Meyer Lemon & Chile Tonnato Sauce

Try this easy Italian Meyer Lemon & Chile Tonnato Sauce drizzled over your favorite vegetables, as a spread for sandwiches, and more.

overhead shot of a plate of asparagus and radicchio drizzled with homemade tonnato sauce

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Bella Portofino as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Today I’m teaming up with Bella Portofino to show you how you can modernize classic tuna recipes, because canned tuna isn’t just for sandwiches, my friends.

Bella Portofino’s canned tuna in olive oil is wild caught, dolphin safe and non-GMO. And I love that their Italian ‘tonno’ style tuna features only three simple, high quality ingredients for superior flavor: wild caught albacore or yellow fin tuna, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.

If you’ve never heard of tonnato sauce before, get ready to want to put it on everything in sight.

Meyer Lemon & Chile Tonnato Sauce drizzled over white asparagus, treviso and roasted radishes close up

What is Tonnato Sauce?

Tonnato sauce is a classic Italian condiment of sorts, with deep umami flavors used to jazz up just about anything savory. Typically it’s made from tuna packed in oil, anchovies, capers, lemon juice, olive oil and egg yolks that’s blended into a smooth puree.

Some say it has a tuna salad flavor, but honestly I find it much better because the components are all blended into one smooth velvety sauce instead of chunked apart. The tuna flavor is also not too overpowering, and the mayo gets thinned out and lightened up by the blending with lemon juice and extra oil.

Cans of Bella Portofino Tuna with fresh produce behind

On buying canned tuna: 

Many canned tunas are shockingly bland. You want to get a tuna that actually tastes like the flavor of tuna. We are looking for a tender flakiness, no metallic notes, mustiness, or rancid fishy flavor. 

Let me get straight to the point! The most sustainably caught fish also always happens to be the best tasting. Just trust me on this one. You might pay a little bit more per can, but there’s really no excuse not to choose the canned tuna that’s better for the planet we live on.

Meyer Lemon & Chile Tonnato Sauce in a bowl next to platter of white asparagus, treviso and roasted radish

What makes this Tonnato Sauce Recipe so special:

Apart from the canned tuna, this Meyer Lemon & Chile Tonnato Sauce recipe features Meyer lemon (zest and juice) and red pepper flakes, for brightness and a little kick.

I also take a couple of shortcuts, using mayonnaise instead of making a homemade one out of egg yolks. And I find anchovy paste to be a more convenient option than whole anchovy fillets. It’s worth keeping a tube in the fridge to add a savory punch to your dishes.

overhead shot of asparagus and lettuce drizzled with homemade Italian Tonnato Sauce

If you’re trying to eat more nutritious foods this year, it’s a good idea to keep a batch of tonnato sauce on hand for a clean source of protein and Omega-3s.

What an I cook with Tonnato Sauce?

The list of things you can do with tonnato sauce is expansive. You can:

  1. Drizzle it over roasted vegetables
  2. Toss it with pasta
  3. Use it as a salad dressing
  4. Use it as a dipping sauce for raw vegetables
  5. Spread it on sandwiches and wraps

The list goes on! I especially love Tonnato Sauce served over a mix of cooked and raw winter vegetables like roasted radishes, white asparagus and pretty purple treviso.

Meyer Lemon & Chile Tonnato Sauce drizzled over white asparagus, treviso and roasted radishes close up

Tips for making perfect Italian Tonnato Sauce at home: 

  • The fresh lemon juice is a key player in this recipe. It adds some much needed acid to balance out and brighten up the tuna and anchovy flavors. It also thins the sauce to that gorgeous smooth, almost pourable consistency.
  • Feel free to add an extra tablespoon of the lemon juice right in the end. Putting too much in at the beginning can interfere with the formation of a proper emulsion.
  • I use an immersion blender for this recipe and I recommend you do the same. A vitamix would probably also work well. 
  • Blend All ingredients together by gradually lifting your immersion blender from the bottom to the top.
  • If you want to make this recipe in your food processor, drizzle a thin stream of oil into the other ingredients while running a food processor.

Meyer Lemon & Chile Tonnato Sauce drizzled over white asparagus, treviso and roasted radishes

Want more seafood recipes?

Roasted Red Pepper Polenta Bowls with Seared Scallops

Grilled Swordfish with Smoked Tomato Basil Butter

Salmon with Roasted Grapes and Thyme

Thanks for reading! To keep up with my kitchen escapades, follow me on FacebookInstagramTwitter and Pinterest. If you make This Meyer Lemon & Chile Tonnato Sauce, please share it using the hashtag #LePetitEats!

Meyer Lemon & Chile Tonnato Sauce drizzled over white asparagus, treviso and roasted radishes close up
5 from 1 vote
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Meyer Lemon & Chile Tonnato Sauce

Try this easy Italian Meyer Lemon & Chile Tonnato Sauce drizzled over your favorite vegetables, as a spread for sandwiches, and more.

Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Keyword sauce with canned tuna, Tuna sauce, vitello tonnato sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 cup
Calories 90 kcal
Author Denisse

Ingredients

  • 1 6.7- ounce jar oil-packed tuna drained
  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers
  • 1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Purée tuna, anchovy paste, mayonnaise, capers, lemon juice, lemon zest, red pepper, olive oil and 2 tablespoons water in a blender until smooth. Season tonnato with salt.
  2. Serve as a dipping sauce for raw vegetables, a spread for sandwiches and spreads or drizzled over salads and roasted vegetables.

Recipe Notes

  • The fresh lemon juice is a key player in this recipe. It adds some much needed acid to balance out and brighten up the tuna and anchovy flavors. It also thins the sauce to that gorgeous smooth, almost pourable consistency.
  • Feel free to add an extra tablespoon of the lemon juice right in the end. Putting too much in at the beginning can interfere with the formation of a proper emulsion.
  • I use an immersion blender for this recipe and I recommend you do the same. A vitamix would probably also work well. 
  • Blend All ingredients together by gradually lifting your immersion blender from the bottom to the top.
  • If you want to make this recipe in your food processor, drizzle a thin stream of oil into the other ingredients while running a food processor.

 

 

Try this easy Italian Meyer Lemon & Chile Tonnato Sauce drizzled over your favorite vegetables, as a spread for sandwiches, and more. #saucerecipes #tunarecipes #italianrecipes #sauces #tonnato

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Comments

  1. Albert Bevia

    To be honest with you, I have never heard of this sauce, but anything with tuna, anchovies and capers is already a kepper for me…this is a stunnig sauce recipe…thank you so much for this post 🙂

    Reply
  2. Catherine

    First of all, you have a beautiful site and I just started following! So happy to have discovered it. Secondly, this is a fabulous idea! I love that you blended it all down into a creamy dressing. I’d love this salad for lunch right now.

    Reply

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