Every January, I set ambitious goals for myself. I chase them in earnest for a few weeks. Then, before I even realize what’s happened, it’s March and many of my good intentions have evaporated beneath the pressures of everyday day life. This year, I’m trying a new tactic. At the end of each month, I’m taking five minutes to ask myself what worked, what didn’t, and what I’d like to stop, start, or continue doing the next month. On the list for what worked in January and will continue as long as I need to get dinner on the table: Avocado Tuna Cakes.
Goals I set for myself in the kitchen this year include cutting down on our monthly grocery bill, going meatless twice per week (thank you, Avocado Egg Salad), and eating seafood two to three times per week.
The meatless meal part has been easy—if you need some suggestions, you can check out the vegetarian section of my recipe index—but seafood portion has been harder, especially since I live in landlocked Wisconsin.
Good-quality, fresh seafood, while it’s certainly available, is fairly expensive, and it still feels like more of a splurge versus something to be enjoyed several nights a week.
Then I remembered an important ingredient that was a staple in my pantry my first few years out of college—canned tuna.
About These Tasty Tuna Cakes
I know what you are thinking: canned tuna? This is a food blog, and she is suggesting canned tuna?
And the answer is yes. Yes, I absolutely am.
Canned tuna (just like canned salmon in Salmon Croquettes) is an incredibly easy, healthy, and budget-friendly way to enjoy seafood. It’s low in fat, high in protein, and, thanks to recipes like these avocado tuna cakes, it’s delicious too!
Now, I will say that not all canned tuna is created equal.
Like in my Tuna Pasta Salad, you want to look for tuna that’s meaty, comes in good-sized chunks, and that (despite being from a can) tastes relatively fresh.
If you feel hesitant about canned tuna, avocado tuna cakes are a great place to start.
Just like this Shrimp Burger, they’re crispy on the outside, moist and creamy on the inside, and include plenty of fresh ingredients to keep them bright and light.
And if you already regularly rely on canned tuna as a fast, healthy way to get your protein? You are going to love these baked tuna cakes too!
Avocado Tuna Cakes—A Nutritional Powerhouse
The combo of avocado and tuna provides double the source of omega-3s (which are part of the reason the U.S. 2016 Dietary Guidelines advise Americans to eat two to three servings of seafood per week), and it makes the tuna cakes extra filling and juicy too. (These Salmon Burgers are also a great source of omega-3s.)
A splash of lime, handful of cilantro, and dash of hot sauce give the patties a zippy Southwest flair.
Finally, because the tuna patties are baked, there is very little clean-up, AND the entire recipe can be on the table in less than 30 minutes. We have a keeper! (Not feeling tuna? Try this Salmon Patty Recipe!)
How to Serve These Tuna Cakes
- On a Bun. Ben had his tuna cakes burger-style on a pretzel bun topped with Greek yogurt and more avocado and salsa,
- On Greens. while I preferred mine on top of greens. I warmed up the leftovers the next day with cheese.
- With Fries. A side of Crispy Baked Fries, Grilled Sweet Potato Fries, or Parmesan Parsnip Fries would all go well with tuna cakes (or this Italian Tuna Salad).
No matter how you enjoy them, these easy avocado tuna cakes are a simple, tasty way to introduce more seafood into your diet—and to land a healthy meal on the table more quickly tonight.
Avocado Tuna Cakes
For the Avocado Tuna Cakes:
- 1 medium ripe avocado peeled and pitted
- 10 ounces solid white albacore tuna in water drained (look for wild caught)
- 1/4 cup seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce plus additional to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg
Optional, for Serving:
- Whole wheat hamburger buns toasted whole wheat bread, or a bed of mixed greens
- Sliced avocado cheese, plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, cilantro, salsa
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, lightly mash the avocado. Add the tuna, bread crumbs, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, hot sauce, garlic powder, salt, and egg. Mix until the ingredients are fairly well combined. (It's ok if the mixture is a little clumpy.)
- Form into 6 patties, then arrange the patties on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, flip, then continue baking until the outsides are lightly crisp and the cakes are cooked through, about 10 additional minutes. Enjoy warm.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat.
- If you’d like to make the recipe gluten free, use gluten-free bread crumbs. You could also swap ground gluten-free rolled oats. (I haven’t tried either, but I think both would work nicely.)
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