Direct Your Dining: Sweet Citrus Wasabi Ahi Tuna Salad

Direct Your Dining: Sweet Citrus Wasabi Ahi Tuna Salad

Welcome to Direct Your Dining! This cooking series will introduce you to energy efficient recipes full of tips to keep your meals delicious without using every appliance in the kitchen. Preparing recipes with energy efficiency in mind at least once a week will make cooking a little easier, and may even help reduce your monthly electricity bill. Check in every week for a new recipe full of flavor and creativity that will surely impress your friends and family.

Get ready for Spring Break with this week’s energy saving recipe! The secret to this sweet citrus wasabi ahi tuna salad is how easy it is to create the homemade marinade and sweet and tangy vinaigrette dressing.

Direct Your Dining: Sweet Citrus Wasabi Ahi Tuna Salad
A near-perfect bite of food

The only cooking needed is to quickly sear the tuna and pour the marinade in with it to briefly reduce. The most time consuming part of this recipe is just cutting and prepping the cabbage, mango, and herbs. It’s perfect for those Spring Break lunches when you need to feed the kids, but don’t have lots of time available.

This salad delivers crunchy freshness with the Napa and red cabbage and sweetness from the fresh mango. The added chopped cilantro and fresh mint provides cool, refreshing flavors that goes perfectly with the sweet citrus and wasabi flavors in the salad.

I usually purchase the wasabi paste for this recipe’s dressing from in-store sushi station at my favorite local grocery store. If this isn’t available in your area, look for wasabi prepared paste or powder on the Asian food aisle. If you have to opt for the powder, just prepare it as directed on the container and then use 1 tablespoon of that for the dressing. Feel free to add more wasabi to your dressing if you want a bigger punch of wasabi flavor, but the way I have made it today keeps the flavor without it being too hot.

For many energy saving recipes, I choose seafood for the quicker cooking times, and because they absorb marinades faster than beef or chicken. But if you aren’t a fish fan or have a hard time finding fresh ahi tuna in your local grocery store, this marinade works well with thinly sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts. The chicken will need to marinate for 20 to 30 minutes before you cook it.

You can also use shrimp for another delicious option in this salad, as this protein keeps the cooking time short and energy usage remains low.

Direct Your Dining: Sweet Citrus Wasabi Ahi Tuna Salad
A fantastic and fresh dish perfect for a sunny Spring Break!

You can also grill the ahi tuna steak instead of using a cast iron skillet. Cast iron is great for holding in heat so you do not have to turn the heat as high for as long on your stove. And grilling outside is also a great low energy cooking method.

Whatever your protein, just sear it and then move it around to cook through and have the marinade poured in at the end to reduce.

If you choose to grill your tuna, cook up some fresh veggies like zucchini and carrots since you will already be heating the grill up!

Sweet Citrus Wasabi Ahi Tuna Salad

Dressing Ingredients:

Direct Your Dining: Sweet Citrus Wasabi Ahi Tuna Salad
Mmm… Wasabi…
  • 1 tbsp. Wasabi paste (prepared)
  • 2 tbsp. Honey
  • 3 tbsp. Rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh orange juice
  • 1/3 c. Avocado or olive oil
  • ½ tsp. Fresh cracked black peppercorns

Protein Marinade Ingredients:

Direct Your Dining: Sweet Citrus Wasabi Ahi Tuna Salad
A great marinate will always enhance – and never dominate – the flavor of your protein.
  • 2 tbsp. Soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh orange juice
  • 2 tsp. Mirin rice wine
  • 1 tsp. Ginger paste
  • 1 tsp. Garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. Turbinado sugar
  • ¼ tsp. Orange zest
  • ½ tsp. Fresh cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 lb. Ahi tuna steak


1) In a mixing bowl, add the wasabi paste, honey, rice vinegar, fresh lime juice, and fresh orange juice. Whisk these ingredients together.

Direct Your Dining: Sweet Citrus Wasabi Ahi Tuna Salad
Get ready to whisk!

2) Slowly pour in the avocado or olive oil while simultaneously whisking until all the ingredients are combined. Add freshly cracked peppercorns at the end and whisk again. Place in refrigerator until ready to add to the salad. Stir again before using.

3) In a separate large bowl, add all of the ingredients listed for the protein marinade (except the tuna) and whisk them together.

Direct Your Dining: Sweet Citrus Wasabi Ahi Tuna Salad
Be sure your protein stays in the marinade long enough to absorb the necessary flavor.

4) Add the ahi tuna steak into the bowl with the marinade, coat both sides, and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Be sure to flip it one or two while prepping the veggies for the salad.

Salad Ingredients:

Direct Your Dining: Sweet Citrus Wasabi Ahi Tuna Salad
Look at all these fresh ingredients!
  • 5 c. Napa cabbage, chopped thin
  • 2 c. Red cabbage, chopped thin
  • 1 c. Bean sprouts
  • 1 c. Shredded or matchstick carrots
  • 1 large mango, cut into small chunks
  • ½ c. Roasted peanuts and/or cashews
  • ½ c. Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ c. Fresh mint, chopped
  • Sweet Citrus Wasabi Vinaigrette (recipe above)
  • 1 lb. Marinated Ahi tuna steak (recipe above)
  • 1 tbsp. Cooking oil (Safflower, avocado, olive, or canola oil work)


1) Chop and prepare the produce. Instead of cutting the entire mango into small chunks, you can cut some fresh mango into slices for topping and presentation.

Direct Your Dining: Sweet Citrus Wasabi Ahi Tuna Salad
Such robust colors!

2) In a large mixing bowl, mix the Napa cabbage, red cabbage, bean sprouts, mango chunks, cilantro, mint, nuts, and carrots. Set aside until ready to dress and serve.

Direct Your Dining: Sweet Citrus Wasabi Ahi Tuna Salad
Give your ahi tuna a good sear and then let it rest before you slice into it.

3) Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add preferred cooking oil and the marinated ahi tuna steak to the skillet. Sear for 2 minutes on each side.

4) Pour in the rest of the marinade left in the bowl into the hot cast iron skillet with the tuna and turn the heat down to low. Mix the marinade around as it reduces and use a spoon to pour the quickly reduced marinade over the seared tuna. Turn the heat off.

5) Let the meat rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Either slice the steak into 3 to 4 oz. portions or slice the entire thing up into thin slices.

Direct Your Dining: Sweet Citrus Wasabi Ahi Tuna Salad
Don’t drown your salad in the dressing. A little goes a long way.

6) Each person can add his/her preferred amount of vinaigrette. Top with fresh mango slices, and any extra fresh chopped mint and cilantro.

Direct Your Dining: Sweet Citrus Wasabi Ahi Tuna Salad
This salad really is perfect for lunch OR dinner!

This dish is almost too pretty to eat, but go ahead and dig in! This salad is so flavorful and delicious, you may not have any leftovers, but it makes a perfect packed lunch salad. Just bring the dressing on the side in a small container and enjoy on the go! 

Check back in every week for more Direct Your Dining recipes to help reduce your energy use in the kitchen while getting creative with delicious dishes!

 Recipe and Images by Stacie Morgan

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Stacie is a Texas A&M animal science graduate using her education and passion for food to get creative in the kitchen. She previously worked in business before becoming a mom to a special little boy. She's excited to share recipes her family enjoys at home - and they may even help you save energy in the kitchen.

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