I love it when I can produce a “wow” factor around food. “Wow” that is gorgeous, or “Wow” this tastes fantastic. The presentation of this Ahi Tuna Salad with an Asian flair is stunning in all its color and texture. The seared tuna is like butter that melts in your mouth. But the flavors that highlight this dish and bring it all together are the Asian salad dressing combined with the peanut sauce.
As someone who loves to cook, I’m most gratified when I know that someone else will be enjoying whatever it is I’m preparing. Of course, I love to eat it myself, but the full satisfaction comes when I hear the oooh’s, ahhh’s, and mmmm’s around my table. And when I serve this Asian Tuna Salad, it’s like music to my ears. The heart and soul of any cook is the sheer delight of seeing someone else indulge in their food.
Why I love this Asian Seared Tuna Salad:
There’s so much “healthiness” going on in this salad. Because of the copious amount of fresh veggies thrown in, this salad is compacted with a surplus of nutrients.
The salad bursts with a collection of colors and is arranged as an exhibition of beauty. There’s nothing like the vivid attraction of raw vegetables on a plate. This dish shows off the vibrant colors of purple, red, orange, and green and then, of course, the beautiful pink interior of the raw tuna. It’s a masterpiece.The Ahi Tuna is seared to perfection for a melt-in-your-mouth encounter. Tuna is the “crown jewel” of this salad. Simply seasoned with salt and pepper, coated with both white and black sesame seeds, then quickly seared, the tuna transforms this salad into a delectable entrée.
An Asian vinaigrette and peanut sauce make this salad pop with flavor. A salad is only as good as its “dressing.” And let me tell ya, this dressing is GOOD!! There are bold tastes in both the vinaigrette and peanut sauce. But when combined, they’re accentuated.
This salad can literally be thrown together in less than 20 minutes, seared tuna and all. Such an easy painless process with results that’ll have you making it time and again for both the flavor and the ease.
How to Know what Tuna to Buy
When looking for tuna to sear, you want really good quality. Ahi Tuna, which is actually called yellowfin or bigeye (the more expensive of the two) is what you need to choose. Yellowfin has a more mild taste and a firm texture and is the one I grab when shopping. The yellowfin ahi tuna steaks have always turned out spectacular for me when I make them.
“Wild Caught” vs “Farm-raised”
Pay attention to the label when purchasing your ahi tuna and make sure it says “wild-caught” and not “farm-raised.” According to a Colorado State University site “farm-raised fish tend to have a higher instance of disease due to farming conditions.” Whether it’s shrimp, salmon, cod, trout, or any other type of fish, I always choose “wild-caught.”
“Frozen” vs “Thawed behind the counter”
If I was fortunate enough to live near the ocean, fresh fish straight off the boat would be my #1 pick. But if you live in the middle of the United States ((like me) you have to resort to the freezer section. I never pick thawed fish at the counter, because basically, it is the same as the frozen. They just open a package and set it out to thaw. Therefore, I have no idea how long it’s been sitting on the ice behind that glass.
Safe Ways to Thaw Ahi Tuna Steaks
Never, never, never set fish out on the counter to thaw. It’s a sure way to invite bacteria. Refrigeration is the safest means of thawing fish. Remove the frozen tuna from the vacuum-sealed package and place the steaks on a plate covered with foil or plastic wrap while it’s defrosting. Place it in the refrigerator and thaw for at least 12 hours.
Another safe way to thaw your tuna is a cold water bath. Remove the frozen tuna from the vacuum-sealed package and place it in an airtight plastic ziplock bag. Then place the tuna in a large bowl of ice-cold water and let them sit for one hour. You’ll want to change the water after about 30 minutes, making sure it is consistently cold.
Prepping the Tuna
Remove the tuna from the packages and dry them with paper towels. Sprinkle onto a plate enough black and white sesame seeds to coat each side of the tuna steaks. Then generously season each of them with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (sorry, the photo doesn’t show them seasoned, just with sesame seeds). That’s the extent of prepping. It’s that simple.
How to Perfectly Pan Sear Ahi Tuna Steaks
Don’t be intimidated by this fish. It’s seriously one of the easiest and quickest dishes you can prepare. You will literally have it in and out of the cast iron pan in two minutes. When I first started making seared tuna, I was tempted to cook it longer which always resulted in a tough piece of fish and it ruined what could’ve been an amazing piece of tuna.
The trick is to use an oil that can withstand high heat, therefore I chose grapeseed oil. Heat the oil in the pan to almost smoking before you add the tuna steak. Cook it on high for ONE minute (honestly), turn it over for ONE more minute and “Voila,” a perfectly seared piece of tuna that will melt in your mouth.
The Foundation of this Asian Ahi Tuna Salad
The foundation of this salad is several handfuls of the spring greens mix. Of course, you could use any greens that you prefer, but I found this to be hearty enough to carry the weight of all the goodies on top. This package has a variety of greens that add to the overall appeal of the dish. And could it be any simpler? You open the bag and grab what you need.
A Pinwheel of Color
They say we eat with our eyes first and I wholeheartedly agree. You can toss all the ingredients together, but I love to design it as a colorful pinwheel with red bell peppers, carrots, edamame, red cabbage, peanuts, and rice noodles. All the colors and textures make this salad truly pop with excitement.
The last step in building this salad is to slice the seared tuna steaks about 1/2-inch thick and arrange them on top of the veggies in a circular pattern.
Vinaigrette adds an Asian Flair
At a glance, the ton of ingredients for making the Asian vinaigrette can seem a little overwhelming. But you’ll have most of the ingredients either in your pantry or refrigerator. Forget the bottles of salad dressing sitting on your grocery store shelf. Once you begin making your own, you will never return to that shelf again. Making them yourself really is quick and quite easy.
A basic vinaigrette recipe starts with 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil. The one here uses both rice vinegar, soy sauce and a smidgen of lemon juice. These ingredients along with toasted sesame oil and grapeseed oil create a nice Asian flare. Then I flavor it with fresh ginger and garlic and a sweet touch of honey. The finishing touch for both texture and appearance is the black and white sesame seeds. This vinaigrette can sit in your refrigerator for one week.
Spicy Peanut Sauce
The vinaigrette seems incomplete on this salad without the spicy peanut sauce. It’s the combination of both that delivers depth and enthusiastic flavor. In my opinion, these together are what truly make the salad “sing!”
The peanut sauce is beyond amazing if I say so myself! It brings a rich peanut flavor that’s intertwined with Tabasco, teriyaki sauce, and toasted sesame oil then slightly sweetened with honey. It goes GREAT with my Beef Satay dish.
Now, I’m ready to make the “wow” happen. It’s time to invite some friends over, serve this luscious salad with a light Rosé wine and watch the evening unfold into happiness. What could be better?
Here are some other amazing salad recipes for you to try.
Watermelon Arugula Salad
Blood Orange Arugula Salad with Feta and Kalamata Olives
Fresh Peach Arugula Salad with Prosciutto and BlueberriesPrint
Crunchy Asian Seared Tuna Salad with Peanut Sauce
Crunchy Asian Seared Tuna Salad with Peanut Sauce is brimming with color, texture, and flavor. The tuna is like butter that melts in your mouth. Asian Dressing and Peanut sauce top this salad with yumminess.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 minutes
- Total Time: 17 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Salad
- Method: No Cooking
- Cuisine: A
- 5 tablespoons Peanut Butter
- 3 tablespoons Teriyaki Sauce
- 3 tablespoons Water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Hot Sauce (like Tabasco)
- 3 tablespoons Raw Honey
- 1 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
- 2 tablespoons Rice Vinegar
- 1 tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 3 tablespoons Honey
- 1 tablespoon Fresh Ginger, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon Garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
- 2 tablespoons Toasted Sesame Oil
- 1/2 cup Grapeseed Oil
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoon Black and White Sesame Seeds
Asian Arugula Salad with Seared Ahi Tuna Steaks
- Grapeseed Oil, to cover 1/2 inch of the bottom of cast iron pan
- 4 Ahi Tuna Steaks
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- Black and White Sesame Seeds, for coating Tuna
- Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper, season generously
- 4 cups Spring Mix
- 3/4 cup Edamame, shelled
- 3/4 cup Carrots, shredded
- 3/4 cup Red Cabbage, shredded
- 3/4 cup Red Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup Lightly Salted Peanuts, coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cup Rice Noodles
- Combine peanut butter, Teriyaki Sauce, and water in a medium size microwavable dish.
- Heat in the microwave on medium for about 1 minute.
- Whisk in the raw honey, hot sauce, and sesame oil. Set aside.
- In the food processor combine the rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic, and lemon juice.
- Start the food processor and let it run as you slowly drizzle in the sesame oil and grapeseed oil.
- Remove to a small serving bowl and whisk in green onions and sesame seeds.
- Serve Immediately or refrigerate up to a week.
Seared Tuna Salad
- Coat the tuna steaks with olive oil and generously salt and pepper each.
- Combine the black and white sesame seeds in a saucer and coat top and bottom of tuna with the sesame seeds.
- Add the grapeseed oil to cover 1/2 inch of the bottom of a cast iron pan and heat over high heat until it begins to smoke.
- Add each tuna steak and cook for 1 minute. You will be tempted to cook it longer but the best way to sear tuna is very quickly.
- Turn and cook for 1 more minute and remove from the oil and let sit to cool slightly. Cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch strips.
- In a salad serving bowl, add the spring mix salad.
- In a pinwheel design add the edamame, carrots, red cabbage, red pepper, peanuts and rice noodles.
- Place the seared tuna slices on top the salad in a circular pattern.
- Serve with the Asian Vinaigrette and the Peanut Sauce.
- When looking for tuna to sear, you want really good quality. Ahi Tuna, which is actually called yellowfin or bigeye (the more expensive of the two) is what you need to choose.
- Pay attention to the label when purchasing your ahi tuna and make sure it says “wild caught” and not “farm raised.”
- I never pick thawed fish at the counter, because basically, it is the same as the frozen. They just open a package and set it out to thaw.
- Never, never, never set fish out on the counter to thaw. It’s a sure way to invite bacteria.
- Refrigeration is the safest means of thawing fish. Remove the frozen tuna from the vacuum-sealed package and place the steaks on a plate covered with foil or plastic wrap while defrosting. Place it in the refrigerator and thaw for at least 12 hours.
- Another safe way to thaw your tuna is a cold water bath. Remove the frozen tuna from the vacuum-sealed package and place it in an airtight plastic ziplock bag. Then place the tuna in a large bowl of ice-cold water and let them sit for one hour. You’ll want to change the water after about 30 minutes, making sure it is consistently cold.
- The trick is to use an oil that can withstand high heat, therefore I chose grapeseed oil. Heat the oil in the pan to almost smoking before you add the tuna steak.
- Serving Size: 4 Salads
- Calories: 579
- Sugar: 16 g
- Sodium: 600 mg
- Fat: 29 g
- Saturated Fat: 4 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 18 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 36 g
- Fiber: 6 g
- Protein: 45 g
- Cholesterol: 63 mg
Keywords: seared tuna salad, Ahi tuna salad, seared Ahi tuna recipe, Asian Vinaigrette, Asian salad recipe, spicy peanut sauce
The combination of flavors in this recipe are amazing. Your photos turned out nice.
mimi rippee says
Yum. This is almost like an Asian Nicoise salad. well, not really. Anyway, I love the tuna – not overcooked especially, and the two dressing look and sound fabulous. Printing all of this. thanks!
Kristy Murray says
Mimi … you’re so kind for stopping by and leaving a comment. If you try the tuna salad, please let me know what you think. The peanut sauce and the vinaigrette really do top this salad perfectly.
Hi, I’m going to try this recipe tomorrow. Do you do something to the rice noodles? I noticed they look fried or something?
Kristy Murray says
Hi Kim. The rice noodles are just out of the can. I usually pick up a can of LaChoy. I hope you enjoy the salad. It is one of my favorites!
Lauren Frankenbach says
Do you make the 2 dressings as an option for people or do you use the Asian dressing to dress the greens and put the peanut sauce on top?
Kristy Murray says
Hi Lauren, thanks so much for stopping by. The dressing and the peanut sauce are designed to go together because their combination in my opinion is what really brings the salad together. You can add the dressing to the salad and top it with the peanut sauce or you can mix both the dressing and the sauce together and either dress the salad yourself or set it on the side for people to add it themselves. Let me know what you think of the salad if you make it.
Absolutely fantastic recipe! The vinaigrette and peanut sauce are delicious. We also added chopped cucumber. The flavours and textures work together so well and I think this would make a great side salad without the tuna. Will definitely make this again and again!
Kristy Murray says
Hi Jackie. Oh I love the idea of adding chopped cucumber. It would definitely work as a side salad. Thanks so much for sharing.