Tuna Cakes with Scallions and Lemon

by Andie Mitchell on May 23, 2011

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Fish and chips-type meals like this fella just shout summertime to me.

sunshine and ocean and breeze and sand in my sandwich and unmentionables

May’s end means I’m as close as close can be to putting on a neon bathing suit and pretending to be on Mayflower Beach in Cape Cod.

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But Seattle doesn’t deserve that.

She prefers skinny jeans, thick framed glasses, and hats. Hats hats hats.

Oh. And scarves. She loves scarves.

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She doesn’t love me nearly as much when I’m dropping all r’s and greasing myself to high heaven in preparation for the sunburn of my life.

She doesn’t know what she’s missing either. couscous 203

I went to Alki Beach in West Seattle last weekend.

And loved that shoreline. The beach is beautiful- pebbly with grainy, salted air and positively postcard views of the city. It wasn’t warm enough to swim, but I hear it’s never truly warm enough to swim.

I wore sandals nonetheless.

I walked to a beachside happy hour and ordered the only appropriate things a girl can order when she’s desperately seeking summer: a house margarita- frosty, limey, and rimmed with salt-  and a plate of fried calamari. My friend Camille squeezed lime furiously over all the rings and I, for my part, pierced each one with my fork before [triple-nope, quadruple] dipping into the creamiest aioli.

I loved that shoreline even more, then.

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I’m keeping the beach feel alive with this dinner. Tuna cakes with crispy French fries.

They’re bright and lemony and tender. Perfect for fresh-feeling and easy summertime fare on any night of the week. The couscous adds texture and much appreciated heft.

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This recipe riffs on another favorite of mine: lemon garlic tuna burgers. They’re wildly flavorful, and even better, a rather cheap meal to make. Be sure to pair the cakes with tartar sauce…and French fries.

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Garlic Tuna Couscous Cakes

serves 4

2, 6 oz cans tuna fish, drained and flaked
1 cup cooked couscous
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions 
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1/4 teaspoon each, salt and pepper 
juice of half a lemon 
3 tablespoons sour cream 
2 eggs

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with your hands. Shape into 8 small patties. Place on a greased baking sheet, brush the tops of each with olive oil, and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F.

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Ana Maria May 24, 2011 at 1:37 am

Fabulous. Those look super duper delicious, and I’m definitely jealous of your beach trip! I love the West Coast shoreline, it’s so very wild…
I’m also jealous of your ability to just throw on a bikini like you’re 5 years old and don’t have any lumps to worry about. Alas!
One day…


Johnny May 24, 2011 at 2:37 am

These look like winners! They would also go great with those Tater Tots! We tried those this weekend and they where fantastic!

You in a bikini would please the Seatle crowd a whole lot better than this beached whale!! You’d look great in a burlap sack! :)


Cait @ Beyond Bananas May 24, 2011 at 4:58 am

Those look amazing.. I have been loving my dose of tuna lately…. and this would be a good way to mix it up!


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat May 24, 2011 at 5:24 am

You had me at tuna… anything containing tuna pretty much makes my heart sing!


Jessica @ Stylish Stealthy and Healthy May 24, 2011 at 5:36 am

The one thing I really have missed on my vegetarian challenge is fish. And guess what I’ll be making in approximately 6 days, 8 hours and 25 minutes?
Yep. Get at me tuna steaks.


Riss May 24, 2011 at 5:52 am

Mmmm this looks delish. And something you can eat when it’s viciously hot (as it often is in Atlanta) without feeling yucky and heavy afterward!


Kim @ FutureDr.B-S May 24, 2011 at 6:06 am

These look great – I love the addition of cous cous.

Seattle does love some hipsters!


Nelly Rodriguez May 24, 2011 at 6:21 am

I love any fish cake, crab cake, tuna cake. Well, I also love cake. These look fabulous!


Jen @ keepitsimplefoods May 24, 2011 at 6:26 am

These tuna cakes look divine. Love the incorporation of cous cous- clever!


Evan May 24, 2011 at 6:34 am

I love the addition of couscous as opposed to breadcrumbs in this recipe; it’s softer and probably lets the flavors shine far brighter.

To gild the lily, imagine adding a bit of lemon zest to the mix! Oh, how lovely.


Claire @ Live and Love to Eat May 24, 2011 at 6:46 am

Andie, these look awesome! As much as I love crabcakes and tuna salad, I never thought of making a tuna cake. I can’t decide if I want to try these or the burger recipe first. Thanks for sharing!


Kelli May 24, 2011 at 7:44 am

Hell. Yes.


Beth @ Beth's Journey May 24, 2011 at 7:44 am

These look AWESOME Andrea!!! I love the idea of making my own tuna burgers… yum!


Jenny (Fit Girl Foodie) May 24, 2011 at 8:02 am

Wow those tuna cakes look delicious, I love the fries :)


Cindy May 24, 2011 at 8:36 am

Gosh I have been craving the salty sea air lately. I just want to go, slap on a Moo Moo(how does one spell that?) and let JJ get sand in every nook and cranny he posesses.

fun stuff.

I have to make your tuna cakes. HAVE TO. I MUST.

I have enjoyed my share of neon orange nail polish but never had the nerve to wear a neon suit.

brave woman! :)



LizAshlee May 24, 2011 at 8:59 am

I use to make tuna cakes religiously! Travis and I ate them at least 4 nights a week. Luckily, we have expanded our horizons since & now have quite a variety. I use to make them with oats but this recipe sounds great. I love the idea of using quinoa…can’t wait to try and will definitely be checking out the tuna burgers.

Have a lovely day!



Gina May 24, 2011 at 10:08 am

What a creative recipe (going on my “to-try” list!) Can you believe I still haven’t made it to Alki after 2 years…Mickey doesn’t believe me that there is an actual beach in Seattle! I’m going to make it happen this year:) P.s. I don’t think I will ever understand the thick framed glasses trend!


sara May 24, 2011 at 11:06 am

Eek! Do not get into that water. I repeat, do not get into that water! I’m from the Pacific NW, and our first rule is that the water is strictly for looks :)


Caitlin @ The Caitie Experiment May 24, 2011 at 11:17 am

The sun itself makes me long for the Cape — both Bourne and boats (my boyfriend’s family has a house there), and Harwich and the Sandpiper and little girl summers. And the Vineyard. Oh, the Vineyard… those tuna cake remind me of the Vineyard! Hoping to get down there soon. :)


Krystina (Organically Me) May 24, 2011 at 11:50 am

This is, oh, maybe the third time you have me craving homemade french fries. If they wouldn’t cut the living hell out of my throat, I’d be making ‘em tonight.


Parita May 24, 2011 at 12:10 pm

I don’t eat tuna anymore but these are even making my mouth water! YUM! And those fries look so crispy, just how I like them.


Stacy May 24, 2011 at 1:43 pm

opinion please – would quinoa work instead of couscous? I have quinoa in the pantry but not couscous and these look good. THANKS (you are my favorite Blog and my folder of recipe printouts is mostly you!)


ChristaJeanne January 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Stacy, did you try it? I’m thinking the same thing and would love to hear how the substitution worked out.


Clarissa @ Sober and the City May 24, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Those fries look soooo good! And if I liked tuna, i’m sure the cakes would be tasty :)


Kelly May 24, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Everything you make looks amazing!


Sam May 24, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Those look delicious and relatively simple to make (a must for this cooking newbie). You also have me craving home made french fries like nobody’s business!

Would quinoa work in place of couscous? I have a giant Costco bag of quinoa in the pantry just dying to be used up.


Lu @ A Mix of it All May 24, 2011 at 6:42 pm

What a great idea to add couscous to tuna cakes. I bet they were soft and melty. I love a good tuna cake.


Bee May 24, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Mmm these do look summery and fun! I’m leery of canned tuna, but I probably should learn to love since once I’m finally out of my parents’ house I’ll have to constrict my food budget a ton. Also: how do you make baked fries that aren’t horribly burnt or hopelessly soggy? I’ve yet to be able to accomplish this…


Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble June 1, 2011 at 11:32 am

Yum! This gives me a great idea for crab/fish cakes made with quinoa since I can’t have gluten. These look great!


maggie June 1, 2011 at 3:57 pm

we’ve been doing a lot of re-blogging of your recipes lately… or planned re-blogging at least :)
i am making these treats tomorrow and was wondering what kind of sauce you have over the cakes? and if i could get the recipe or link to a good one!
lastly… i’m using red potatoes for my ff… i have a recipe already but was wondering what your method was?


Wendy June 2, 2011 at 8:11 am

Oh yum! I may have to make these for lunch today.


Shannon June 6, 2011 at 7:04 am

Andrea, what did I do wrong? Mine came out gooey and didn’t hold very well. They were really wet still even after baking. I used Large eggs, do you think I should try medium sized ones next time?


yumyumyummers June 7, 2011 at 11:27 pm

i like the idea of couscous as the tuna cake base. i made some mahi mahi cakes recently using panko breadcrumbs, but perhaps couscous would work even better!


Beth September 5, 2011 at 8:49 am

Do you think these could be made ahead of time and frozen?


Nette @ This Dusty House December 22, 2011 at 6:54 am

I made these last night, substituting out the couscous for quinoa – it’s what I had in the house – and they were DELICIOUS. I doubled the recipe because we had a couple guys over for dinner with large appetites and they were gobbled right down. I paired them with some baked potato slices and a huge salad – the perfect meal.

Andie, I found this recipe yesterday, and ended up hooked into your blog. Love it, your writing, your stories, your philosophy about food, and your recipes!


Diane February 6, 2012 at 11:57 am

Hi, I love your blog. I was wondering, what is that sauce that’s drizzled on the tuna cakes? It looks good.


admin February 7, 2012 at 5:20 am

Hey Diane!
It’s just a homemade tartar sauce that I mixed up with full fat sour cream and sweet pickle relish :)



africangie February 24, 2012 at 6:44 am

Great recipe, Andie! I doubled it (I like to cook in batches), and substituted half of the couscous with fine bulgur wheat, just to add some fiber. My husband and I really enjoyed them. I’ll have to try the same recipe with fresh fish next time (since I live by the ocean where fish is abundant). Thanks!


Cherie May 16, 2012 at 9:28 pm

Your blog is so inspiring! I’m pretty sure I’m addicted to your recipes, so I finally found the nerve to try out my skills in the kitchen. I made these on “workout” date night! Amazing! Can’t wait to try more :)


Jamie June 23, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Can you make these with any other kinds of onions or do u have to make them with green onions? Would it mess up the flavor if i used vidalias or sweet reds?


Yami June 23, 2012 at 9:47 pm

It works great with red onions, just don’t do what I almost did and forget the eggs. Also, for those who don’t like tartar sauce, it works well with a basil lemon butter sauce :)


Karen Kotzen June 25, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I like the fact that you cook with regular ingredients instead of nonfat!
Lots of luck with your blog. You have a new follower. I found you on Pinterest.


Angela November 30, 2012 at 6:28 am

These look delicious. I wish there was a Pinterest link so I could save them for later


Leslie G April 14, 2013 at 10:31 am

Could I substitute the Couscous for Quinoa?


Andie April 14, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Hi Leslie,

Sure! That would be fine.



Kendra July 22, 2013 at 1:09 am

These are delicious! Do you know what the calorie count is?


Laura August 27, 2013 at 7:16 pm

These were so tasty! I added Quinoa instead of couscous. Yum!


Alex November 1, 2014 at 7:01 am

gorgeous …. thanks for the recipe


Julie January 18, 2015 at 4:36 pm

I made these tuna cakes today and they were AMAZING! A fantastic recipe, thank you! I also read your book a few days ago and read it in a matter of hours because I couldn’t put it down!


Morgan February 1, 2015 at 4:55 pm

Made these today :) Love all of your recipes. Have a lovely week!


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