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Tuna Burgers with Wasabi Mayo and Quick Cucumber PIckle

Tuna Burgers with Wasabi Mayo and Quick Cucumber PIckle

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Slice the cucumber on a mandoline or use a sharp chef’s knife to cut into paper-thin slices. Set aside.

Stir together the vinegar, sugar, ¼ teaspoon of the salt, and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the microwave, stir to dissolve the sugar, and immediately add the cucumber, pushing it down so that all the slices are completely submerged in the liquid. Let the cucumber pickle for at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes, then drain and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the tuna, celery, bell pepper, cilantro, garlic, egg, ½ cup of the panko, the lemon juice, the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and the cayenne. Toss the mixture gently with your hands until thoroughly combined. Shape the tuna mixture into 2 burgers no more than 1 inch thick. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm up.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Brush the cut sides of the buns with the melted butter. Slip the buns under the broiler and toast until golden, about 1 minute.

Stir together the mayonnaise and wasabi powder in a small bowl until well blended. Taste. The spread may be hot enough for you at this point. If you want more heat, continue to add wasabi powder in small amounts until you get it right. If the powder is lumpy, press it through a small strainer before adding it to the mayo.

Pour the remaining ½ cup of panko onto a plate. Remove the tuna burgers from the fridge and coat with the panko on each side, pressing to adhere.

Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and add the vegetable oil. When it shimmers, add the burgers to the pan and fry until crispy and brown on the first side, about 4 minutes. Turn the burgers and cook until browned on the second side and firm to the touch when pressed lightly with your finger, about 3 minutes longer. If you want your tuna burger a bit more on the rare side, cook it for 3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second.

Serve the burgers on the toasted buns, spread with the wasabi mayonnaise, and topped with the cucumber pickle, avocado slices, and arugula.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 (5 ounce) can tuna, drained
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • ⅓ cup minced onion
  • ¼ cup minced celery
  • ¼ cup minced red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chili sauce
  • ½ teaspoon dried dill weed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 4 leaves of lettuce (Optional)

Combine tuna, egg, bread crumbs, onion, celery, red bell pepper, mayonnaise, hot chili sauce, chili sauce, dill, salt, pepper, hot pepper sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well. Shape into 4 patties (mixture will be very soft and delicate). Refrigerate for 30 minutes to make the patties easier to handle, if desired.

Coat a non-stick skillet with cooking spray fry tuna patties for about 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until cooked through. These are fragile, so be careful when turning them.

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My family loves this recipe. It is quick and easy both for prep and clean up. We've also tried it with other fish and with sauteed soft crabs. Works with everything!

Something so simple can be so exciting! Absolutely delicious, sophisticated flavors in a brgiht and surprising combination. Saturday patio lunch divine!

This recipe was really easy to make, but it wasn't really that flavorful. There was also no need to double the recipe for four steaks.

Great weeknight dinner -- the sauce was wonderful, especially with a bit more lemon and a few dashes of hot sauce.

Wow - this is super tasty! And amazingly easy!! I turned it into a salad instead of a burger and had rocket (couldn't get arugula) and mixed leaves, as well as french fries.

This is soooooo good. I have tried it with tilapia too, but it doesnt hold together well enough. Stick to the recipe and you wont be dissapointed!

Wow. Awesome, quick recipe and very good. I can't leave well enough alone and added some avocado to the top, and it was heavenly!

I guess this is not so much a review as a recommendation. Try these burgers using leftover ginger aioli from the soy-sake shrimp recipe. Out of this world!

I added tomatoes and grilled asparagus on top - so easy and fast to make on a weeknight. And it looks GREAT

Really fantastic dish! IMHO, the best fish sandwich recipe on this site. The lemon peppery taste of the mayo and arugula is a great complement to the buttery tuna.

Very nice twist to a grilled hamburger. I sprinkled the tuna with salt and garlic pepper and then grilled outside as opposed to searing. I too added dijon mustard and honey to the sauce and it was yummy. I also topped with tomato slices (because they are so in season)in addition to the arugula.

Excellent and couldn't be easier. I am generally not found of cooked tuna but this dish works. Add some additional lemon juice, hot sauce and lots of arugula.

Easy and fast for a light supper or lunch. For a twist, I sprinkled Shichimi Pepper (a blend of Japanese spices) on the tuna steaks before searing. Enjoy!

Very simple and tasty tuna burger. Nothing fancy, but good.

I added dijon mustard and honey to the sauce and it was delicious.

Incredible. It's a favorite in our house. I've made this many times, and given the recipe to lots of friends. Never a disappointment.

I didn't have arugula, just lettuce, which was too bad because otherwise this would have been a five star recipe! It's light, clean tasting and the mayo mixture just perfect. Best of all, it was a snap to make - gourmet fast food.

How to Cook Tuna

Tuna is a favorite food for many and this nimble fish covers price points from prized toro sashimi to every day canned “chicken of the sea.” There’s a chasm between the quality and cost of tuna that goes in, say, a lunchbox tuna salad and the finest sushi in a world-class restaurant, but, at the end of the day they are all tuna fish. Confused? Perhaps a little fishy info is in order.

What is Tuna?

Top predators, tuna are large oceanic fishes of the genus Thunnus. Because they swim so far and so fast, they contain large amounts of myoglobin (a red pigment that stores oxygen) in their flesh, which is why tuna is often a deep red color. Tuna is the most economically viable fish in the world contributing 42 billion dollars to the global economy each year and they are found in waters all around the globe.

Are there Different Varieties of Tuna?

There are four main types of tuna that you will encounter in the states.

  • Albacore has the lightest flesh of all the tuna species, ranging from light beige to brown. When cooked, Albacore meat turns off-white, which is why it’s known as “white meat” tuna when canned. Albacore is mild in flavor with lower fat but it has the most omega-3 fatty acids of all tuna. You will most often find it canned in the states.
  • As the name implies, Skipjack Tuna likes to jump and skip over the ocean waves. Skipjack tuna is more commonly sold as “light” canned tuna, but good-quality skipjack, red when raw, can be eaten fresh and has a flavor similar to yellowfin. Because skipjack matures at one year of age, the world supply of skipjack is healthy. Skipjack is one of the most valuable tuna species as 90% of skipjack is canned.
  • Yellowfin or Ahi ranks second in terms of volume and popularity. It’s a big fish that swims very fast and covers huge distances around the globe. Yellowfin is less expensive than bluefin but still of very high quality. Yellowfin is also more common and easy to find in the grocery store or fish market. It is deep pink to ruby red in color with flavor a bit stronger than albacore. Sushi or sashimi-grade raw ahi is used in poke bowls and sushi rolls.
  • Bluefin Tuna is the tuna of choice for tuna connoisseurs. That being said, it is also the most exploited and overfished. It is the hardest to catch and with many countries imposing restrictions on bluefin fishing, the price will remain high. With more fat and flavor than other varieties, the flesh is a dark red to almost purple. The largest tuna, most bluefin is caught and exported to Japan where it is sold at a premium price for sashimi.

Is Tuna Healthy?

Tuna is good for you. The omega-3 fatty acids found in tuna have been found to support brain health. Tuna is high in vitamin B3 (niacin), which supports heart health vitamin B12, which is necessary to form red blood cells and vitamin D, which supports mineral absorption. It’s high in protein and low in fat, making it a great choice for those looking to maintain a healthy weight and it’s even been shown to improve brain activity and mood swings in the elderly.

What Should I Look for When Buying Fresh Tuna?

Most tuna is frozen within a couple hours of being caught. Lucky for us, thawed, fresh frozen tuna holds up to freezing and doesn’t degrade in flavor or texture as much as other fish. So, don’t hesitate to buy frozen tuna from reputable markets. Most often, the tuna in the fresh seafood case will be yellowfin or ahi tuna. The terms sushi or sashimi-grade are not federally mandated terms and so are used loosely as a marketing term for “the freshest fish you can buy.” Unless it’s the most expensive bluefin, most tuna is not graded, so just as when you buy other fish, use your eyes and nose. When buying tuna, look for fish that smells fresh and looks moist, bright and shiny. Store tuna, covered in the fridge and cook it within one or at most two days of purchase for the best flavor.

When buying canned tuna look for the terms “pole and line caught”, “troll caught” or FAD-free which indicates that the fish was caught in a way that minimizes by catch. For the best flavor buy canned tuna packed in oil and choose the darker fleshed light tuna, not albacore, if you’re concerned about mercury.

Is it Safe to Eat Raw Tuna?

A frequent question is, “Is it safe to eat raw fish?” Although all raw fish can contain parasites or microbes that could make you sick, tuna rarely contains parasites. Fish that has been frozen immediately after being caught is the safest as freezing for seven days kills parasites. A good guideline is to be choosy and only purchase fish from sources you trust and if you plan to eat your tuna raw, eat it the day you purchase it.

How do I Store Tuna Once it is Purchased?

Once you have purchased your fresh fish, take extra care in properly transporting and preparing it to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses. Seafood should be transported on ice and refrigerated or frozen right away, depending on when it will be consumed.

If the fish is frozen, it should be thawed in the refrigerator to prevent it from rising above the danger zone of 40°F. When preparing the fish, keep your work area, tools and hands clean so that your fish is as sanitary as possible before serving.

How Can I Prepare Tuna?

We are all familiar with tuna salad, tuna melts and tuna casseroles, but there are so many interesting ways to cook and eat fresh tuna including a Niçoise salad, tuna burgers, or a poke bowl. It’s important not to overcook tuna as it tastes best when rare in the center, but if you can’t stomach rare-cooked fish, go ahead and cook it fully. It will still taste great, but the texture will be more dense, dry and tough.

There is undeniably popular to eat fresh raw tuna, but it’s also delicious cooked or seared to a medium-rare. Try coating a filet in a sesame crust and sear it in a hot, dry skillet over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes per side. When sliced, you will see about 1/4-inch of cooked fish on the outside and tender raw tuna on the inside. All it needs is a drizzle of soy sauce and an accompaniment of pickled ginger and you’ll be in tuna heaven.

Tuna is also terrific grilled. Brush the tuna with olive oil and grill over high heat for 1 or 2 minutes per side for medium-rare. Serve it over a bed of romaine lettuce with olives, roasted peppers and hard-boiled eggs with a white wine vinaigrette for an easy salad Niçoise. It’s the perfect summer under-the-stars dinner with a glass of rosé.

If you want a super easy method, try baking the tuna in a 450°F oven. Just brush it with oil and bake for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the steaks. Roast some cauliflower florets drizzled with olive oil for 15 minutes before adding the tuna steaks to the pan, et voilá… dinner is served.

Favorite Recipes

I’ve created two recipes to help introduce you to the wonderful world of tuna. The first is a poke (po-Kay) bowl, a Hawaiian dish of raw fish dressed in soy and sesame oil, served over rice with vegetable accompaniments. I used plain white rice in this version, but feel free to substitute brown rice, rice blends, farro, barley or quinoa. The same goes for the vegetables as many raw or roasted vegetables would be a nice addition. Keep the fresh cucumber, avocado and carrots no matter what as they add an irresistible freshness and crunch.

The next recipe is a tuna burger that our family has been eating for over 20 years. My kids are still crazy about it and when it’s on the menu they all head home. Fresh or frozen tuna is finely chopped and mixed with celery, red pepper, egg, bread crumbs, lemon and a little garlic and gently shaped into patties, coated with more bread crumbs and lightly fried to brown perfection. I serve these on toasted buns slathered with spicy wasabi mayo, avocado and an easy jarred mango salsa or a quick cucumber pickle that pickles up in minutes.

Fresh tuna is an indulgence within anyone’s budget and spring is the perfect time to become familiar with this versatile fish. Fast and fresh, these simple recipes will be sure to leave your taste buds begging for more.


  • It’s best to buy sushi-grade tuna since you will be serving it very pink on the inside. I buy my tuna at The Fresh Market or Whole Foods.
  • If you don’t have a food processor to pulse the wasabi peas, you can always put them in a plastic baggie and crush them with a meat mallet or rolling pin.
  • Watch the tuna carefully when searing! They will cook up very quickly and you don’t want burnt tuna!
  • The tuna can also be left whole and served as a thick seared tuna steak as an entree, along with a side of sticky rice and a nice ginger salad.

Spicy Tuna Burgers

Summer calls for burgers. However, with the heat and humidity on the rise, I didn’t feel like having something heavy such as a traditional beef pattie (although those are super delicious). I was craving something light and healthy yet packed with flavor – Spicy Tuna Burgers…those will do just nicely. This is isn’t your basic bland canned tuna sandwich you may have found in your lunch box as a kid. This my friend, is on the other side of the spectrum. We’re using fresh sushi-grade tuna mixed with familiar Asian flavors such as ginger and scallions, using avocado as a binder, seared on the outside, still pink on the inside, topped with a wasabi-lime mayo, and crispy romaine lettuce tossed with an tangy-salty-sweet dressing. Finally, the burgers are cradled by a toasted sesame seed bun. These Spicy Tuna Burgers are light, full of flavor, and sure to satisfy your summer burger craving…without packing on the pounds.

Cut the Tuna into a 1/4-inch Dice:

Mash the Avocado and Prep the other Ingredients:

Add the Burger Ingredients to the Bowl and Mix Well:

Form the Tuna Mix into Patties:

Make the Dressing for the Lettuce:

  • 1 pound fresh sushi-grade tuna fillet
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1 Thai bird chile, minced
  • 1/2 avocado, mashed
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 sesame hamberger buns
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons wasabi paste
  • 1/2 cup mayonaise
  • 1 lime, juiced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 2 limes, juiced (about 4 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/4 cup romaine lettuce, shredded
  1. Cut the tuna into a 1/4-inch dice and add to a large bowl. Add the scallion, cilantro, ginger, chile, avocado, salt, and pepper. Gently work with your hands to incorporate all of the ingredients. Divide the contents of the bowl into 4 equal portions and shape into 1-inch thick patties. Cover and refrigerate for 2o minutes and up to 2 hours.
  2. In the meantime, make the wasabi mayo. In a small bowl, add the wasabi paste, mayonnaise, lime juice, and ginger. Stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Just before you’re ready to cook the tuna burgers, make the dressing. In a medium-sized bowl, add the lime juice, fish sauce, orange juice, rice vinegar, and garlic. Stir well. Toss in the shredded lettuce to coat. Set aside until ready to use.
  4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the tuna burgers, 2-3 minutes per side – don’t overcook the burgers or they will be dry. Transfer to a clean plate to rest.
  5. With the remaining oil in the pan, toast the hamburger buns for 1 minute. Add more oil if needed.
  6. To assemble, place the burgers on the bun bottoms. Top each with wasabi mayo and dressed lettuce. Cover each burger with the bun tops and serve immediately.

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Find a Dish!

I'm Kathleen and I live in the Atlanta area. In a lifelong search to discover where I belong and what group I identify with, I found that food is the strongest tie that brings us together. On Hapa Nom Nom, food is a kind of connective tissue, bringing my background, family, travels, and tastes together in one delicious bite. Find out more!


Blend mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons lime juice, ginger, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, wasabi paste, and sesame oil in processor until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Transfer to bowl, cover, and chill.) Mix red cabbage, Napa cabbage, and carrots in medium bowl. Add 4 tablespoons lime juice toss. Season with salt and pepper.

Place tuna on plate. Pour first measure of soy sauce over turn to coat. Let tuna and cabbage stand at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour, tossing cabbage and turning tuna occasionally.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat).

Spread cut sides of rolls with butter. Grill, buttered side down, until golden. Transfer rolls to individual plates. Spread cut sides with wasabi mayonnaise. Mound 1/4 cup cabbage slaw on each roll bottom. Grill tuna until cooked to desired doneness, 1 to 2 minutes per side for medium-rare. Place tuna on cabbage atop rolls.

Why we love these tuna burgers…

This recipe is really quick to make and requires only a handful of ingredients so it’s great for when you need a simple dinner.

They’re a healthier option than your classic beef burgers because they’re made from tuna which is full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and other good stuff.

If you feel like meal prepping then you can make these ahead and then serve them in buns or with salads or any other way you fancy during the week.

Tuna Patties Ingredients

Tinned Tuna: I like the tuna in oil. Make sure to get dolphin friendly, sustainably sourced stuff

Eggs: To bind the burgers

Panko Breadcrumbs: Or use regular breadcrumbs if you can’t find panko

Garlic & Parsley: To flavour the burgers

Lemon Juice: To add that extra zing

Burger Buns: I like brioche but you can use what you like

Smoked Paprika Mayo: Made from a mixture of store bought mayo, garlic, lemon juice and smoked paprika

Ahi Tuna Crudo with Sweet Soy, Wasabi and Cucumber

Since the first human caught a fish and realized it was edible, people have had to figure out how to eat it now and how to preserve the delicate flesh for eating later. Smoking, drying, or curing (and sometimes all three) were used by migrating tribes as a means to carry their bounty with them. Several ways of eating raw fish in the moment also evolved sushi, sashimi, ceviche, carpaccio, and crudos are just a few. Whether a simple sashimi with a splash of soy sauce or a classic ceviche covered in citrus juice, cooks always strive to make it different and better. Two methods, gravlax, and crudo, give us options at opposite ends of the spectrum for enjoying raw fish at its finest.

Crudo’s origins lay with the fishermen of the Mediterranean who would often eat their catch fresh out of the sea with nothing more than a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Today crudos, like this ahi tuna crudo with wasabi, have evolved into mini works of art on a plate typically with colorful ingredients and splashes of color and texture.

Crudo means “raw” in both Spanish and Italian and technically the fish is not cured, but rather, simply served raw and often embellished with other ingredients to enhance the flavor. Think of crudos as being more of flash marinated than “cured”, and closer to sashimi and carpaccio than gravlax. They are also different from ceviche which is covered in citrus juice and left to marinate long enough so that the acid in the juice “cooks” the fish.

It’s easy to think crudos and sashimi are both one in the same. Both are raw, but while sashimi is raw fish at its purist and plain with not much more than a dab of wasabi, crudo is defined by the quality of the ingredients which are there to complement and enhance the simple raw fish. Typically there is some sort of oil and an acid (citrus or vinegar) used to dress it which helps to bring out the flavor of the fish.

Some tips for preparing raw fish crudos:

  • It’s all about the quality of the fish, when eating fish raw always select the highest quality, freshest fish you can find.
  • Use the highest quality ingredients you can find look for the best extra virgin olive oil and the freshest vegetables and herbs.
  • Prepare all your cut ingredients in advance and keep the fish in the refrigerator until you are ready to cut and serve it immediately.

Besides this recipe for Ahi Tuna Crudo, I’ll have another crudo to share in a future post. Tell me, do you like your fish raw, or will you only eat it cooked?

Asian Tuna Salad Recipe

Yield: 2 sandwiches

Total Time: 5 minutes

Simple tuna salad with Asian flavors like wasabi, seasme, ginger and soy sauce. Quick and simple and hugely flavorful.


1 can chunk light tuna in water, drained
1 Tbs. Wasabi mayonnaise (see note below)
1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
1 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup water chestnuts, chopped
2 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. fresh ginger
1 tsp. sesame seeds, divided
1/2 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. fresh chives, chopped
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. Sriracha sauce

2 slices sandwich bread, I used Udi's gluten free


In a medium bowl, break up the tuna with a fork. Add the mayonnaise, sesame oil, lemon juice, water chestnuts, soy sauce, ginger, half of the sesame seeds, honey, chives, garlic, pepper and sriracha. And stir until combined.

Serve on sandwich bread and garnish with additional sesame seeds.

Cassie's Notes:
If you can't find wasabi mayonnaise, simply use regular mayo, Greek yogurt or sour cream and add a small amount of wasabi to taste.

I also ate this with a spoon out of the bowl and it was fantastic. I think it would be perfect for serving with veggies, in lettuce wraps, on tortillas or with crackers or pita chips.


  1. Xanthe

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  2. Abdul-Rahim

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  3. Faujar

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  4. Tomlin

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  5. Dirck


  6. Cooley

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