Looking for 5 minute recipes? Seared ahi tuna is a super quick, nutritious and filling 5-minute recipe; serve with leftover veggies and rice.
Alex and I get a lot of questions about fast meals. And there is nothing quite like seared tuna as an easy dinner idea. Seared ahi tuna is one of the most delicious foods on the planet, and it literally cooks in less than 5 minutes! Put it together with leftover veg or rice and you’ve got a quick dinner. When we started this website, we mainly posted vegetarian and vegan recipes. However, most of you know that Alex and I are flexitarian: meaning that we eat mostly veggies but also flex once in a while to eat fish and good quality meats. So, we felt like it was time to share this trick that we love for one of our favorite easy dinner ideas. Keep reading for the recipe, and how to make it into a quick dinner!
How to sear tuna
Seared tuna is one of the first quick dinner ideas Alex and I used to make when we first started cooking together! If you’ve never had ahi tuna, it’s time to start. NOW! Seared ahi tuna does not tasty fishy at all. So if you’re looking to convince someone ambivalent about seafood, seared tuna is a great place to start. The flavor? Seared tuna is so, so delicious. It tastes buttery on the inside and salty savory on the outside. It’s one of both Alex and my favorite foods and contains a ton of nutrients, especially for people who eat mostly vegetarian and vegan like us.
How to sear tuna? It’s so quick and simple: just heat a skillet to medium high heat with a small drizzle of olive oil. Add the tuna and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove the tuna and slice it against the grain into half-inch thick slices. After it’s cut you’ll see that the inside is a beautiful pink color (raw) and and just the edges are browned. That’s what you want! Because our tuna was sashimi grade and intended for sushi or sashimi, it was pre-cut–which was helpful.
What tuna to buy for seared ahi tuna?
If you’re like us, you might be interested in buying high quality fish and seafood. Here’s a post we wrote about How to buy sustainable seafood with recommendations from our expert friend JD. For this seared tuna recipe, we were able to find wild-caught salmon that was caught in the US (part of his guidelines). Also, in that post he mentions frozen seafood is good too! If a fish is frozen on board the boat on which it was caught and stays frozen until it gets to your kitchen, it will be a much higher quality than a raw fish that has taken a week to get to your plate.
Alex and I were able to find frozen sashimi grade ahi tuna at our local grocery store. It was sold in a little box and intended for making sushi or sashimi at home. But it is perfect for making seared ahi tuna! If you buy frozen ahi tuna, just pull it out of the refrigerator and let it thaw in the refrigerator the day of serving. You can also find ahi tuna at your local fish counter.
How to serve seared tuna
Searing tuna is truly a 5 minute recipe! However, to make it a 5 minute dinner it’s easiest to have a bunch of leftovers on hand for serving it. For our seared ahi tuna dinner, Alex and I used up some of the components we had on-hand. We had just made Cauliflower Tacos with Yum Yum Sauce, so we realized that many of those components could be reworked to make a seared tuna bowl. Turns out Yum Yum sauce is perfect as a seared ahi tuna sauce too! Here’s how we accessorized our seared tuna:
- Instant Pot rice (shown here is red rice; Quinoa is fast and easy too)
- Crispy breaded cauliflower (from the tacos, reheated using the instructions in the recipe)
- Pickled red onions (that happened to be in our fridge)
- Spinach that we sauteed for 2 minutes until wilted, mixed with a few pinches salt and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil
- Yum Yum sauce (from the tacos)
Of course, you could serve your seared tuna with all sorts of things: with rice, over a greens as a salad, and with any of our sauces as a drizzle.
Looking for more quick & easy dinner ideas?
We love creating quick and easy dinner ideas like this seared tuna recipe! Here are a few of our other favorite easy dinner ideas (with one or two 5 minute recipes):
- All easy dinner ideas
- 5 Minute Pesto Breakfast Sandwich
- 5 Minute Romesco Gnocchi Sauce Recipe
- 5 Minute Instant Oatmeal
- Seared Salmon Poke Bowl
- Tomato Coconut Cauliflower Curry
- Broiled Salmon with Bourbon Glaze
- Mushroom Pasta with Goat Cheese
- Easy Chickpea Salad Sandwich
- Loaded Quinoa Tacos
- Best Stir Fry Vegetables with Teriyaki
- Loaded Veggie Quesadilla Recipe
- Easy Nicoise Salad
- 12 Quick Dinner Recipes
This recipe is…
This seared ahi tuna recipe is pescatarian and gluten-free.Print
Looking for 5 minute recipes? Seared tuna is a super quick, nutritious and filling 5 minute recipe; serve with leftover veggies and rice.
- 6 ounces high quality ahi tuna (sashimi grade recommended; wild caught if you can find it. Frozen is okay, just thaw it in the refrigerator before serving)
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- For serving: we used leftover Crispy Breaded Cauliflower, Pickled Onions, sauteed baby spinach with toasted sesame oil, rice, and Yum Yum Sauce
- Pat the tuna dry. Sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper on both sides.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add the steak and cook 1 to 2 minutes per side, until lightly browned on the outside but still rare the inside. Slice the tuna against the grain into 1/2 inch slices. Serve immediately.
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Asian Inspired
Keywords: Seared tuna, How to sear tuna, Seared ahi tuna, Seared ahi tuna sauce
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.