Atun a la Mexicana

Atun a la Mexicana is a simple, delicious, and quick Mexican dish prepared with canned tuna and sautéed vegetables. The recipe comes out in just 20 minutes from start to finish and can be served as a quick lunch or easy appetizer.

Atun a la Mexicana, aka, Mexican style tuna, served in a plate with various sides.

What is atun a la Mexicana?

Mexican style tuna, known in Spanish as Atún a la Mexicana is a simple, yet delicious recipe made of canned tuna, tomatoes, onions, green chilies, and spices.

The vegetables are first sautéed with some oil, then tuna is added to finish with a flavorful mixture that can be served as a main meal, used to stuff in empanadas or tacos, or enjoy as an easy appetizer.

The recipe can also be found as atún guisado and is a favorite during Cuaresma (Lent) when vegetarian and seafood dishes are often prepared.

We can say that the term “a la Mexicana” is popularly used in Mexican cuisine to refer to dishes made using the three common ingredients that remind the country’s flag: Chilies (green), onions (white), and tomatoes (red).

A plate with atun a la Mexicana. Rice, tortilla chips, pickled chiles, and lime wedges on the side.

The simple ingredients

Atun a la Mexicana is a budget-friendly dish, made with ingredients you can easily find all around the world, let me tell you which ones:

CANNED TUNA. You can use any type of canned tuna you have available where you live, from olive oil-packed tuna to light tuna, etc. Read more about canned tuna safety.

TOMATOES. I prefer using ripe soft tomatoes because once cooked, they create a delicious sauce. If you use firm tomatoes, they will keep their shape, which is also a nice thing if you want to serve this dish as an appetizer.

ONIONS. White, yellow, or red doesn’t matter, again, is just a personal preference.

CHILIES. Use any type of green chilies you have locally available, my mother also loved to make this recipe with homemade chiles en vinagre and it was always delicious!

CILANTRO. If you can’t find fresh cilantro use the dried version a pinch of powdered coriander seeds or the flavor. Other herb that goes perfect, even if it’s not so popular in Mexico, is basil; it adds a nice fresh touch to the dish!

SPICES. The delicious mixture is flavored with simple spices such as garlic, pepper, and salt. There’s no need for more, believe me.

First, prepare the ingredients to make Mexican style tuna, as this recipe takes really little time to cook, you need everything ready to throw into the pan before starting.

The Step by Step Recipe

Cut the chiles longwise and remove the seeds and veins with the tip of a knife. Peel and chop the onions, and then cut and discard the seeds on tomatoes and then dice them. Last, drain the canned tuna and keep everything on hand.

Chopped vegetables in a plate and two cans of tuna, drained, on the side.

In a medium pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add first onions and sauté for 1 minute, then add chilies and cook everything for 2 more minutes or until the veggies are soft.

Sautéed onions and green chilies on a pan.

Add tomatoes, cilantro, and minced garlic. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and mix everything to combine. Cook for 3 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and juices are released.

Onions, chilies, and tomatoes sautéed on a pan.

Last, mix in the canned tuna and cook for two more minutes to blend all flavors together. Adjust salt to taste and serve.

Atun a la Mexicana cooked in a pan.

How is eaten

Atun a la Mexicana can be served as a main dish with some sides such as arroz blanco, refried beans, fresh salad, or even creamy spaghetti.

Or you can also serve it as an appetizer and top some crunchy tostadas or scoop it up with totopos corn chips or saltines.

But you can also use the mixture to stuff in empanadas, gorditas, or to make fried flautas tacos; then serve with your favorite toppings and salsas.

For drinking we suggest a refreshing and tangy agua de tamarindo or for a boozy drink, a cold michelada is the best!

A close-up on Mexican style tuna, aka, atun a la Mexicana.

How To Store and Reheat

Mexican style tuna is one of my favorite prep meals, even though it takes so little time to make, I love doubling or tripling the recipe and store for later. And it also freezes wonderfully.

Place leftovers in a glass container with a tight lid. Since this recipe contains fish, a glass container won’t absorb the smell and the tight lid will prevent it from coming out. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

For reheating, use a small pan and reheat over medium-low heat. Is necessary to thaw the mixture before reheating.

More “A La Mexicana” Recipes

Atun a la Mexicana recipe.

Atún a la Mexicana

This delicious atun a la Mexicana is quick, easy, and so delicious. Serve as a main meal with your favorite sides or scoop it up with tortilla chips.
PREP 10 minutes
COOK 8 minutes
TOTAL 18 minutes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 2
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

  • 2 cans tuna (5,6 oz each)
  • 2 medium tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers (seeded and chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro (chopped)
  • salt (to taste)

Instructions

  • In a medium pan heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add first onions and sauté for 1 minute, then add chilies and cook everything for 2 more minutes or until the veggies are soft.
  • Add tomatoes, cilantro, and minced garlic.
  • Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and mix everything to combine.
  • Cook for 3 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and juices are released.
  • Drain and mix in tuna. Cook for two more minutes to blend all flavors together.
  • Adjust salt to taste and serve.

NOTES

How To Store and Reheat
  • Place leftovers in a glass container with a tight lid. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • For reheating, use a small pan and reheat over medium-low heat. Is necessary to thaw the mixture before reheating.
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