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Sesame-Crusted Tuna with Wasabi Dressing

  • Albacore tuna
  • Rice bowl / Grain bowl
  • Pan-sear
  • Wheat/Gluten free
  • Active Time:30 min
  • Total Time:30 min
  • Servings:2
  • Difficulty:Easy
Photo by Tatum Mangus

Like the little black dress, sesame-crusted tuna never goes out of style. Ours is lightly seared and served with sushi rice, pickled cucumbers, and a punchy wasabi soy dressing.


  • 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar, divided

  • Sugar

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise

  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

  • ½ to 1 teaspoon wasabi paste (or to taste)

  • ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger

  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil such as canola or grapeseed, plus more for sautéing

  • 1 portion albacore tuna (8 to 10 ounces)

  • Gluten free soy sauce or tamari for brushing

  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, preferably black and white

  • 1 cup baby arugula

  • Warm or room temperature sushi rice for serving

  • Thinly sliced scallions and radishes for serving


Pickle the Cucumbers

In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the vinegar and 1 teaspoon each sugar and salt. Add the cucumbers and stir to combine.

Make the Dressing

In a small bowl, add the remaining vinegar, mayonnaise, sesame oil, wasabi paste, ginger, and a pinch of sugar, and whisk to combine. In a steady stream, whisk in the neutral oil and season with salt.

Prep the Tuna

Season the tuna all over with salt and brush with soy sauce. Coat the tuna with the sesame seeds, pressing to adhere.

Sear the Tuna

Place a medium nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add a thin layer of neutral oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the tuna and sear on all 3 sides until golden, 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting into ½-inch-thick slices.

Finish and Serve

Add the arugula to the cucumbers. Spoon the rice into bowls and top with the sliced tuna and the cucumber-arugula salad. Drizzle with the wasabi dressing and garnish with scallions and radishes.

Pro Tips

Pair it Up

These bold flavors need full-bodied wine to match. Look for a fruity pinot gris from Oregon with a little acidity to stand up to this lively dish.

Spice It Up

Wasabi definitely brings some heat, but a sprinkle of shichimi togarashi, a Japanese spice blend, just before serving adds an extra punch.

Change It Up

Wrap any leftover tuna, salad, and rice in lettuce wraps and dip in the dressing for lunch.

Lighten It Up

Mayo adds a luxurious creaminess to the dressing but is entirely optional.


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