Ahi Tuna Lettuce Cups

By Sally Cameron on May 14, 2010

Appetizers & Snacks, Chicken & Turkey, Fish & Seafood, Salads and Dressings

Ahi tuna salad cups make a cool summer appetizer or entree. Beautiful pink tuna, red tomatoes, crunchy carrots and cucumbers, sweet mango, all tossed with a coconut lime dressing. I like to add diced avocado just before serving. It’s delicious! If the raw state of the tuna bothers you or you are not a sushi fan (I get it), sear the tuna or cook it then dice it up. If you don’t eat tuna, try this salad with small cooked bay shrimp. It’s all good and bound to be a healthy hit.

raw ahi tuna salad | afoodcentriclife.com

Ahi Tuna Lettuce Cups

Heading into warm summer weather, having cool easy recipes in your repertoire is a good thing. These ahi tuna lettuce cups require no cooking, just some knife skills to prep the ingredients. All of it can be done a few hours ahead of time, then before serving add the avocado and dressing. The salad is along the lines of a traditional, native Hawaiian salad called Poke (POE-keh).

Making Lettuce Cups

If you’ve never made lettuce cups it is easy and fun. Some people call them lettuce wraps. Buy large heads of butter lettuce and trim off the bottom stem. Next separate whole leaves from the head into cup for your salad. Wash well with produce wash and dry. These cups are fill-able with just about any kind of salad, such as egg salad, chicken salad or shrimp salad. 

If you can’t get butter lettuce, try radicchio leaves, red butter lettuce leaves, or romaine leaves.


Ahi Tuna Lettuce Cups

Filled with Ahi tuna and lots of veggies with a coconut lime dressing, these cups work as an appetizer or an entree. Great for hot summer weather. No cooking required! If you are concerned about raw fish, cook the tuna or use small bay shrimp instead. Thanks to my friend Rachelle Boucher for sharing the recipe which I've adapted.
Course Appetizer, Dinner, lunch, Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword ahi tuna, lettuce cups, salad
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 as entree, more as appetizer


Ahi Tuna Salad

  • 3/4 pound highest quality raw Ahi tuna sushi grade
  • 2 heads butter lettuce whole leaves removed for cups
  • 1 pound Roma tomatoes or 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 large large mango
  • 3/4 pound seedless cucumber English or Persian
  • ½ pound carrots about 4 medium
  • 4 green onions
  • 1/2 avocado

Dressing (makes extra)

  • 3/4 cup canned light coconut milk shake the can well before opening
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice 2-3 medium limes
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce/0 or regular soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon regular or toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more to taste


  • Leave tuna in the refrigerator until needed. Gather all remaining ingredients. Wash and dry all produce, starting with whole leaves of lettuce. Dry lettuce in a salad spinner or with paper towels. Gently roll dry lettuce leaves up in paper towels and place in a plastic bag. Chill in refrigerator until needed.
  • Gather a large bowl for tossing salad components. Cut a small slice off the top of a Roma tomato. Cut the tomato into quarters lengthwise. Holding your knife parallel to the cutting surface, cut the seeds out and discard. Then cut the “petals” into small dice. Place in the bowl.
  • Cut the bottom 1/4 inch from the mango and peel with a vegetable peeler. Stand mango upright on the flat side and using a chefs knife, cut the usable flesh away from the large center oval seed. You should have two large slabs of fruit. Cut away any remaining fruit and cut mango into 1/2 inch cubes. Place into bowl with tomatoes. Cut cucumbers in quarters lengthwise. Cut out the seedy centers, then chop into a small dice.
  • Peel carrots and grate on largest holes of a box grater to yield approximately 1 1/2 cups of grated carrot, add to large bowl. Carrots can also be diced into ½” cubes. Add to large bowl. Slice thin rounds of green onion (green parts only) and measure out ½ cup. Add ¼ cup to large bowl and save ¼ cup for garnish.
  • Remove tuna from refrigerator. Using a sharp knife, cut tuna into ½” cubes. Add to the large bowl. Salad can be refrigerated for up to three hours at this point.
  • Before serving, make the dressing and add avocado. Peel and seed the avocado then cut into small pieces. Add to salad. For dressing whick together the coconut milk, lime, soy and sesame, then taste and adjust for your preference. More tang? Add more lime. Add enough dressing to the salad to dress and toss gently. Start with a 1/4 cup and add more as desired. Season salad with salt and pepper. Offer extra coconut-lime dressing on the side. The salad can be refrigerated up to one more hour at this point if needed. To serve, place lettuce leaves on plates or a platter and mound salad mixture onto leaves. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately.

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