This quick and easy Mackerel Salad is a healthy, low-mercury alternative to tuna salad, and is perfect for lettuce wraps and sandwiches, packed lunches and light dinners.
This post is sponsored by King Oscar.
Did you grow up eating tuna salad for lunches?
Of course you did. We all did.
And then maybe, as you got a little older (and possibly a little wiser), you started to hear whispers of ugly words. Words like “unsustainable” and “mercury.”
And then a new thought may have entered your mind– “Maybe I should eat a little bit less tuna.”
If that thought made you sad, I understand.
But I eat it more mindfully, taking care not to eat canned tuna on a daily or weekly basis. And I’m not sad at all about that.
Why not? Because I found canned mackerel.
And guys– canned mackerel is a wonderful substitute for canned tuna. In fact, it’s so delicious in tuna recipes, that now I prefer it to my old standby.
And so, it seemed only fitting to use mackerel to make my former go-to lunch. This mackerel salad is a twist on the classic tuna salad, and is a healthier, more sustainable, and delicious seafood salad.
Mackerel as a Tuna Salad Substitute
“That’s great!” you might think, “but how does it TASTE?”
Canned mackerel has a similar flavor profile to canned tuna. It isn’t exactly the same, but it’s close, and it works well in tuna recipes.
A few of you told me you’ve had bad experiences with canned mackerel. You told me that you bought it in the past, but the smell was off-putting, or the flavor was too strong.
To that I say– Buy better mackerel.
I’ve been using canned mackerel from King Oscar. King Oscar’s gourmet canned mackerel has a light, mild flavor, and is packed in high-quality olive oil. The fish fillets are tender, and easily fall apart into this salad.
How to Make the Best Mackerel Salad
I realize that what goes into a mackerel or tuna salad can be a divisive issue.
A few years back, a friend refused to eat my tuna salad because it had pickle relish in it. (He was horrified.) And the recipe writers at Serious Eats and Epicurious both have strong (and conflicting) opinions on the best tuna sandwich.
But guys– You already know how you like your tuna salad, right?
You can use my recipe here, or swap out your own favorite seafood salad ingredients.
This recipe is for my favorite version of both tuna and mackerel salad. It’s not fussy, but it is delicious, quick, and a fabulous lunch.
The New Classic- Mackerel Salad
For this easy mackerel salad, I used Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise. If you prefer mayo, or are avoiding dairy– mayonnaise works perfectly here. I also used pickle relish, and something sweet– raisins or dried cranberries.
I tested this recipe using oil instead of mayo or yogurt– it was good, but it didn’t taste as much like the tuna salad I was trying to replicate.
This mackerel salad is perfect as a low-carb option, and is delicious on its own or in a lettuce wrap. Or, grab some multi-grain bread, and make yourself an easy seafood sandwich!
- 1 4oz can mackerel, oil drained King Oscar Mackerel recommended
- ⅓ cup greek yogurt or mayo (divided) (Use mayo to stay dairy-free)
- ¼ cup raisins or dried cranberries (optional)
- 2 TB relish, dill or sweet
To Serve (Optional):
- whole grain bread, romaine lettuce, tomato slices, red onion slices, sweet bell pepper slices
- Add the mackerel, half the yogurt or mayo, and any other desired ingredients to a bowl. Use a fork to mix together the ingredients, adding the remaining yogurt or mayo if desired.
- Serve immediately with desired ingredients, or keep chilled for a packed lunch.Leftovers: Store leftover mackerel salad for up to 2-3 days in the fridge.
- More veggies: Add finely diced celery or red onion to the salad
- More protein: Add sunflower seeds
- Add herbs: Add thyme, chopped parsley or green onion