Asian Tuna Salad (LifeCafe)

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A few weeks ago our Lifetime Fitness location hosted a Culinary Night that was sponsored by Toyota, and Michael and I thought it would be fun to see the cooking demonstration, which featured dishes from the LifeCafe. There were plenty of samples to go around and everyone received a handout with recipes, so of course we decided to try some at home.

Of all the things we sampled, our favorite was the popular Asian tuna salad, which the cafe serves on ciabatta rolls or as a green salad topping.

Andrea Meyers - Lifetime Asian Tuna Salad sampleSambal Oelek - Andrea MeyersThe tuna gets a little kick from Sambal Oelek, an Indonesian condiment made from very hot chiles, vinegar, and salt. Sambals vary between countries and regions, and use a variety of chiles, spices, and many other ingredients, so depending on what you have a taste for and what your local Asian grocery store stocks, you can spice up sandwiches and other dishes in dozens of different ways. Just be prepared because this is spicy stuff.

Other samples we tried included the Santa Fe Salad, Southwest Wrap, Turkey Avocado Sandwich, and the Chicken Pesto Pizza, so it’s a good thing we skipped dinner that night.

Andrea Meyers - Lifetime Turkey Avocado sandwiches

[Disclosure: We are paying members of Lifetime Fitness, and the event was free and open to all members. This post is neither sponsored nor endorsed by Lifetime Fitness.]

Asian Tuna Salad (LifeCafe)
Prep time
Total time
Adapted from LifeCafe.
Serves: 6 servings
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek (Indonesian chili paste), or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 4 (6 ounce/170 g) cans tuna, drained and chopped (LifeCafe uses white tuna, we opted for light.)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  1. In the large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, sambal oelek, sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, ginger, kosher salt, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes.
  2. Add the tuna, carrots, green onions, cilantro, and dried cranberries, then toss to mix well. Use as a stuffing for lettuce wraps, tortilla wraps, tomatoes, on top of thick sliced cucumbers, or on top of green salads.
More Information

3-quart mixing bowl

Recipe Notes:

The recipe as distributed at the demonstration yielded a tuna that was much wetter than the version served in the cafe, plus it was much, much spicier, so we adjusted the ingredients amounts to hopefully come closer to the tuna we sampled. The flavor is very good and it makes a delicious stuffing for lettuce wraps, tortillas, tomatoes, on top of cucumber slices for an appetizer, as well as a salad topping. We’ve been stuffing our homegrown heirloom tomatoes with it, and the combination is terrific. Can you guess what kind of tomato is in the photo? It’s Michael’s favorite and we try to grow them every year. Because these tomatoes are sweet, we omit the honey in the tuna and really don’t miss it.

The tuna salad will keep for a day or so, but it tastes best on the day prepared.

More Easy Healthy Seafood Recipes

Andrea Meyers - Fast Fish Tacos with Spicy Chipotle Seasoning Andrea Meyers - Shrimp in Garlic Tapa Andrea Meyers - Miso Marinated Grilled Salmon

More Healthy Tuna Recipes From Around the Blogs

[Disclosure: This blog earns a small commission through affiliate links.]


  1. says

    What a great alternative for that old standby, tuna salad. Loving this! I bet the sambal oelek adds great flavour.

    PS: Thought that was a pumpkin in your picture until I read it was a tomato. Whoops.

  2. jill kron says

    i am THRILLED you have published the recipe for the tuna salad from lifetime! i have been trying to get it for two years!!!! i will let you know how mine turns out….

  3. Bev M. says

    Thank you for publishing recipe, the Asian Tuna salad is every bit as tasty as it is healthy. I’m off to the Asian market, thanks for the secret recipe

  4. traci says

    I half-assed it as i often do (left stuff out, made minor substitutions, eyeballed the measurements, etc.) but still wound up with a lovely dish. Thanks thanks thanks for the recipe! (You know it’s a good recipe if it adapts well to my sloppy cooking ways!)

  5. Kim says

    Thank you very much for this recipe. I eat this at lifetime a lot anf thought it would be great to be able to make this for my family who love spicey dishes. Do you have recipes for the Santa Fe Salad and the Chicken Pesto pizza?

  6. says

    I went to the Berkeley heights club yesterday and heard a women asking for asian tuna salad. Sounded good, tried it and fell in love. Do you use the mayo when making it for them?

  7. Sandy says

    I just ate this at Lifetime Cafe for the first time today – I was so happy to find this recipe – yea!

  8. WhirledNews says

    When I was a member at Lifetime Fitness I would always get the Spicy Tuna lettuce wraps. One day I asked them if I could have the recipe since I liked it so much, and they gave me a copy. I have now altered the recipe to suit my tastes better. I add in chopped celery and more carrots for more crunch, I highly suggest doing this, makes it much better. I leave out the dried cranberries, kosher salt, red pepper flakes and lime juice (that wasn’t on the original recipe). I substitute light mayo (or light miracle whip instead of mayo, grape seed oil instead of sesame oil, and I double up on the Sambol Olek since I like it spicy and add in a bit more soy sauce since I take out the kosher salt.

    Just a few tweeks on the original.

    • says

      Hi Kathy. You can find black sesame seeds at international grocery stores, but of course you can substitute regular toasted sesame seeds.

  9. Kelly K says

    Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe. I had to use regular sesame seed and I did not have sesame oil, but it still turned our great.

  10. annie says

    Just made it! I used less mayo and added a tsp of rice vinegar and a dash of white pepper to make it a little more healthy and add a little kick. It is DANGEROUSLY good, and fun to make! Thank you for the recipe!


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