Monday, April 17, 2006

Tuno Take Two

You know, if I never tried anything again after not liking it the first time, I wouldn't be eating tofu today. So despite our horrid experience with Tuno, here we are giving it another shot! Shmoo continued to ask about Tuno each time we went to the store, and although tofu and chickpea salad sandwiches are nice, they just didn't seem fishy enough to make him happy. I think seeing one of his close friends eating the real thing in class each week has kept it in his mind (speaking not as a vegan but as a mother, I am shocked to see so that so many parents still feed their kids tuna; I worry about mercury contamination, but perhaps news of the risk is just not getting out there to most parents?).
So we gave Tuno another go, trying it here at home over spring break before putting it in the lunch box. I heeded the advice of a trusted friend and Tuno enthusiast, and rinsed the Tuno extremely well under cold running water and let it drain (this is so key). Then I mixed it with just a small dab of Vegenaise and nothing else. Many of you recommended pickle, but shmoo is strongly anti-pickle. I spread the Tuno salad on half a wheat roll and packed with lightly blanched fresh green beans, organic tater tots, and an organic raspberry fruit leather.
Verdict: Tuno, you have indeed redeemed yourself and I'm sorry for all the bad things I said about you. After rinsing and draining it, it really does taste and look like tunafish! Shmoo was happy to finally have a sandwich just like his friend's, and ate every last bite of his lunch. 5 stars.

68 comments:

Bethany said...

Yeah for Tuno! It's funny how how a minor detail like rinsing can make such a huge difference!

Mistrmind said...

The mercury contamination is a myth.
I've been eating tuna since I was schmoo's age and I suffer from no ill effects.

LadyRachelLynn said...

Glad you like it. I, uh umm, can't get past the smell. The taste is fine, but the smell, ugh.

Have you seen the frozen stuff?

veglandia said...

I have also enjoyed tuno with avocado as a great filling for sushi - my kids love it- Randy

lizzie lou said...

i may have to give tuno another try, too...

i have to disagree about mercury contamination being a myth, although it is much safer to eat canned light tuna rather than canned albacore (sorry, this may seem completely inappropriate on a vegan site, but good to know for those of us whose families eat fish!).

* audrey * said...

yikes.. i'm a little scared to eat tuna now. i eat canned tuna every now and then, but i'm an avid sushi eater and i loove spicy tuna rolls. maybe not so much anymore :( i already have too many problems with my memory (maybe all the tuna i ate as a child??) thanks for the heads up.
shmoo's lunch looks yummy as always. even though i'm not a vegetarian or vegan, i find myself very addicted to this site and starting to eat alot more veggie dishes (and everytime i make something that's vegan i think of this site)
ack! sorries for the long post!!

Muse said...

Hmm... well, since the smell of tuna already makes me nauseous (sp), I think I'll pass this Tuno up :) Even if it is a better version ;)

Anyone else (in pre-veg days) never really like fish to start with??

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

I eat my tuna/o with green olives. Something worth a try if Shmoo likes olives. :)

Sue said...

I tried tuno a couple of times (used to really like tuna in pre-veg days) but it just skeeves me. I think tofu, tempeh, and/or beans make much better sandwich fillings. Still, I'm glad tuno is out there for others to try.

Muse said...

Just wanted to add... Like sue said above... I'm glad this alternative is available for those who like tuna :)
Didn't mean to rain on the parade of fishiness :)

Meg said...

I'm interested to try Tuno; where can I get it? I really liked tuna sandwiches as an omni and I kind of miss them...

College Vegan Athlete said...

Yay- I'm so glad that Tuno take two, turned out better. I'm definitely an advocate of giving everything (and everyone) a second try. I too have been wary of tuno, and have only made the homemade chickpea and tofu version. Schmoo was definitely right about it missing the fishy taste. I'm just wondering if anyone has tried the eggless egg salad from Trader Joes. I came across it this weekend and am curious to give it a try, but would love some feedback from those of you who have eaten it, before I buy it. Or Jennifer, have you ever made vegan egg salad from scratch? Thanks!

SeĆ²na said...

I don't know if this has been mentioned before, but I've heard that frozen Tuno is much, much better than the canned Tuno. I can't vouch for that personally because I've never tried it - never was a fan of fishy things. Blech.

MommaSchell said...

I don't like Tuno. Not even a little. It's pretty much the only vegan food that I have tried that I don't like -- at all. I make my own "tu-NOT" salad with very, very ground-up cooked garbanzo beans, dulse (sea vegetable), celery, onion, sweet pickle relish, and Vegenaise. I always have to make a double batch because it tastes very, very similar to the real thing. It's incredible stuffed in tomatoes and without the Vegenaise I use it in "Tu-NOT" noodle casserole with noodles, frozen peas and portbello mushroom soup.

Shananigans said...

Yeah Shmoo, pickles are icky! I am very open to and enjoy a lot of things, and sometimes like your experience with Tuno I will try something I hated the first time if it’s been prepared differently, but I’ve tried enough pickles in my day to know that I absolutely hate them all. Ok, sorry about the pickle rant, as you can see I’m quite passionate about my anti-pickle stance…LoL!

And uh, mistrmind, has it occurred to you that (depending on your age) it is very possible that we have poisoned our environment sufficiently since you were a child that the effects and consequences of eating certain sea foods may have changed quite a bit since your day? Just a thought. And also, basing beliefs on one piece of anecdotal evidence? Notoriously erroneous.

couscouscaboose said...

To reply to muse's question about liking fish before going veg - I never liked it either. I did like tuna but that was the only fish I would touch.

I'm afraid to try Tuno ... I use pre-made stuff (you can buy it at many health food stores) called "Stedda Tuna." It's really good.

Emily said...

mercury in fish... I have to say, I am not vegan or even veg but I love your blog! I do also love veggies. LOL We eat tuna in moderation. Only the chunk and not the albacore, and only 2-3 times a month. I was just listening to a really interesting debate about fish and mercury and children on NPR last week.

appifanie said...

tuno SCARES me!! :D pickles, however, are my good friend. and not just cause i'm pg :)

glad shmoo liked it this time!! if i ever feel the need for tuno, i'll try it rinsed :)

emilytrik said...

i've been told many times from various people (doctor included) that for the amount that most people eat, tuna is not going to cause you problems.

while it's a serious concern, like many things, i think people have gone a little neurotic about it. people abandon the fish, forgetting that with the bad, you're also missing out on the good.

but i guess if you don't eat fish, it's not a huge concern. likely healthier too, if you can get the goodness that fish provides another way.

despite all the bad things i've heard about tuno, that sandwich doesn't look half bad

Ben said...

I must be some kind of freak:

I LOVE TUNO.

There, I said it.

Tuno casserole! Yes. My whole family likes it.

I haven't been able to find it our usual markets for months now.

Tara said...

Anyone else (in pre-veg days) never really like fish to start with??

Actually fish was the one thing that was hard for me to give up. I never liked any other meats, even when I was really young.

I still kind of miss tuna sometimes so now that there's a positive review for Tuno I'll definitely have to try that!

Karlie said...

Although you're right that there's definitely mercury contamination in many fish, the problem occurs when you consume it as a main part of your diet (like some Inuit and Asian populations). As long as you moderate your large-fish (by size of the fish) consumption they've shown it you won't suffer any ill effects. In fact, it's more dangerous to sautee with olive oil than eat tuna, because at high temperatures olive oil develops very dangerous carcinogens.

My your lunches are always marvelous looking! I'm inspired to buy either a laptop lunchbox or a Mr. Bento lunch jar for work this summer.

PadmeSkywalker said...

I registered just so I could keep on posting! :)

What a yummy looking lunch!

Golden said...

college vegan athlete (or anyone else with that recipe)....can you send me that chickpea tuna like recipe if you get a chance?
Thanks!

goldenbryant @ comcast . net

krispycheks said...

I wonder if my cat would like that. He used to eat tuna with my husband on occaision when we were omnis. It was so rare and so long ago yet I can't open a can without him running in the kitchen, yelling his head off! One of my other cats loves soy bacon so I may have to give this a try...

sagansmom said...

I am wondering if the longer you have not eaten tuna, the more this tastes like tuna?? I am new to the whole vegan thing, and some of the "fake" stuff just makes me wanna gag. I guess because I still have the "real" stuff in my tongue memory bank. LOL
Maybe if I wait a few years, and give it a try it would taste better.
I have to say, Jennifer, that we eat at least one of your meals each week since I found your blog. Our favorite is the fondue! What a great idea! I get loads of vegetables in the kids! Thank you!

zria said...

I think it's better when you clean it with cold water & place in the fridge the night before it is consumed.

Melissa said...

Someone mentioned the olive oil as a potential carcinogen if used to saute...

We do saute with olive oil so I did a tad of research and found this:

http://app1.chinadaily.com.cn/star/
2001/0719/bz11-1.html

Is this different than the study/research/etc. that you (all) know about?

Stefania Pomponi Butler aka CityMama said...

I also agree that the canned tuna mercury issue, while serious, needs to be put into perspective. Canned "chunk light" tuna is skipjack tuna (a smaller tuna which has been found to contain lower levels of mercury). Obviously any large fish that eats other fish is a mercury concern, but eating canned tuna (as long as it's not albacore) 1-2x month is probably ok (if you are a tuna-eater).

this article is interesting:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/06/19/MN257163.DTL

Having said that, I wanted to add that I love your blog. You've inspired me to go vegan for a month and I am writing about it on Slashfood on Tuesday and Saturdays. Here is the first week's wrap-up:

http://www.slashfood.com/2006/04/15/going-vegan-week-one-wrap-up/

Dana Y. T. Lin said...

I actually had high levels of mercury in me due to my fillings from waaaaay back when that really affected my thryoid - so I'm very careful now of tuna and whatever stuff out there that might increase my mercury level.

I think I'll give Tuno a try because I actually love tuna sandwiches, but have been afraid of the mercury.

robiewankenobie said...

do you really, honestly, and truly promise me that the tuno is good after rinsing? 'cause it 'bout killed me dead the first time (and last) that i ate it. its vileness is etched in my memory.

Cee said...

Ahh, rinsing and draining, that makes sense. I haven't had Tuno in years. I tried it many different times and many different ways. It alwasy sucked, lol. A couple of months ago I threw out a can of Tuno that had been in my cuboard for YEARS. I didn't plan on ever trying it again. It was very old so it probably wasn't any good anyway.

Maybe I will try it again too, sometime...

Glad Schmoo like it and felt like one of the gang with his classmates. Someday he will realize how special his lunches are. But it is hard to understand that when you are seven.

Monica said...

After hearing a very sad rumor that Tuno wasn't going to be made anymore, I emailed the company and confirmed that they will no longer market this product. I am totally bummed because I LOVE Tuno casserole and Tuno salad sandwiches.

R2K said...

Love the tuna :)

R2K

Carla said...

CVAthlete: I make my own homemade egg salad. Basically diced tofu (I use extra firm, and I boil it first, which is another debate...), vegannaise, dijon mustard, some pickle relish, tumeric, salt & pepper, diced onion, and maybe some parsley flakes and a sprinkle of paprika. Basically, take any egg salad recipe and use the tofu and tumeric in place of the eggs, and the vegan mayo instead of regular. Boom. Instant faux egg salad. I love it, and I'm not huge fan of tofu, and I used to love "real" egg salad. This is close enough to satisfy me. I think the key, however, is using vegannaise and not nayonnaise, but maybe that's personal preference.

peas n onions said...

Anyone else (in pre-veg days) never really like fish to start with??

I have always hated anything fishy--I even have problems w/ seaweed!

However, I did eat tuna, but it wasn't hard to give up.

Great lunch, Jennifer!

krispycheks said...

In reference to the comment about whether your palate adjusts and forgets flesh meat tastes:

This weekend we took some omni friends to a vegan restaurant. My husband made a comment about the mock chicken tasting just like chicken and our friends looked at us like we were crazy. But it's been so long, I guess we don't remember, which I'm glad. But your palate really does adjust. I remember actually being scared to try seitan and now I love it. I think part of it has to do with the kinds of taste buds you use as an omni compared to being veggie. Foods seem to taste more vibrant to me now, where as when I ate the same foods as an omni I "needed" to doctor up the foods to make them taste good. I think your buds become more sensitive to the finer flavors.

MacroGal said...

Jennifer - I love this site so much and check it far more times a day than I would care to admit. I recently started a (macrobiotic) blog of my own and today figured out how to include links - and immediately linked to your site. Just wanted you to know! (And please let me know if you would rather I didn't.)

Thanks!

Jordan
mymacrolife.blogspot.com

dollydlux said...

Okay-so I just got excited to try this TUNO and now it might be discontinued??? Maybe I won't try it so then I can't miss it! Trader Joe's eggless salad is DELICIOUS btw. It has dill in it which was different for me at first but it isn't overpowering or anything. Very egg-like, try it.

Spider said...

Does little schmoo like curry? Or Old Bay seasoning? These can be great in mock tuna salads (I'm also fond of mustard in mine).

Vegetarian Cooker said...

Tuna is so delicious!

------
Vegetarian

Starla said...

I LOVE the frozen Tuno that comes in a tube. Like Jennifer, I rinse and drain it really well and use Veganaise, chopped celery, pickles, etc.

As I understand it, the mercury in fish people eat is cumulative and stays in your system. So, who knows what that means for your health in later years. Something to think about and why take the risk when theres TUNO to the rescue.

Karlie said...

Melissa, I'm afraid I'm ashamed to say that I can't provide reference sources for olive oil as a carcinogen (when cooked over extremely high heat). I know I've heard it from reputable sources such as the CBC, and on Food Network as well. Olive Oil shouldn't be used over high heat, like a wok, anyway because it breaks down, even if it isn't carcinogenic. You need an oil that can take higher heat like peanut or canola.

And as daughter to a well-respected dentist, I cringe at the mercury-filling debate. Properly created mercury fillings will NEVER leach mercury during a person's lifetime. NEVER. The amalgalm can't be broken down in the conditions in a persons mouth.

Erika said...

I've been lurking for a long time...thank you so much for this blog. I am not a veg or vegan, but I do try to feed my family well. With my 5 yr old in school this year, lunches have been suffering. She goes back-n-forth between school lunch and cold lunch. And lately it's been more cold lunch from home. Where lunch for her used to be sandwiches and stuff- she is now enjoying things like tacos and spaghetti and she loves it so much. Thank you so much for your lunchbox blog. It is such an inspiration for anyone who wants to feed their children well.

little red said...

Love this blog!
Just wanted to point out that the website you linked to is a lobbyist organization (natural resources defense council). Try this link to see what the current US FDA guidelines are about fish and mercury, and to separate fact from fiction: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/seafood1.html
Like other posters have said it is all about moderation of intake (for those of us who are non-vegan). The fish to really worry about are older/larger fish (longer time to absorb mercury) like shark and mackeral. Although according to the FDA albacore tuna also has a high level of mercury too.

La Tea Dah said...

I love TUNO! I had some last week, made into sandwich spread with Veganaise, pickle, and a few chopped scallions. It was good, but not as good as it used to be when I was a kid. The recipe the company is using has changed and it is more bland now than it used to be. I miss the oily, fishy-ness of the old Tuno, but that's okay. . .this actually fits the palattes of most much better. Thanks for the memories. . .

Mistrmind said...

Hey Shan, I've been eating tuna fish all my life, from when I was a child during the 60's-70's to present day. No ill effects and I have the mind of a steel trap.
Sure pollution is abundant today as it was over 30 years ago, but who's to say there isn't poison in the veggies you eat? Even the FDA states there are acceptable limits on the number of rodent droppings and insect parts that can be in a head of lettuce to be deemed safe to eat. So, how do you like your rat droppings? Sauted or baked?

Amy O'Neill Houck said...

Wow, I've avoided Tuno for ever, I may actually have to try it!

papericecream said...

vegcooking.com has a DELICIOUS suna recipe. in fact, i'm eating it right now!

Salamander99 said...

I love you! You are an excellent mother! Thanks for showing all that veganism is a viable (and fun/interesting) choice/lifestyle for people of all ages!

vegineer said...

i can't believe that people continue to eat seafood. i never liked it anyway, but learning that pregnant women should avoid certain kinds of fish because of the potential for birth defects as a result of heavy metal concentrations . . . well, that just convinced me i was doing the right thing all along by not eating seafood.

what's even more peculiar, i have told this to pregnant women and given them sources to back it up, and they just kind of brush it off. personally, if i knew that eating a certain food could hurt my unborn baby, i would avoid it like the plague. it just strikes me as really weird that people don't even care.

Ms. M said...

yeah, the mercury thing... I am a vegetarian and don't eat fish, but I do teach a prenatal class so have to know about all the fish-risks.

Large marine fish can potentially collect high levels of mercury in their edible tissue-- albacore tuna and tuna steaks are considered a risk and are not to be eaten more than once per month by growing kids and pregnant women. Other risky fish are sea bass, shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish.

Light white tuna should be OK... but I'm sure I'd prefer Tuno!!!

YellowBellyHippy said...

The whole Tuno thing makes me kind of queasy. Ive never tried it but I don't like any kind of fish in the 1st place and now that Im vegan its just kind of a turn off. But Im glad that little Shmoo liked it and was willing to try it again! Way to go both of you!

Cat said...

Don't know about Tuno but as for the eggless sald I vaguely remember a blog or website that used chopped tofu for the egg whites and chopped boiled potatoes to give the texture of the yolks. Add vegan mayo, pinch of turmeric and whatever other flavours you like and Voila! hmmm, maybe this has been linked to already...

long time reader, first time poster. This blog is a daily OBSESSION!

Cat
x
Gorgeous Vegan... blog

College Vegan Athlete said...

Golden, I don't necessarily follow a specific recipe for my tuno salad sandwich. It sort of depends what I ingredients I have and I eyeball the amounts. Basically I mash chickpeas and tofu together then add chopped pickles, or brown mustard, and some chopped celery or carrots if I have them (plus pepper to taste). Then I spread it on whole wheat bread and add tomato, onion, and alfalfa sprouts, which is totally optional, just something I love. But you can find some good tuno recipes with specific amounts on vegweb.com. If I remember correctly there is a good one titled mock tuna salad. Another one I've tried is in the peaceful palate by Jennifer raymond. Hope this helps!

lori said...

vegineer, pregnant women get meddlesome advice from well-meaning friends, family, and strangers all the time. Constantly. Incessantly. It does not surprise me one bit that some of them have blown you off. When it's your baby, good for you. When it's theirs, I recommend a light touch.

The Reluctant Vegan said...

I make "tuna salad" with sea-vegetable-flavor tempeh. Steam 20 minutes, chill under cold water, crumble, add stuff you would put in tuna salad (vegenaise, onions, celery, relish, whatever).

Echo said...

I was eating black olive pizza the other day and my omni husband had gotten ham on his half of the pizza. I didn't realize a little piece of ham was attached to my slice.

The first thing I noticed was something rubbery and gross was in my mouth. The taste was AWFUL! I always thought if I ever lost my mind and went back to eating meat that I'd love the taste. I guess that's wrong. It made me gag. Fortunately, I didn't swallow it.

I mention that only because of the discussion on this thread about taste bud memory. I guess mine has been totally cleared of the memory of meat. The texture was so gross!

Shananigans said...

Echo: Wow, you let your husband put meat on half the pizza?! You’re too nice, my omni other doesn’t even get to have meat in the house (unless it’s lunch meat and he has to keep that in his special drawer in the fridge). I’ve been “accidentally” served chicken burritos a couple times and I was spitting out that first bite before I even realized what happened. Barf, gross!

Echo said...

Yeah. I was pretty much like "NO MEAT IN THE HOUSE!" at first, but then I felt sorry for him, wolfing down his dinner in HIS CAR. That's sad. I wasn't trying to make him feel bad about eating meat (he's an adult, that's his decision). And he lives here, too, so eh. Now, I rarely ever PREPARE meat (bleg, I can hardly handle doing that). But he does have it in the house. That IS the last time we'll split a pizza though. I had nightmares the next couple of nights about people forcing me to eat meat.

Leigh-Anne said...

I am glad to see you gave it another chance. I, too, quickly learned that rinsing it is key. I am sad to learn that it may not be around. One thing we do to increase the "tuna fish" flavor of it that we learned of from some transitional cookbook years ago was to sprinkle it with seaweed flakes. Great blog and good to see so many simple and tasty options for lunches.

R-C said...

Thanks for the advice on how to fix what is wrong with tuno. Maybe we'll get brave enough to try it again and rinse/ drain it first.

iheartsockmonsters said...

i heart tuno, alot alot. its my favorite mock meat. i prefer the worthingtons tuno to the canned morningstar. as for husbands who are omni, i hear you sisters, LOUD AND CLEAR! i tried to do the whole no meat thing in the house, but that went over horribly, so now the rule is, ther is no storage for meat or dairy in this house. he can buy it, bt he must eat it the same day, no ifs ands or buts. if he doesnt, i chuck it. besides, it makes the fridge stink.

sp said...

Maybe too late to comment but...
the tuna free salad recipe from Vegan Planet is fabulous. I posted the recipe on my blog because I love it so much. I use kelp powder/granules instead of dulse to give it that sea flavour. I just found kelp easier to find.
I've never seen Tuno in these parts, but I'll watch out for it.

Thanks.

rsphoto79 said...

WHERE CAN I FIND TUNO?! I DESPERATELY MISS IT!!! I live in NYC and about a year ago it disappeared from the shelves of my friendly neighborhood health stores.

rsphoto79@hotmail.com

raging.liberalism said...

I'm so glad you posted this. I've been looking for a way to transition out of eating tinned tuna--the last, occasional meat that I will eat. Thanks!

I'm also going to put a link up on my blog to your blog; I love it!

red said...

thank you



sohbet
muhabbet
mirc
sevgi

DesertNissi said...

I see that this blog is from 2006. After Kellogg’s discontinued the frozen Tuno, I have been searching for an alternative to no avail. Currently I am trying to perfect a mix of the same items you put in adding shredded red cabbage and chopped tomatoes. I like the mix for a sandwich.

I am going to try adding some sea vegetable to this and try the tempeh flavored suggestion from the blog as well. I wasn't very fond of the chickpea mix either.