does to one’s sense of smell and food: it permeates. Unless I want the taste of tuna mingled with my penne a la vodka, I’m steering clear any microwave where a practical stranger had the bright idea of reheating tuna fish (still worse, would if I’m heating a dessert? Ugh!). Using a work microwave to heat tuna is a mortal violation of collegial trust and consideration. Furthermore, since many workers want to keep things nice, they won’t outright tell you how disgusted they are by your bad lunch manners. In the name of work etiquette they’ll suppress what they actually think about your tuna and its malodorous, lingering place in the shared microwave, leading ultimately to strained work relations and bad work blood, The lasting odor of tuna has an almost supernatural power that no man or woman should be allowed to wield in the workplace.