These grain and dairy free paleo tuna cakes were my answer to a three-day work conference where I knew my food options would be limited to whatever the conference organizers saw fit to provide for a “gluten free” lunch. I froze them and packed in a cooler with ice and they provided a tasty and safe source of protein, carbohydrate, and healthy fat when I didn’t feel comfortable with the offered food. My hotel room didn’t have a refrigerator so I simply refilled the cooler with ice from machine down the hall each day. After the first day they were no longer frozen, but stayed cool the whole time and each morning I simply packed a little lunch box from my room and brought it with me to the meetings.
This recipe was inspired by Nom Nom Paleo‘s recipe for “spicy tuna cakes” (found in her gorgeous book Food For Humans and on the website here) but I wanted my version to be nightshade free, so I experimented with a totally different set of herbs and flavorings until I came up with this recipe.
Notes for healing diets:
- Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)/ The Paleo Approach (TPM): Eggs are not allowed on AIP, but are early stage reintroductions for most people. If you do not tolerate or have not reintroduced eggs, you can substitute two tablespoons of gelatin dissolved in a 1/2 cup of hot water for the two eggs.
- Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD): Sweet potatoes are not legal on SCD. An acceptable substitute is mashed butternut squash.
- Low FODMAPs: Sweet potatoes and scallions are both high FODMAP. Substitute squash for the sweet potatoes and omit the scallions.
Notes on ingredients:
- If you tolerate ghee or grass fed butter, feel free to use that instead of the coconut oil. A great place to purchase paleo-friendly healthy fats is Barefoot Provisions.
Paleo Tuna Cakes Recipe
- 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil, divided
- 2 5 ounce cans tuna packed in water, drained
- 1 cup previously cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained
- zest and juice from ½ lemon
- salt to taste
- 2 large eggs (for AIP - see gelatin substitute suggestion above)
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously grease a regular-sized 12 cup muffin tin with 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil.
- In a large bowl, gently mix together the tuna, sweet potato, scallions, dill, capers, lemon zest and juice, and salt. Try not to overwork the ingredients too much, so that chunks of the tuna remain intact (you might want to mix with your hands).
- Gently mix in the eggs and the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil.
- Scoop about a quarter cup of the mixture into each greased muffin tin cup and flatten with the back of a spoon.
- Bake the tuna cakes for 20-25 minutes, or until firm.
- Invert the muffin tin on a wire rack and tap to remove cakes from muffin tin.
- You can eat these warm immediately or refrigerate and eat cold. They are also good reheated and pan fried in a skillet over medium heat with additional melted fat.