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Grilled Tuna with Basil-Walnut Sauce

Mar 18, 2015 04:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
Rhea’s Rundown

It doesn’t get any faster or fresher than this dish. A simple seasoning of salt, pepper, and lemon zest is used for the tuna, topped with an easy homemade pesto. The outdoor grill beckoned, but mine needed a little spring-cleaning first so I adjusted the instructions to accommodate using a grill pan instead. For more on grill pans see the Kitchen Tool of the Week  from the Healthier Hangover Column. I opted for lightly sautéed zoodles (zucchini noodles) instead of zucchini ribbons. For more on how to make zoodles see the Kitchen Tool of the Week  from the Fitness Inspired Column. The fitness column also has a tasty alternative for preparing the zoodles (if you’re looking for a little more umph).

Ingredients – Serves 2
  • 2 albacore tuna steaks
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon walnut pieces
  • Optional:
  • 1 zucchini cut into ribbons or spiralized


1. Place the tuna on a plate. Sprinkle both sides with salt, pepper, and the lemon zest. Brush with olive oil. Let marinate while preparing the sauce.

2. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, walnuts, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and a generous amount of pepper. Process until finely ground. With the machine running, gradually add 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

3. Heat a little oil in a sauté pan, or grill pan if handy, over high heat. Add the tuna, cover, and cook as desired, about 3 minutes per side for rare. Transfer the tuna to 2 warmed individual plates. Top each with the basil sauce and serve right away.

Adapted from: “Mediterranean Tuna and White Bean-Fennel Salad.” America’s Test Kitchen: The Best Simple Recipes. Boston Common Press Limited Partnership. 2013. Print.

Rhea Torreon
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