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Seared Tuna Dinner with Balsamic Glaze: + Bean Side

Seared Tuna Dinner with Balsamic Glaze: + Bean Side
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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.

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Frozen Fish vs Fresh
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Balsamic Glaze
White Bean Side Dish
Pesco Mediterranean Diet

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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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 and 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.

Secrets to Perfect 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 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.

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.

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 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 peazy) or this classic Nicoise salad made into a sandwich.

Balsamic Reduction Sauce for the Tuna

A balsamic glaze 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 tun 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 is cools down too much while your fish is cooking.

Ingredients for seared tuna and balsamic sauce.
Ingredients for seared tuna with balsamic glaze

White Beans as the Best Side Dish

White beans and tuna are a classic combination in salads. They also work really 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 for white bean and tomato side dish

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:

  • 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 they retain their shape and texture well.
  • Baby lima beans are also called “butterbeans”. They are smooth, and creamy with a rich, buttery texture. They have more starch than the other beans and are therfore a higher carb option.

I used Cannellini beans in the side dish below, but really the white beans are pretty 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 tweeked 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 tweeked 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. Here are some other recipes that are delicious and fit both types of 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 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

If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below and any comments others might find helpful. It means a lot to me when you try my recipes, and I’d love to know how it goes.

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
4.93 from 13 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 Ounce Canned, diced tomatoes I like RoTel
  • 15 ½ Ounce 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 Lbs 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 Ounce Canned, diced tomatoes, 15 1/2 Ounce 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 Lbs 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



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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Thursday 5th of August 2021

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

dorothy stainbrook

Thursday 5th of August 2021

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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