Tasty Tuna Wraps
For a healthy and fresh option to serve your family, try these fresh tuna-based lettuce wraps for lunch or dinner.
This recipe was inspired by my dad, who loves seared tuna and anything pickled. When we go to a restaurant that has ahi tuna on the menu, nine times out of 10, he is going to order it. Typically, it comes to the table encrusted with black and white sesame seeds and has a perfectly pink center. I knew I could combine his love of fresh tuna and pickles into something he loves. For this recipe, I took a deconstructed approach and turned those ingredients into a lettuce wrap. It is right up his alley!
Instead of the heavy baked potato or cooked vegetables swimming in butter that generally come with seared tuna from a restaurant, I decided to let the tuna shine with a few simple and fresh ingredients. Drizzled with a homemade soy sauce and co-hosted by some pickled onions, this recipe is super healthy and simple to make.
I, like my father, love pickled vegetables. I like pickled okra, beats, asparagus, peppers and most of all – pickled red onions. When sliced thin and marinated overnight, these transform from pungent and crunchy to irresistibly sweet and tangy crisps. The pickled onion recipe I have provided for you goes great on these tuna lettuce wraps, but the onions keep for up to three weeks in the refrigerator and go great on burgers, salads and nachos to name a few. With just six ingredients, they add the perfect amount of pizzaz to these wraps.
If you haven’t used bibb lettuce before, it is the perfect vessel for wraps. Bibb lettuce creates an excellent cup shape, and unlike most crunchy lettuce, it doesn’t snap apart when you fill it or bend it. The flavor is buttery with a slight sweetness, which is fantastic when filled with fresh vegetables, pickled onions, seared tuna and soy sauce.
You can certainly switch up the vegetables if you don’t like carrots and cucumbers. This recipe would be good with avocado and tomatoes too. Or try it with green onions and radishes. You really can’t go wrong with the perfectly seared tuna and pickled onions, as both are quite versatile.
You might want to double the recipe: These are irresistible, and I am sure your family and your belly will want seconds.
Photography by James Stefiuk
- 1 1/2 lbs ahi tuna steak
- 2 carrots julienned
- 1 cucumber julienned
- 1 head bibb lettuce
- tuxedo blend sesame seeds plus some for garnish
- 2 tablespoons sesame Oil plus 1 tablespoon for the tuna steak
- lime wedges for garnish
- 1 small red onion
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 small shallot minced
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger finely grated
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup lime juice
- dash red pepper flakes a little for not too spice, a little more for spicy
- 1/3 cup olive oil
For the wraps
For the Pickled Onions - Make a day ahead
For the Sauce
- Thinly slice the onions (use a mandolin if you have one to get them super thin). Place the onion slices and the garlic clove in a jar with a lid.
- In a small saucepan heat the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt over medium heat. Stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Once cooled, pour the mixture into the jar over the onion slices and garlic clove. Screw the lid on the jar and store in the refrigerator overnight. They will turn bring pink and tender when ready. (The thicker the onion slices the longer it will take for them to be ready).
- In a small bowl, combine the shallot, ginger, soy sauce, lime juice and red pepper flakes. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and set aside. When ready to serve, whisk again to combine.
- Rub the tuna with 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil.
- Pour the sesame seeds on a place or shallow dish and roll the tuna around in the them to coat well. Press them in to help them stick.
- Heat the two remaining tablespoons of sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once it begins to smoke, add the sesame-coated tuna and sear on each side until golden, about 45 seconds per side.
- Remove the tuna from the pan, let it rest 10 minutes and slice thin.
- Assemble the wraps by separating the leaves of bibb lettuce and lay them individually out on plates. Divide the carrot and cucumber pieces into each leaf. Top each with a few pieces of thinly sliced tuna, and pickled onions and drizzle them with sauce.
- Garnish with sesame seeds sprinkled on top and a lime wedge.