Seared Tuna with Mixed Greens and Lemon-Tahini dressing

Seared Tuna

A week or so ago, I was rushed for time at lunch, so I picked up a little tray of seared tuna from the sushi station at Whole Foods and I ate it at the kitchen counter while unpacking my groceries.  To paraphrase Ulysses Everett McGill in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, that small taste of tuna only managed to arouse my appetite without bedding it down.  The next trip to the grocery, I picked up a nice tuna steak!

Like a lot of people, I grew up eating tuna that came out of a can – and it usually ended up in a nondescript casserole (remember Tuna Helper?) or a mayonnaisey salad.  Who knew that it existed as a deep-red, meaty steak?  A good piece of tuna doesn’t really require anything – in fact, cooking it manages to dry it out and render it tasteless.  I like it quickly seared on both sides and rare in the middle – which adds a little flavor from the toasted coating but allows the meat to retain all the delicious properties of raw tuna.

For this meal, the tuna was coated with a mixture of  seeds before searing it in a hot, hot pan.  I sliced it up and served it with a mixed greens salad with diced cucumber, diced red bell pepper, and lemon-tahini dressing.  Add anything you wish to the salad (avocado and tomatoes sure would be good…), but don’t skip this tasty dressing.  I had to (again) restrain myself from drinking it, it’s so good!


  • ~1 pound tuna steak, about 1 inch thick (select steaks that are deeply red with no off-color patches)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (or pepper blend)
  • oil suitable for high-heat cooking
  • Mixed salad greens and fixings (red bell pepper, cucumber, avocado, tomatoes, carrots, asparagus, etc.)
  • Lemon-Tahini dressing (see below)

Using a small food processor (such as the bowl attachment that comes with some immersion mixers), briefly pulse the pumpkin seeds and flax seeds to a coarse meal.  (Alternatively, the seeds can be chopped fine by hand with a knife.)  Do not over process or you’ll have seed-butter.  Add the 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds to the mixture and stir together.

Rinse the tuna steak with cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Gently press the sesame seed mixture on both sides of the tuna steak, using your fingers.

Gather the salad ingredients and prepare the lemon-tahini dressing.  Searing the tuna only takes a few minutes and you need to serve it immediately when done.

Heat a cast-iron or other heavy frying pan over high heat until searing hot (the hotter the better).  Spray the tuna with oil on both sides (or drizzle lightly) and immediately add the tuna to the pan.  Sear undisturbed for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, then flip and sear the other side for 2 minutes.

Remove seared tuna to a cutting board and slice into 1/4 to 1/2 strips.  (It does not need to “rest”.) Plate with the mixed salad greens and vegetables, as desired.  Drizzle with lemon-tahini dressing and enjoy!

Lemon-Tahini Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • Juice of one lemon (about 1/4 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon tamari sauce, coconut aminos, or soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup almond or macadamia oil
  • kosher salt and lemon pepper, to taste

Add the egg, lemon juice, tahini paste, honey, garlic, ginger, and tamari sauce to a food processor or blender.  Process until smooth.  With the processor running, slowly pour in the oil in a thin stream.  Process for around a minute longer until creamy.  (It will be a relatively light consistency.)  Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper.  Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Seared Tuna wm

What a tasty treat that meal was! I could eat that every day…!

Don’t know how I missed this early album from Rodney Crowell, but once we started listening, song after song were familiar. “Shame on the Moon” was a big hit for Bob Seger, “Til I Gain Control Again” was a great Emmylou/Willie Nelson moment. This is available along with another good Crowell album on But What Will the Neighbors Think/Rodney Crowell. Highly recommended!

Now here’s a record everyone should have, the first solo album from Leon Russell. What a talent! Great songwriter, piano player and vocalist. The songs on here- “Delta Lady”, “A Song For You” and more are classics, and if you haven’t heard this one in a while, treat yourself!


9 thoughts on “Seared Tuna with Mixed Greens and Lemon-Tahini dressing

  1. I adore seared tuna! I have been hooked since the first time that I had it. Your version looks fantastic. I really like the use of pumpkin seeds in the crust!

    1. Thank you Carrie! To make that crust, I basically looked in the cupboard to see what was in there to mix with sesame seeds. It was a nice combination! I like it when recipes come together like that!

    1. Thanks! That dressing is to die for! I may make more of it today for cole slaw. It’s technically a thinned-out, flavored mayonnaise, but don’t mention that to your wife since she’s a mayo-hater. 🙂

  2. Totally agree on Leon’s 1st album. Keith makes an excellent Asian coleslaw with no mayonnaise at all.

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