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Seared Tuna Dinner with Balsamic Glaze: + Bean Side

Seared Tuna Dinner with Balsamic Glaze: + Bean Side
Home » Recipes by Ingredients » Fish and Seafood » Seared Tuna dinner

Seared tuna steaks only take 3 minutes to cook! Serve them with this white bean and tomato side dish and you have a healthy slow carb or Pesco Mediterranean weeknight dinner.

Seared tuna steaks with a balsamic glaze and a white bean and tomato side dish.
Low carb seared tuna with a side of cannellini beans

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Jump to: RECIPE | Balsamic Glaze | White Bean Side Dish

Will Frozen Tuna Steaks Work?

Yes!! While frozen tuna steaks are not sushi-grade quality, they are delicious and available to the home cook. We’re not making sushi here!

Tuna steaks usually come in about 4-ounce steaks that average around one inch thick. They are a fairly meaty and rich form of seafood.

Recipes that would work with swordfish or even steaks are readily adapted to tuna steaks.

How Best to Cook Tuna Steaks?

Like most seafood, tuna should be cooked quickly, but unlike other seafood, tuna should be left somewhat translucent or raw in the middle. This is because…

  1. Tuna dries out quickly. I have included a balsamic glaze with this recipe that serves as a great dipping sauce in case your tuna gets dry.
  2. Tuna will keep cooking once you take it off the burner. With steak, you will often see that it is important to let it rest. This is mostly to allow the meat juices to seep back into the meat. With tuna, however, you want to serve it quickly to avoid overcooking or drying out.

*FYI: If you want to see all of our fish and seafood recipes, take a look at this fish and seafood category

Secrets to Perfectly Seared Tuna

  • Use tuna steaks that are about 1” thick. Less than this and the inner portion of the tuna cooks too fast, more than this and the inner portion will still be cold.
  • Use a non-stick skillet.
  • Triangular-shaped steaks will cook slower than rectangle-shaped steaks.
  • Tuna steaks will continue to cook with residual heat once removed from the skillet, so either serve right away for rare or let sit for medium rare.
  • Using a paring knife to peek into the center works better than a thermometer (clumsy) due to the speed with which tuna will cook.

Try this! Another popular way to cook tuna (or salmon) is with a nut crust. This pistachio-crusted tuna with sour cream sauce turned out particularly well.

2 pistachio-crusted tuna steaks with a cup of sour cream dip on the side, all on a white plate.
Pistachio-crusted tuna steaks

Seasoning Options for Seared Tuna

In the recipe below I used a jerk seasoning rub before searing the tuna (along with a little salt and pepper). Many different seasoning mixes work well with tuna, however, if you don’t care for spicy foods.

Ground fennel is another one of my favorite rubs. Salt and pepper alone or an Old Bay seasoning rub are also popular seasoning mixes for fish recipes.

If you are a fan of tuna but are looking for something great that you can make with tinned tuna, try this Mexican Tuna Salad (easy peasy) or this classic Nicoise salad made into a sandwich.

Mexican tuna chopped salad in a bowl with saltine crackers on the side.
Mexican Tuna Salad

Balsamic Reduction Sauce for the Tuna

Did you know? A balsamic glaze sounds fancy but it is truly quick and easy to make, and it enhances both the flavor and texture of the fish.

I made the balsamic reduction sauce before searing the tuna so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed and overcook the tuna.

It takes about 5 minutes to make and it can quickly be heated up if it cools down too much while your fish is cooking.

Ingredients for seared tuna and balsamic sauce.
Ingredients: tuna, butter, garlic, chipotle spice, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste

White Beans as the Best Side Dish

White beans and tuna are a classic combination in salads. They also work well however for a warm dinner side dish.

I used Cannellini beans (white kidney beans), but the smaller navy (pea) beans or the Great Northern beans work well also.

Ingredients for white bean and tomato side dish.
Ingredients: olive oil, onion, garlic, sage, smoked paprika, can diced tomatoes, can white beans, shredded parmesan

I don’t know why white beans are preferred with tuna over red beans, but it is much more traditional. I suspect some of it is visual, but we do eat with our eyes, and white beans with red tomatoes served with the rich brown balsamic glaze is heavenly.

Differences Between the Types of White Beans

All beans are high in fiber. Here is an easy fiber and carb chart per cup of beans for the 4 types of beans described below.

TypeFiber per cupCarbs per cup
Navy19 grams47 grams
Great Northern16 grams46 grams
Cannellini12 grams40 grams
Baby Lima13 grams40 grams
  • Navy (pea) beans are small, oval-shaped, and quick-cooking. Because they get creamy when cooked, they’re perfect for purees, stews, and mashing. While all beans are high in fiber, Navy beans have the most at 19 grams per cup!
  • Great Northern beans are medium-sized beans known for their mild, nutty flavor and firm flesh. They hold their shape better than Navy beans and tend to take on the flavors of the foods they’re cooked with.
  • Cannellini beans are the largest of the group and because of their traditional kidney shape, they are also referred to as white kidney beans. Meatier than Navy or Great Northern beans, they have a nutty, earthy flavor and retain their shape and texture well.
  • Baby lima beans are also called “butterbeans”. They are smooth and creamy with a rich, buttery texture.

I used Cannellini beans in the side dish below, but the white beans are interchangeable. White beans pair nicely with spicy seared tuna. It’s all good, as they say!

Seafood and the Pesco Mediterranean Diet

I have been practicing a low-carb lifestyle for many years now, but I have recently tweaked it a bit to include more seafood, more vegetables, and less red meat.

This is essentially the basics of a Mediterranean diet, but it is currently being tweaked with intermittent fasting in the Pesco Mediterranean Diet. Whatever you want to call it, it is extremely healthy!

The biggest difference between Pesco Mediterranean and Low-Carb is the addition of some of the healthier grains.

Tip: Learn the similarities and differences between Low-Carb, Slow-Carb, and Keto diets. Decide which works best for you.

Here are some other delicious recipes that fit both Pesco Mediterranean and Low Carb/Slow Carb lifestyles:

Cioppino (or Bouillabaisse)

Bowl of bouillabaisse (or seafood stew)
Bowl of bouillabaisse (or seafood stew)

Low-Carb Cod Veracruz

Cod  veracruz  in a cast iron skillet with a blue striped towel
Low-carb fish Veracruz dinner in an iron skillet

Low-Carb Almond Crusted Cod

Almond crusted cod with a side of asparagus spears and lemon wedges.
Almond-crusted cod with asparagus spears

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Seared Tuna with Balsamic Glaze

Seared tuna steaks with a balsamic glaze and a white bean and tomato side dish.
This recipe includes seared tuna with a balsamic reduction glaze and a side dish of white beans, tomatoes and spices. There are many options for the spice rub, from spicy to just herbal. It is slow-carb compliant and works well in a Pesco Mediterranean diet.
4.94 from 15 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 519


White Bean Side Dish

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic finely sliced or chopped
  • 3 tablespoons sage finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or other chile spice
  • 14 ½ ounces canned, diced tomatoes I like RoTel
  • 15 ½ ounces canned white beans I used cannellini
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese

Balsamic Reduction Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic sliced
  • cup balsamic vinegar aged if possible
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle spice or a milder chile spice blend
  • ½ teaspoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

Seared Tuna

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 2-3 tablespoons jerk seasoning can use any seasoning blend
  • ½ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 ½ pounds tuna steaks I used 6 4-oz filets


White bean side dish

  • In a large pot or dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook 5-7 minutes until translucent or caramelized. Add garlic, sage and paprika and cook 1 minute, stirring to combine.
    2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 medium onion, 4 cloves garlic, 3 tablespoons sage, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Add tomatoes and beans and cook over medium heat about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside and make the glaze (see next steps).
    14 1/2 ounces canned, diced tomatoes, 15 1/2 ounces canned white beans

Balsamic reduction sauce

  • Melt butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat until it foams. Stir in garlic; cook until edges just start to turn golden, about 1-2 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar and simmer over medium heat until it bubbles and thickens a bit (about 1-2 minutes).
    2 teaspoons butter, 1 clove garlic, 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Stir in chile spice, tomato paste and add salt and pepper to taste. Remove pot from burner and add the cold butter. Let it melt into the sauce while you cook the tuna in a separate skillet.
    1 teaspoon chipotle spice, 1/2 teaspoon tomato paste, 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

Seared Tuna Steaks

  • Add 1-2 tablespoons oil to a skillet and heat over high to smoking. Meanwhile, lay tuna steaks out on countertop or large plate. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and seasoning mix. Rub in with your hands. Turn the steaks over and repeat on the other side
    3 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, 1 1/2 pounds tuna steaks, 2-3 tablespoons jerk seasoning
  • When skillet is smoking place tuna steaks in skillet and sear on each side for about 1 1/2 minutes per side (middle of steaks will be fairly raw). Remove from heat and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Stir in the butter to the warm beans and serve sprinkled with shredded parmesan.
    1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese



    • Use tuna steaks that are about 1” thick. Less than this and the inner portion of the tuna cooks too fast, more than this and the inner portion will still be cold.
    • Triangular shaped steaks will cook slower than rectangle shaped steaks.
    • Tuna steaks will continue to cook with residual heat once removed from skillet, so either serve right away for rare, or let sit for medium rare.
    • Using a paring knife to peek into the center works better than a thermometer (clumsy) due to the speed with which tuna will cook.
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Calories: 519kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 52gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 756mgPotassium: 1306mgFiber: 9gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 5570IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 242mgIron: 7mg
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Spicy Seared Tuna Dinner - Pesco Mediterranean Diet
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  1. Geri says:

    Can you use store bought balsamic glaze instead of making it from scratch?

    • You sure can! It won’t have the chile spice in it, but that’s just fine. You might want to add a little butter and garlic to it to give it a creamier texture, but the balsamic vinegar itself is the star.

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