Tuna Tartare

with a lime, honey-soy, and ginger marinade

A stack of tuna tartare is built on top of some avocado and garnished with some green salad leaves and edible flowers

Tuna tartare with lime, honey-soy, and ginger dressing is the ideal starter for cooling off on a warm summer’s day. There’s no cooking required and this recipe can be whipped up in a matter of minutes, creating a refreshing and light cold starter that combines the delicate flavors of marinated raw tuna with a zingy avocado base

This recipe makes a good-sized appetizer for 2 people or can be served as a small tapas for 4 people. 

Easy Recipe | Seafood Recipe | Mediterranean Recipe | Mediterranean Seafood | Tapas Recipe | Tuna Recipe | Easy Tapas Recipe | Healthy Recipe | Dairy-Free | High in Protein | Gluten-free Option | Keto Diet-Friendly 

Serving:

Tapas for 4

Ready in:

45 minutes

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Fresh bread

ingredients required for making tuna tartare are laid out on a white marble countertop

What you’ll need to make tuna tartare

(Serves 2 people as an appetizer or 4 people as a tapa)

  • 6oz./180g of fresh red tuna
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 spring onion, diced fine
  • 1 lime (zest and juice)
  • 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of wasabi (add more if you want more spice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger 
  • Sesame seeds (for garnishing)

          Equipment needed

          • 1 small mixing bowl (for the marinade)
          • 2 medium mixing bowls (for the tuna and avocado)
          • 1 frying pan (optional for toasting the sesame seeds)

          About this Recipe

          Oh the wonderful joy of tuna tartare (‘tartar de atun’ in Spanish) on a warm summer evening. It is light and refreshing and combines the soft tuna with a delicious and tangy marinade and is carefully layered with some spring onion and avocado

           We first discovered Tuna Tartare while being taken on a tapas tour of Madrid by a good friend. He was excited to show us the many culinary hotspots of the city and on this particular day, we were focused on the lively area of Lavapies for our foodie tour. 

           Throughout the warm summer evening, we had already ventured to several tapas bars before and each was busier than the last.  Our friend and guide was excited about the next stop and promised some of the best tapas in Madrid, claiming there was one dish in particular that we must sample, tartar de atun.  

           We entered the lively and crowded pintxos bar and found a corner prop with just enough space to place a few plates and drinks. Standing is common in many of the tapas bars in Madrid

          A large chalkboard displays a strong Basque-themed menu, and there, right at the top was the highly-regarded tuna tartare, available for just 8 Euros! We ordered and within a couple of minutes our tartar de atun arrived, a neat tuna stack with a green sauce drizzled over it.

          An overhead angle of a stack of tuna tartare is built on top of some avocado and garnished with some green salad leaves and edible flowers

          What is tuna tartare?

          • Tuna tartare is a dish that uses raw tuna that’s diced into small pieces and often seasoned with oil, soy sauce, or salt.

          The dish often balances the soft texture and flavors of the raw tuna with a sweet or salty flavoring from the marinade. The dish is often served in a small plated tower, or with some lightly toasted bread which offers a delightful crunchy contrast. 

          Tuna tartare is a popular dish in Spain, especially in the capital Madrid where it can be found served in many tapas bars and restaurants. It’s most commonly served as ‘raciones’, a larger plate than a tapas, similar to an appetizer. 

          You’ll also find tuna tartare in restaurants and bars up and down the Mediterranean Sea where it is served as a starter or tapas.

          Tuna Tartare taste

          To describe the taste of tuna tartare you only need to look at the ingredients. In its simplest form, tuna tartare combines the soft flavors of the diced raw tuna with the smooth and mellow flavors of avocado and a marinade, either sweet, salty, or sour. 

          Other renditions of tuna tartare are the ‘toro tartare’ which uses the fatty belly cut of tuna and is often served with large capers, fresh peppercorns, and a raw egg yolk on top.

          Tips to make the best tuna tartare

          Tuna tartare is really easy to make and requires no cooking. All you need is a bowl for mixing and marinading the ingredients with the tuna. However, there are a few tips that will give you the best results when making this recipe. 

          Three tips for the best tuna tartare:

          1. Use the best-quality and freshest tuna you can find
          2. Ensure you give the tuna enough time to marinate (at least 30 minutes)
          3. Serve chilled
          some fresh raw tuna steak is cut into small cubes and marinaded

          Best tuna to use

          While you can pretty much use any fresh cut of sushi-grade raw tuna, there are a few preferred tuna cuts that work better than others. 

          Ahi Tuna

          Ahi tuna is a popular choice due to it being found pretty much everywhere throughout the USA. ‘Ahi tuna’ refers to a species of tuna derived from the Yellowfin Tuna and is highly regarded for the quality of tuna steaks that have little fat or sinew and are a bright rose red hue. 

          Toro Tuna

          Toro tuna is also a common tuna used for tuna tartare. Named ‘toro tartare’ this recipe uses the fatty belly portion of the tuna and can be so soft that the tuna literally melts in your mouth. Toro tuna is often a light pinkish color.

          Where did tuna tartare originate?

          Tuna tartare is said to have originated in Los Angeles where chef Shigefumi Tachibe at the Chaya Brasserie created the dish as a substitute for beef tartare. The original dish used diced raw tuna, avocado, egg yolk, green peppercorns, chives, capers, mustard, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. 

          Nowadays, there are many variations on the original tuna tartare recipe and you’ll find this dish all over the world. It’s quite common to be served on a bed of avocado or simply as tuna on its own with a marinade. 

          In Spain, the dish is called tartare de atun and is a very common ‘racione’ (appetizer) that’s typically served with some toasted bread or crackers. It’s popular to be served during the summer and offers a refreshing cold starter

          A stack of tuna tartare is built on top of some avocado and garnished with some green salad leaves and edible flowers

          Tuna Tartare – How to make

          Our step-by-step recipe guide is below, and here’s a quick summary of how to make tuna tartare. 

          • Prep time: 15 minutes
          • Marinading time: 30 minutes
          • Ready in: 45 minutes

          Start by preparing the marinade, then slice your tuna into small ¼ inch/6mm cubes. Finely slice the onion and spring onion and add to the tuna in a small bowl. Add the marinade and mix well. Cover and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 

          Next, prepare the avocado by cutting it into small ¼ inch/6mm cubes. Then add the spring onion, lime juice, lime zest, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds and mix well. Allow to marinate for 5 minutes.

          In this recipe, we used a stainless steel kitchen ring to build a tuna tartare ‘tower’. If you don’t have a ring, you can easily fashion one from a food tin or plastic bottle with the top and bottom cut off. 

          How to serve Tuna Tartare

          When arranging your tuna tartare, first layer some avocado mixture in the ring and press down gently with a fork.

          Next, add a layer of tuna and press lightly on the top with a fork. Gently lift up and remove the ring and garnish the tuna tartare with some sesame seeds, sesame oil, or olive oil, and your favorite choice of salad.

          A stack of tuna tartare is built on top of some avocado and garnished with some green salad leaves and edible flowers

          Tuna tartare with lime, honey-soy, and ginger marinade

          Byron
          Tuna tartare with lime, honey-soy, and ginger dressing is the ideal starter for cooling off on a warm summer’s day. There’s no cooking required and this recipe can be whipped up in a matter of minutes, creating a refreshing and light cold starter that combines the delicate flavors of marinated raw tuna with a zingy avocado base.
          This recipe makes a good-sized appetizer for 2 people or can be served as a small tapas for 4 people.
          5 from 5 votes
          Prep Time 15 mins
          Cook Time 0 mins
          marinading time: 30 mins
          Total Time 45 mins
          Course Appetizer, seafood, starter, tapas
          Cuisine American, Seafood, spanish
          Servings 4 tapas
          Calories 217 kcal

          Equipment

          • 1 Small mixing bowl (for the marinade)
          • 2 medium mixing bowls (for the tuna and avocado)
          • 1 frying pan (optional for toasting the sesame seeds)

          Ingredients
            

          • 6 oz./180g of fresh red tuna
          • 1 avocado
          • 1 spring onion diced fine
          • 1 lime zest and juice
          • 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
          • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
          • 1 tablespoon of honey
          • 1 teaspoon of wasabi add more if you want more spice
          • 1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger
          • Sesame seeds for garnishing

          Instructions
           

          Step 1 - Prepare marinade

          • Start by preparing the marinade. In a small bowl add the soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, grated ginger, and wasabi. Mix until you have a smooth consistency with no lumps.
            a small bowl sits with a marinade for tuna tartare

          Step 2 - Prepare tuna

          • Finely dice the spring onion and cut the tuna into small ¼ inch/6mm cubes.
            raw tuna is diced into small cubes alongside some finely diced white onion
          • Add to a bowl with the marinade and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
            Optional - While waiting for the tuna mixture to marinate, lightly toast some sesame seeds in a pan over medium-high heat for a few minutes. You’ll see the seeds change color and golden once ready.
            some fresh raw tuna steak is cut into small cubes and marinaded

          Step 3 - Prepare avocado

          • Next cut the avocado into ¼ inch cubes. In a small bowl add the avocado, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, plus the lime juice and zest. Gently mix and set aside for 5 minutes.
            Diced avocado sits in a small bowl besides a halved avocado

          Step 4 - Plate tuna tartare

          • Use a 3-inch/7.5cm kitchen ring. Add a layer of avocado and gently press down with a fork. Remove the marinated tuna from the fridge and add a sprinkle of sesame seeds to the marinaded tuna.
            A stack of tuna tartare is built on top of some avocado and garnished with some green salad leaves and edible flowers
          • Next, add a layer of the tuna on top of the avocado, and again, gently press with a fork to lightly compact the stack.
            An overhead angle of a stack of tuna tartare is built on top of some avocado and garnished with some green salad leaves and edible flowers
          • Remove the kitchen ring and garnish with some sesame seeds and some sesame oil.
            A stack of tuna tartare is built on top of some avocado and garnished with some green salad leaves and edible flowers

          Video

          Notes

          Storage:
          Store any leftover tuna tartare in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for up to 2 days. 

          Nutrition

          Serving: 80gCalories: 217kcalCarbohydrates: 12.2gProtein: 11.6gFat: 14.7gSaturated Fat: 2.7gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 173mgPotassium: 291mgFiber: 4.3gSugar: 5.6gCalcium: 43mgIron: 1mg
          Keyword avocado, cold starter, easy recipe, no cook, seafood, Spanish tapas, Tuna, tuna tartare
          Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

          Tuna Tartare – Preparation Tips and FAQs

          What is tuna tartare made of?

          Tuna tartare can be made with sushi-grade raw tuna that’s simply cut into small pieces and a light marinade applied. It is most common that tuna tartare recipes include spring onion or onion, soy sauce, honey, mustard, ginger, sesame oil or olive oil, and avocado. 

          Is tuna tartare good for you?

          Tuna tartare is very healthy as it uses a range of uncooked ingredients. Raw tuna is loaded with nutrients and essential vitamins such as iron, and iodine, as well as being a good source of omega 3 healthy fats. 

          What kind of tuna for tuna tartare?

          Ask for sushi-grade tuna from your local fishmonger or market. Always check that the tuna is fresh and suitable for consumption raw. 

          Is tuna tartare gluten-free/Keto-friendly?

          Tuna tartare is great when on the Keto diet. It is gluten-free and low carb making it a healthy choice. 

          How long does tuna tartare keep?

          This tuna tartare recipe will keep up to 2 days when refrigerated in an airtight container as long as you make it on the day you purchase the fish. 

          Can you use frozen tuna for tuna tartare?

          Yes, frozen tuna will work fine for making tuna tartare. In fact, freezing the tuna beforehand helps kill bacteria or parasites in the tuna. If using frozen tuna, thaw the tuna in the fridge before making this recipe.

          Looking for more easy-to-make tapas recipes?

          close up shot of sizzling garlic shrimp in a earthenweare dish topped with some fresh chopped parsley

          Garlic Shrimp - Gambas al ajillo

          Easy to make in 20 minutes

          An earthenware bowl sits filled with Mediterranean hummus that's is topped with olive oil and some paprika

          Mediterranean Hummus

          The Healthy Hummus Recipe | Vegan

          an earthenware dish sits on a blue wooden table and is filled with golden friend potato pieces smothered with Spanish bravas sauce

          Spicy Patatas Bravas

          Super easy Spanish tapas recipe (Vegan)

          2 wedges of Tortilla espanol sit on a white plate

          Tortilla Española

          Spanish Omelet with caramelized onion

          A large white casserole dish sits filled with eggplant casserole

          Have you made this recipe?

          tag @thespanishradish or scan the nametag

          and don’t forget to hashtag it #thespanishradish

          👇👇👇  SCAN ME 👇👇👇

          Spanish radish nametag for instagram

          Find us on social media!

          We’re social! Reach out and say hi!