These spicy tuna bites make a great healthy appetizer. Low carb, Whole30, and paleo-friendly as well as dairy and gluten free, they're quick and beautiful!
Spicy tuna rolls are one of my favorite foods, but good grief they’re difficult to make at home! Not only does the rice have to be the perfect stickiness, but then you have all the rolling and pressing. For these appetizers, I wanted that same flavor but with half of the effort. Thus these spicy tuna bites were born.
Sushi is probably one of the things I missed the most when first starting my migraine elimination diet. Eventually I was able to enjoy it again with a few limitations, however I no longer dunk my rolls in soy sauce with every bite This is actually something I learned in Japan. Over there, soy sauce is meant to highlight the flavor of the fish, not mask it. And you don’t even want to know what will happen if you mix your wasabi in with a giant amount of soy sauce…
Actually the “spicy tuna roll” did not even originate in Japan, but in LA. It was essentially a good way to use up the parts of tuna that weren’t prime enough for nigiri. According to one of the chefs in The Story of Sushi, they actually used Tex-Mex chili sauces to make the spicy mayo when this became popular in California. How resourceful!
Sushi Grade Tuna
For this recipe, unless you want to cook your tuna all the way through, you want to make sure to use a high quality tuna. If you prefer to not sear it at all, I would look into sushi/sashimi grade, which can typically be found in the freezer section at Whole Foods. Ahi, yellowfin, and sashimi will all work fine. If you prefer your tuna more on the rare side, stick with searing 1 minute per side. For medium rare, 2-3 minutes per side will work best.
Spicy Mayo Options
- For store-bought mayonnaise I like to use either Sir Kensington’s Organic or Primal Kitchen’s Avocado Oil Mayo (btw this is super cheap at Costco). You can also make your own mayo using this recipe.
- My favorite clean sriracha is Lingham's or Underwood Ranches.
If you can tolerate rice vinegar, Fix is another good one.
- You may be able to find other local brands in store that are fine, just check your labels. Of course Tabasco is a good alternative as well.
Watermelon radish are a type of radish that looks dull on the outside, but with a colorful, bright center. It can be tricky to find these sometimes and regular radishes are quite small. If you can’t find watermelon radish, good substitutes would be sliced jicama, cucumber, rice cakes, or wonton chips.
Other Appetizer Recipes
If you love these spicy tuna bites, give these other healthy recipes a try.
Updated on January 28, 2020 with new recipe tips.
Spicy Tuna Bites
- ½ lb fresh, high quality tuna (if not cooking through)
- 1-2 large watermelon radish
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon sriracha or hot sauce
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
- oil for searing
- Over medium high heat, add a small amount of oil in a pan and sear your tuna. 1 minute per side for rare, 2-3 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove from pan and allow to cool, then slice into small cubes.
- In a separate bowl, combine hot sauce with mayonnaise and slice your watermelon radish about ¼" thick. Top radishes with tuna, drizzle with spicy mayo, and add chives on top. Serve immediately.
- If you can't find watermelon radish, substitute thick slices of jicama, cucumber, wonton chips or rice cakes.