My name is Meredith and I am a hardcore apple fiend; especially during the fall, but basically all year long too. With IBS, though, apples are a definite no-go. It seems I can tolerate them from time to time, but it’s usually safer to avoid them altogether. I’m also a lifelong member of team Miracle Whip (as opposed to regular mayo). It’s that tangy zip! 😉 Alas, Miracle Whip is yet another big N-O, both for IBS and GERD/Acid Reflux. So what is a girl to do to get herself a harvest tuna salad?! (Or a harvest chicken salad, for that matter? – See below for how to swap chicken breast meat for the tuna to transform this into a chicken salad).
Isn’t this essentially the core of the daily struggle faced by those suffering from digestion issues? You have to accept that you won’t be able to have most of the things you ate before your issues began, and then you have to figure out what you can eat that isn’t boring and/or will leave you feeling super sad during and/or after eating it.
After a lot of research and development, I’ve found that the recipe below for harvest tuna salad (or chicken, if desired) most closely resembles the pre-digestion-issues version I used to enjoy. It makes me feel like I’m eating a delicious salad, not just another IBS food item. Plus grapes are part of the fall/harvest season too, right? Or maybe not. Usually grapes enter my body by way of a giant wine glass. Plus, our local grocery stores here have basically every possible fruit/vegetable you could want all year long, so it’s hard to gauge when it’s actually peak season for any given item.
The key with this salad is the combination of the lowfat mayonnaise with the blended (lactose free) cottage cheese. The cottage cheese it not only much lower in fat than mayonnaise (even the lowfat variety of mayonnaise is fairly fatty) but also adds some additional protein, which makes this salad a well-rounded dish that could serve as a meal on its own. Typically, though, I put it on some fresh thinly sliced sourdough bread, which is delish! It’s a great pre or post workout snack too.
This salad is easily converted to a chicken salad by swapping 10oz of cooked chicken breasts for the tuna. I’ve made it both ways and love them both, though I do prefer chicken salad in general. When I make it as chicken salad, I use breast meat from a rotisserie chicken because they have such an amazing flavor. If you use plain cooked chicken I can’t say how it would taste since I’ve only ever used rotisserie chicken. Either way you make it, though, be sure to let the salad sit overnight before eating it so the flavors combine. If you don’t wait, there will be hardly any flavor and you’ll say “what a crappy recipe!” So let it sit overnight, please.
Harvest Tuna Salad
- 3 Tbsp. pecan halves (for nutritional information below, I used 20g of pecans)
- 2 cans (6oz each) solid white albacore tuna (drained)
- 1/4 cup+1 Tbsp. Low-fat mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup blended lactose-free cottage cheese (see post here for how to blend cottage cheese
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom (use a scarce 1/4 tsp. You basically want in between 1/8 tsp. and 1/4 tsp. Cardamom has a pretty strong flavor, so you don't want to overdo it)
- 1+1/2 Tbsp. fresh chives (chopped)
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries (For IBS/Low FODMAP eating, you must not use more than 48g)
- 1 cup (150g) red seedless grapes (rinsed and quartered/halved, depending on size of the grapes)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a small baking sheet with foil and grease lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Spread the pecans out on the pan in a single layer and bake in the preheated oven for ~5 minutes, until toasted and fragrant. Once done, remove from oven immediately.
Note: Watch the pecans closely, as they scorch very easily. As soon as you smell them, they're probably done.
- Place the tuna in a small mixing bowl and break up with a fork. Then, add in all other ingredients and mix to thoroughly combine.
- Allow this tuna salad to sit overnight to allow the flavors to blend before serving/eating. If you don't, and instead eat it the first day, it will taste bland.
- Salad will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
*Information above is based on the specific brands/types of ingredients I used. Values vary if using any other brands/types of ingredients.*
*The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.*