Hot Lunch Week: Better Than Classic Tuna Melt

Hot Lunch Week: Better Than Classic Tuna Melt

How is this the first tuna melt recipe on the site? I don’t know what to say except that I guess it seems so basic that it doesn’t require a recipe? Yeah, that’s not a good enough reason given how much I love a good tuna melt. As much as I love a classic, diner-style tuna melt sandwich, that’s not how I make them at home. Particularly when our kids were really small they found regular sandwiches hard to manage. Stuff falls out, the bread won’t stay together or you can’t get all of it in your mouth for a bite. Thinking about a restaurant I used to work at (anyone remember Kensington Kitchen on Harbord?), I remembered the pita pizzas the cooks used to whip up and thought if might be a solution to our sandwich dilemma. And this lovely, simple creation was born.

This is a great weekend lunch – perfect with a bowl of tomato soup – but it’s also a really easy, fast dinner when I’m scrambling. Chop up some carrots, cucumbers and peppers to serve on the side and you’re done. If Ben is working late I’ll make two of these for the kids and me, enough for leftovers to go in Esme’s lunch the next day. I find any recipe that is topped with melted cheese is an easy vehicle for extra, covert vegetables. In this case, I’ve added tart apples, crunchy celery and sour pickles, but sometimes I use diced cherry tomatoes and red or yellow peppers to up the veggie content. Esme and Julian both love these, particularly the way they can pick the pieces up and eat them pizza-style. 

photos by Maya Visnyei

Better Than Classic Tuna Melt

2 whole wheat pita breads
1 can tuna (water packed is better for you but I confess to loving the Italian-style oil packed, which I rinse)
1/3 cup diced Granny Smith apple
1/3 cup diced celery
1/8 cup diced cornichon (dill pickle will do if you don’t have cornichon)
1 Tbsp mayonaise
1 cup grated cheddar


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the tuna, apple celery, pickle and mayo until it is all well combined. You could add a pinch of salt and pepper if you like. Just give it a taste first to see what you think. Spread the mixture evenly across the pitas. I like to leave a small border around the edge the way you do with pizza – it makes it easier to pick up and eat. Sprinkle the cheese evenly across both pitas. Place the pitas on a baking sheet.

Pop in the hot oven for about 10 minutes but keep an eye on them, you want the cheese to be completely melted and the edges of the pitas to start to get toasty brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes before cutting each pita into quarters.

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  1. Tracy
    December 06, 09:13 Reply
    What a great idea! I can't wait to try this!
  2. joan
    December 07, 10:18 Reply
    Yum. Never thought of using pita bread. Definitely will be making this!

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