We all know tuna is a top-level protein that adds a real special something to a whole range of delicious dishes, but it’s also a staple of raw cuisines around the world.
From poke to ceviche, carpaccio to sushi, you’ll see raw tuna on menus in your favorite restaurants and in recipes on your go-to websites.
If you want to get some delicious raw tuna on your table, you’ve come to the right place for inspiration. We’ve corralled 15 of the best raw tuna recipes to get your taste buds tingling and ready for a healthy, protein-packed meal that’s full of flavor.
Japan and Peru both have amazing raw fish cuisines, and this recipe is a great blend of those two cultures in one dish. In adding a little Japanese flavor to the classical Peruvian leche de tigre, and topping the fish with a crispy quinoa crumb, you create a flavor explosion that’s healthy and super-satisfying.
It’s easy to prepare too, using a lot of store cupboard ingredients and coming together in only 40 minutes from start to finish.
In only three stages (a tiny bit of cooking for part of the sauce, then blending the leche de tigre, and lastly slicing and dressing the fish) you get yourself a real showstopper that’s perfect for any lunch or dinner table.
Carpaccio is another classic way with raw fish. This is another dish with a gentle fusion character to it, combining your standard carpaccio flavorings of capers and red onion with lime to move this Mediterranean staple out into the even sunnier climes of the Caribbean.
Red onion can be a bit of a deal-breaker for some people, and if you aren’t in the camp that likes the bite of a raw onion then you can either soak the onions in water to calm them down a little, or quickly pickle them in lime juice.
This only takes a couple of minutes, and can be done while you prepare the rest of the dish.
Fancy a game-day snack with a healthy twist? These spicy tuna sashimi nachos should be your red zone pick.
A quick and dirty flick in a marinade of soy sauce and lime juice gives the tuna an extra flavor punch, which you then add cubed avocado into to make a speedy nacho topping.
Layer the tuna and avocado mix over your nachos, then add some toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of sriracha mayo for a bit of nutty warmth and mellow spice. This is a flavor combo that always scores!
The humble riceless sushi bowl is the basis for so many great recipes, and this one is no different.
Combining fresh raw tuna with radish, cucumber, avocado, carrot, and seaweed, a comforting bed of white rice and a popping avocado wasabi dressing, if anything’s going to stop you from reaching for the take-out menu this will!
Adding in some sliced green onions and pickled ginger only pumps up the flavor further, and brings everything together in a truly Japanese manner. This is a bowl with a huge kick of flavor that you’ll want to make over and over again.
Poke is a Hawaiian classic for good reason. If you fancy a bowl of Pacific flavor, this is where it’s at! With this recipe you want to marinate your tuna for a good 30 minutes, if not more, in the refrigerator to really get all those flavors mixing together.
You can serve this poke over rice for a substantial meal, or on crispbreads as an appetizer. You could even spoon it over salad leaves for a light lunch. It takes toppings like sesame seeds and green onions well for a little extra flavor.
Bao buns? Delicious. Tuna? Also delicious! You can’t go wrong combining these two great ingredients for an easy sandwich. This recipe contains a great method for making your own pillowy soft bao, but it works equally well with store-bought buns.
Once again, you’re marrying tuna with the exquisite flavors of soy sauce, ginger, and sesame, but in this case it’s being freshened up and rounded out with green onions, red chili, and coriander for a clean, healthy snack.
If you’re after some classic raw tuna action, you’re going to be looking in the direction of sushi. It’s a staple of every sushi menu, and this is a great recipe for recreating that vibe in your own kitchen. Even better, it comes together in only 20 minutes!
The recipe calls for a particular chili powder called ichimi togarashi, which is made from only one type of crushed red chili. It’s a particularly Japanese seasoning, but if you can’t get hold of it then you can experiment with other chilis instead.
It’s not too far removed from chipotle!
8. Tuna Gravlax
Scandinavia knows how to treat fish, and swapping tuna in for salmon in a classic gravlax makes for a really classy dish. Both big, meaty, fatty fish, you get great results when you simply cure sliced raw tuna in vodka, salt, and sugar.
To finish the dish, you can add a tangy sauce of mayo with grated horseradish or vegan wasabi, or serve it up with cream cheese and rye bread. Some lightly pickled vegetables like radishes and carrots also go really well as accompaniments.
Are you in the mood for a sushi bowl but trying to cut those refined carbs? This spicy keto tuna bowl is a fresh, tasty, and satisfying meal without the rice that you’d normally find in a sushi bowl, but keeping all the flavor you’d expect.
This super-fresh bowl contains only a few ingredients, mixing up avocado, cucumber, and red onion with a light vegan sriracha and lemon mayo and a chiffonade of nori for a little umami hit. Add a garnish of sesame seeds and you’re ready to go!
10. Tuna Tartare
A twist on the French classic, this tartare substitutes tuna for steak and adds those Asian flavors that pair so well with the big, meaty fish. Tartare is another way of curing a protein with acid, and it’s endlessly versatile.
You can add complementary fruits into your chopped tuna like mango, or take it back towards the French version by using lemon juice and capers instead of lime and salt.
It’s quick too, and makes for a perfect appetizer with some lightly grilled crostini or a tossed salad.
11. Tuna Nigiri
Another sushi staple, nigiri is the type of sushi where the topping rests on a little pillow of sushi rice. This is a great way to present your delicious raw tuna because it really foregrounds it as an ingredient.
The rice acts as a supportive presence, but it’s really there to deliver that tuna to your mouth!
You don’t need to dress up tuna nigiri. The simple, classic accoutrements of soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger are all you need to enjoy it to the full.
12. Raw Tuna Sashimi
The simplest and, some would argue, best way of presenting raw tuna is in its sashimi form. It’s so easy; you just take your tuna and slice it into tender, melting pieces, then dip it into a tasty soy-based sauce.
As long as you buy high-quality fresh tuna (and know how to cook sushi rice, which is explained in the recipe – don’t worry, it’s easy!) you can’t really go wrong with sashimi. It’s one of the purest examples of how a high-quality main ingredient makes a dish work all on its own.
One of the best things about raw tuna is the way its robust flavor stands up to strong accompaniments. In this salad recipe the tuna is dressed in a mayo dressing that’s heavy with sriracha and hot chili oil, and given a comforting savory warmth with toasted sesame oil.
It also brings in another classic sushi ingredient, masako or tobiko, which is fish roe and adds a little savory pop and texture to the dish.
If you’re having trouble slicing your tuna really finely for any of these recipes, cut it while frozen ahead of time. It doesn’t take long to defrost once you’ve got it down to size, and you don’t lose any freshness or texture.
Tuna lends itself to fusion really well, as exemplified by the tuna nachos earlier on in this list. This recipe takes the idea a little further, making taco shells out of wonton wrappers!
It’s a really smart way of presenting raw tuna, dressed in a delicious sochu sauce that is full of citrus and umami flavors.
If you can’t find wonton wrappers, you can still pull this dish off using regular taco shells of your choice with the tuna filling. A bit of crunch is a great counterpoint to the soft, yielding tuna, but it also works with soft tacos too.
15. Spicy Tuna Roll
What sort of raw tuna recipe list would this be without a classic tuna sushi roll?
Sushi is daunting for some home cooks, but once you crack the method it’s really simple and takes no time at all to deliver you a tasty, healthy lunch or dinner (with the side-effect of really impressing people who’ve never made it before!).
This specific recipe dresses the raw tuna in a spicy mayo, but if you want a clean, mellow version you can omit either the sriracha or both the sriracha and the mayo and still come out with a great sushi roll!
Hopefully this list has got your taste buds tingling and your inspiration sparking. Remember, tuna pairs brilliantly with citrus and richly flavored oils, and holds its own against robust, sharp pickles.
If you’re craving a healthy, protein-filled meal, get some raw tuna and make something delicious!