Recipe Time! Juliet’s Tarragon Date Tuna Salad

Shabbat Shalom! What a week. Let’s unwind with a recipe!

Juliet is reemerging here on the blog to continue with her theme of canned seafood, kicked off by her famous Clam Spaghetti. Trust me, you want to read on for this one! Juliet just pulled this out of her shapely behind one day and it blew my mind—it’s a tuna salad, but elevated to level: 10. Sweet and salty and crunchy and filling and versatile. Top shelf work. Take it away, Juliet!

Juliet’s Tarragon Date Tuna Salad

Since moving in with Daniel, certain aspects of the traditional husband-wife dynamic have infected my thinking with an unsettling quickness. For example, Daniel generally forgets to eat while he’s working on a project (read: continuously), and I, in my newfound wifely consternation, cannot allow this to happen. 

Enter canned fish.

When I first arrived in Kingston, Daniel and I would crack open a can of sardines around 6pm and shovel them into our mouths, crushing a sleeve of Ritz in the process. For me, the pre-dinner snack was an indulgence; for Daniel, rather, it was a matter of survival, as he’d been sanding floors all day on an empty stomach. I realized that — for the good of the family — it would be wise to have something a little more exciting on hand so that my darling dizzy husband might be inspired to, ya know, do lunch.

I love a traditional deli tuna salad with mayo, but I like a fancy one even better. If you’re not a fan of tarragon, feel free to replace with fresh dill or thyme (or both). Any of the aforementioned herbs will complement the sweetness of the dates and the punch of the dijon and capers. If you use water-packed tuna, be prepared to compensate with more olive oil. This tuna salad is great on its own — or on Ritz crackers — but atop a bed of arugula with some shaved parmesan? Or as a tuna melt with gouda or gruyere? In a tomato with a sprinkle of Maldon? Honestly, your marriage counselor is out of a job.


2 ribs celery, chopped small
6-7 dates, pitted and chopped small
1 tbsp (heaping) of capers, roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh tarragon leaves, crushed and roughly chopped
Handful of parsley, roughly chopped
15-18 oz (3 small cans) of tuna packed in olive oil
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt and another 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper; more to taste
1/2 cup olive oil


In a large bowl, combine celery, dates, capers, and herbs. Add tuna. Stir in smoked paprika, dijon, S&P, and olive oil until well combined; taste and add more oil and S&P if desired.

About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

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  1. 9.4.20
    Maritza said:

    She is a marvel!

  2. 9.4.20
    Chrissy said:

    Huh. Never would have thought about dates with tuna. Sounds awesome. Thanks!

  3. 9.4.20

    Tarragon is criminally under used in this country. I will die on this hill.

  4. 9.4.20
    Susan said:

    Love hearing from Julia – I was worried she left without a goodbye. She is a member of the family.

  5. 9.4.20
    Tammi said:

    This is the family dynamic I’m here for… can’t wait to try this!

  6. 9.4.20
    Claudia said:

    An unusual and inventive combo of flavours! Thanks for sharing, I’m always on the hunt for easy and delicious meals :-)

  7. 9.4.20
    mary christine uebbing said:

    And you’ve got a room-mate with a sense of humor in addition to kitchen skills! Wasn’t sure if she was still there; sadly, no clubs in the city open anytime soon.

  8. 9.4.20
    Judith said:

    This sounds really tasty, thank you for sharing, Juliet!

    Only recently have I realized that for my eating habits, it is a big plus to have some sort of self made salad-variation (not green ones) on hand. Otherwise I tend to eat more carbs than does me good, and also tend to put off eating/preparing something to eat until way too late (and too hungry).

    I kinda started by accident, when I prepared a two-bean-feta salad for a friend’s party, that then got canceled at the last minute. Trying to fob off some of it on my neighbour didn’t work (can’t have beans), so I ate off that salad for five days. And loved it! And I got some veggie stuff along with some good protein instead of just putting butter on a piece of bread. Though I also recently started to have organic carrots on hand to mindlessly munch along with it also, which I like to tell myself helps on the health front.

    The salad’s super easy:
    – one big glass or big tin of green beans
    – two regular tins of kidney beans
    – a packet of feta cheese (it’s about the size of my palm plus the first phalanx, and try not to buy the cow’s milk kind)
    – medium onion
    – mustard (tsp), pepper, salt, savory, balsamico vinegar, olive oil

    Drain and rinse the beans.
    Cut or break the feta into small pieces.
    Cut onion fairly fine.

    Mix together with the mustard etc., to taste. I like to use a lot of savory (I also had to look up the word “savory” and sure hope it’s right, in my language it’s basically called “bean herb”).
    The balsamico vinegar can be replaced with apple cider vinegar if someone has to avoid fructose (like my friend ”“ and yes, despite the apple in the name it works, because the fruit sugars are fermented away or something), but it’s tastier with balsamico.

    Prepare in advance if you mind the tinned green beans taste, it fades.
    Great tasting and easy salad to bring to barbecues and other get-togethers, or just to feed yourself without much prep time.

  9. 9.4.20
    Caitlin said:

    This came at a bizarrely perfect time for me. I just bought a bunch of canned tuna at Costco in an attempt (vain attempt?) to eat healthier lunches and I was running low on ideas for spicing it up – and now I have several! You two are killing it.

  10. 9.4.20
    Kristen said:

    This looks fab! My boyfriend is allergic to eggs so mayo is not an option—and we love celery, capers and dates. Will try soon.

  11. 9.5.20
    SPaine said:

    Just made this today for lunch. Excellent! I used tuna in water, as that’s what I had on hand, but it came out wonderfully flavorful, regardless. The pops of sweetness from the dates are very tasty.

  12. 9.6.20
    KCF said:

    I love Juliet’s voice!! Great addition to the family/blog!

  13. 9.7.20
    Julia said:

    This sounds delicious! I love tuna, I love dates and I love capers, so this goes on my dinner list for this week. You don”˜t have a brother with the same cooking skills to be my husband, do you? :-)

  14. 9.8.20
    Stephanie Zell said:

    count me in on loving some canned fish. this recipe sounds great…except for the celery, get that gross crunchy green shit away from me ;)

  15. 9.16.20
    Anne marie said:

    Love this post. Seriously considering naming my daughter Juliet.