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Delicious Tuna Tartare Recipes: From Classic to Spicy Variations

April 21, 2023

Bowl filled with freshly cut tuna and various ingredients for tartare preparation

Tuna Tartare

Tuna tartare is a sophisticated and refreshing appetizer that combines the rich flavors of fresh, raw tuna with a variety of complementary ingredients. This dish, originating from French culinary traditions but heavily influenced by Japanese sashimi, is a testament to the versatility and global appeal of tuna. Whether you're a fan of ahi, yellowfin, or bigeye tuna, this guide will walk you through creating an unforgettable tuna tartare experience.

Understanding Tuna Tartare

Tuna tartare involves finely chopped or diced raw tuna dressed with various seasonings and oils. The key to a successful tuna tartare is using the freshest sushi-grade tuna available. Ahi tuna tartare and yellowfin tuna tartare are popular choices due to their flavor, texture, and accessibility.

Ingredients for Classic Tuna Tartare Recipe:

  • Sushi-grade tuna (ahi, yellowfin, or bigeye) – 400 grams
  • Ripe avocado – 1 large
  • Fresh mango (optional) – 1/2, diced
  • Lime – 2, juiced
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – 2 tablespoons
  • Sesame oil – 1 teaspoon
  • Soy sauce – 2 tablespoons
  • Fresh cilantro – 2 tablespoons, chopped
  • Green onions – 2, finely sliced
  • Red chili flakes or a fresh jalapeño (for spicy tuna tartare) – to taste
  • Salt and black pepper – to taste
  • Sesame seeds (optional) – for garnish
  • Crispy wonton wrappers or toasted baguette slices – for serving

Tuna Tartare Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Preparation:

    • Begin by ensuring your tuna is properly chilled. This makes it easier to dice and maintains the integrity of the fish.
    • Dice the tuna into small, even cubes, about ¼ inch in size, and place them in a chilled mixing bowl.
  2. Mixing the Tartare:

    • In a separate bowl, combine the lime juice, olive oil, sesame oil, and soy sauce. This will form the base of your tuna tartare sauce, imparting a rich, umami flavor to the dish.
    • Gently fold in the chopped cilantro, sliced green onions, diced avocado (and mango if using), and chili flakes to the sauce. Mix until just combined.
    • Add the diced tuna to the mixture, tossing gently to ensure the fish is evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serving Suggestions:

    • Tuna tartare can be served in various ways. For an elegant presentation, use a ring mold to shape the tartare on individual plates. Garnish with sesame seeds and a sprig of cilantro.
    • Alternatively, serve the tuna tartare with crispy wonton wrappers or toasted baguette slices for a delightful contrast in textures.
  4. Tuna Tartare Variations:

    • Spicy Tuna Tartare: Add more red chili flakes or finely chopped fresh jalapeños to the mix.
    • Tuna Mango Tartare: Incorporate diced mango for a sweet, tropical twist.
    • Tuna Avocado Tartare: Increase the amount of avocado for a creamier texture.
    • Asian Tuna Tartare: Enhance the Asian flavors by adding a touch of wasabi or ginger to the dressing.

Nutritional Profile and Tips

  • Tuna tartare is a light and nutritious appetizer, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and various vitamins and minerals. The exact calories in tuna tartare will depend on the ingredients and portion sizes used.
  • Always use sushi-grade tuna when preparing tuna tartare to ensure the safety and quality of your dish.


Tuna tartare is more than just an appetizer; it's a showcase of simplicity, elegance, and the natural flavors of the sea. Whether you prefer the classic tuna tartare recipe, the vibrant notes of a tuna mango tartare, or the spicy kick of a spicy tuna tartare, this dish is sure to impress. With its combination of freshness, flavor, and sophistication, tuna tartare is the perfect start to any meal, encapsulating the essence of fine dining in every bite. So why wait? Dive into the exquisite world of tuna tartare and discover your favorite variation today.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tuna Tartare

  1. What is tuna tartare?

    • Tuna tartare is a dish made from raw tuna that has been finely chopped or diced and mixed with various seasonings, oils, and other ingredients such as avocado, lime juice, and herbs. It's typically served as an appetizer.
  2. What kind of tuna should I use for tuna tartare?

    • Always use sushi-grade tuna, such as ahi, yellowfin, or bigeye tuna, which is safe to consume raw and known for its freshness, flavor, and quality.
  3. How can I ensure my tuna tartare is safe to eat?

    • Purchase fresh, sushi-grade tuna from a reputable source, keep it refrigerated or on ice until ready to prepare, and consume the tartare immediately after making it.
  4. What are the key ingredients in a tuna tartare recipe?

    • Essential ingredients include sushi-grade tuna, avocado, lime juice, olive oil, and seasonings like salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Additional ingredients can include mango, sesame oil, soy sauce, and herbs like cilantro.
  5. Can I make tuna tartare ahead of time?

    • It's best to prepare tuna tartare just before serving to ensure freshness and prevent the risk of bacteria growth. However, you can prep individual components like chopping herbs and vegetables ahead of time.
  6. Is tuna tartare healthy?

    • Yes, tuna tartare is generally healthy as it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, lean protein, and various vitamins and minerals. However, the nutritional value can vary based on the additional ingredients used.
  7. How do I serve tuna tartare?

    • Tuna tartare can be served on a plate with a molding ring for shape, as a scoop on endive leaves, with crispy wonton wrappers, or alongside toasted baguette slices.
  8. What is the difference between tuna tartare and sushi?

    • Tuna tartare is typically a mix of raw tuna and other ingredients, while sushi refers to dishes made with vinegared rice and can include raw or cooked fish and other toppings.
  9. Can I use frozen tuna for tartare?

    • Yes, as long as it's labeled sushi-grade. Thaw the tuna in the refrigerator overnight before using it to ensure it's safely brought to the correct temperature.
  10. How do I cut tuna for tartare?

    • Use a sharp knife to cut the tuna into small, even cubes or dice it finely. Ensure your cuts are clean to preserve the texture of the fish.
  11. What sauces pair well with tuna tartare?

    • Common sauces include soy sauce-based dressings, citrusy ponzu, or spicy mayo. You can also make a dressing with olive oil, lime juice, and sesame oil for a simple yet flavorful option.
  12. Can I add other fish to tuna tartare?

    • Yes, you can create variations like tuna and salmon tartare or incorporate other sushi-grade fish according to your preference.
  13. How many calories are in tuna tartare?

    • The calorie content can vary depending on the ingredients and portion size but is generally considered a lower-calorie appetizer option, especially when made with lean tuna and healthy fats like avocado.
  14. What can I use instead of raw tuna if I can't find sushi-grade fish?

    • If sushi-grade tuna is not available, consider using other sushi-grade fish like salmon or opting for a vegetable tartare as a safe alternative.

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