If you’re looking for a low carb tuna cake recipe to enjoy while you’re losing weight without all the guilt of bread crumbs, you’ve come to the right place!
Especially if you’re on the 17 Day Diet!
My low carb Tuna Cakes with Lemon Dijon Sauce recipe is something I developed based on very limited information I read in someone’s Instagram post years ago.
It’s a perfect lunch or dinner main entree for the 17 Day Diet, or any low carb diet for that matter!
If you happen to be on the 17 Day Kickstart Diet or the Keto Diet, keep reading as I have more info to share about adjustments, if any, need to be made.
Since then, this Tuna Cakes with Lemon Dijon Sauce recipe has been a HUGE hit with the blog community, and it’s made its way to my Top 10 Most Popular Recipes for the 17 Day Diet.
The secret? The Lemon Dijon Sauce!
Seriously, do not skip the sauce! It’s THAT good!
I mean, look at that creamy goodness!
This is one of my favorite recipes so I felt it necessary to give it top honors in My Favorite Low Carb Recipes for Weight Loss post!
Even my partner loves them and he’s very particular about his food!
Plus, he’s not about being on a diet, and he still devours them every time I make them!
In fact, he recently requested I make my Tuna Cakes with Lemon Dijon Sauce for lunch.
This time I decided to make a bit extra creamy Lemon Dijon Sauce to serve as my salad dressing!
As you can see, these tuna cakes came out perfectly, and the dressing on the salad was a huge hit!
Ingredients for Tuna Cakes
This recipe is rather simple with few ingredients.
Plus, there are NO breadcrumbs in this recipe so it’s low carb and perfect if you’re trying to lose weight!
For the cakes:
To make the tuna cakes you’ll need the following:
- Tuna fish (canned in water)
- Greek Yogurt (or regular Plain Yogurt)
- an egg
- Parmesan Cheese (the powdered kind is best)
- Fresh chives (don’t skip this part!)
- And your seasonings
If you don’t like chives or don’t have them on hand, you can easily use dill (dried or fresh).
Drain Your Tuna Well for These Tuna Cakes
The key to the tuna cake mixture is to make sure you thoroughly drain the water from the can.
You want to remove as much liquid as possible as the tuna cake mixture will be pretty wet as it is.
Make sure you mix the tuna cake mixture really well.
It’s really important to make sure the tuna chunks are broken up as much as possible and the other ingredients are thoroughly mixed in.
The Lemon Dijon Sauce For the Tuna Cakes
For the Lemon Dijon Sauce, you’ll want to make sure you have the following ingredients:
- Greek or Plain Yogurt (you can use sour cream instead if you want)
- Dijon mustard
This sauce can be easily adjusted if you have a preference in flavors.
As I mention earlier, the sauce really is the secret to this recipe. A little goes a long way.
It packs a pretty powerful punch of flavor, so go easy your first time!
Use Your Choice of Canned Meat
This recipe is super versatile.
So if you’re not a big fan of tuna fish, you can try this recipe with any type of canned meat. Here are a few examples of what you can use:
- Canned salmon
- Canned chicken
- Canned crab
I created a crab cake recipe based on this tuna cake recipe.
I have the link below, so keep scrolling.
If you like tuna fish, then you’re going to LOVE this recipe – honestly, I think it’s the lemon dijon sauce that truly makes this dish what it is.
Quick Tips to Make Perfect Tuna Cakes
I’ve been making these for years, and each time I make them, I find something new that helps me perfect the recipe or make it easier to keep the tuna cakes from falling a part.
Quick Tip #1 – How to Form Your Cakes
To form my cakes, I use a small plastic lid that screws onto my pint size jar.
It’s the perfect size for tuna cakes!
I simply line the inside of my lid with a small piece of plastic wrap and place a portion of the tuna cake mixture and form my cake within the lid.
I used to form my cakes by hand, but this method is about 10000 time easier!
Plus, your cakes all have a uniform shape and they cook evenly!
I place the cakes on a sheet of parchment paper so they’re easy to pick up without sticking to the plate!
All four of my cakes are now the same exact size so they all cook evenly and look pretty!
Do you agree?
Quick Tip #2 – Be Gentle When Cooking and Turning Them Over
This tuna cake mixture is pretty wet as it is so extreme care needs to be given when placing them on the hot skillet.
Using parchment paper allows me to handle them a bit easier when first putting them onto the skillet.
You’ll want to cook them for 10 minutes on each side.
This allows for a nice brown crispy texture.
Browning is not only for flavor, but it also helps the tuna cakes from falling apart when flipping them onto the other side.
Don’t rush this step! It’s really critical.
When you’re ready to flip, be super gentle as they are pretty delicate until they’re cooked on both sides.
If you can get this step down, then you’re at the homestretch!
The tuna fish flavor is super mild only because the sauce is tangy and really is the true star of the show!
It’s interesting – some community members who aren’t a huge tuna fish fan try this recipe anyway and they are blown away at how yummy they are!
It really is a great tasting recipe and the tuna fish is super mild, so if you’re not a huge fan, try it anyway and let me know how it goes!
Ways to Serve Tuna Cakes
You can serve these tuna cakes as-is, or with a salad, or your favorite vegetable side dish.
Here are a few other ideas on how to serve these yummy Tuna Cakes With Lemon Dijon Sauce:
- Serve with a poached egg on top (healthier version of Eggs Benedict)
- Serve as a salad (you can leave the cakes as is or crumble them on top of salad greens)
- Serve as a lettuce wrap (cut the cakes so they fit nicely in a wrap)
- Serve the cake on my 90 Second Keto Bread as an open-faced sandwich
Tuna Cakes with Lemon Dijon Sauce Over Greens as a Salad
Like I mention above, you can serve these yummy tuna cakes with your favorite greens. I like to use a dark leafy green, red bell pepper, cucumber, and shredded carrots
Make a little extra sauce and use that as your dressing for your salad, too!
In fact, these tuna cakes are so good as a salad, I decided to include this recipe in my 7-Day Salad Diet Challenge because it’s a great source of protein to add to your greens!
17 Day Kickstart Diet Tuna Cakes with Lemon Dijon Sauce
If you are on the 17 Day Kickstart Diet, you can use this recipe as-is starting on the 10 Day Stabilize Phase when eggs, cheese and certain dairy is allowed.
If you’re not 100% certain which foods are allowed on which phase, make sure you check out my 17 Day Kickstart Diet Food List.
Keto Tuna Cakes with Lemon Dijon Sauce
Keto Lovers: If you landed on this recipe and are Keto, you can easily use this recipe as-is.
If you prefer not to use Greek Yogurt, you may use full-fat sour cream instead.
The choice is yours!
Side Dishes to Serve With Tuna Cakes
- Small salad
- Serve over a bed of quinoa, rice or barley
- Corn on the cob
- Coleslaw (creamy or vinaigrette or use the Lemon Dijon Sauce)
- Mock Mashed Potatoes (Cauliflower)
Other Low Carb Recipes (Patties, Meatballs & More)
If you enjoyed this low carb tuna cake recipe, you’ll likely enjoy the following recipes for meat patties, meatballs and more:
- Chicken Feta Spinach Patties
- Greek Turkey Meatballs with Yogurt Tzatziki Sauce
- Buffalo Chicken Meatballs with Roasted Cabbage and Blue Cheese Dressing
Other Low Carb Fish Recipes
If you’re a bit fan of fish in general, you’ll love these other fabulous low carb fish recipes:
- Crab Cakes with Citrus Vinaigrette Dressing
- Mahi Mahi with Citrus Herb Salad
- Mahi Mahi with Citrus Herb Salad
- Keto Salmon with Lemon Dijon Sauce
- Salmon & Avocado Salsa Salad
- Shrimp Cocktail
- Pan Seared Salmon with Mediterranean Salsa Fresca
- Mayo Free Tuna and Egg Salad
- Grilled Lemon Sriracha Shrimp
- Lemon and Dill Salmon
- Sandy’s Tuna Toast
- Broiled Tilapia with Parmesan
If you happen to make these fabulous Tuna Cakes with Lemon Dijon Sauce, make sure you come back to review the recipe below and let me know what you think!
If you’re on social media, make sure you tag me @17ddblog so I can see your tuna cakes!
Tuna Cakes with Lemon Dijon Sauce
The star in this simple low carb tuna cake recipe is the Lemon Dijon Sauce!
- 2 4-oz cans of White Albacore Tuna, drained
- 1 Tablespoon Greek Yogurt
- 1 egg
- 2-3 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Chives, minced
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Dash Cayenne Pepper
- Wedges from 1/2 Lemon (reserve other half for sauce recipe below)
Lemon Dijon Sauce:
- 1/4 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
- 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- Zest from 1/2 Lemon
- Juice of 1/2 Lemon
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Chives, minced
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Dash Sweetener (optional)
- Drain tuna fish and lightly flake.
- Mix all ingredients together until well blended.
- Make four patties.
- In frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons Olive Oil on medium heat.
- Brown each side for 10 minutes. Be extremely careful flipping the cakes for the first time as they are delicate.
- To make the sauce, add ingredients to a bowl and mix well.
- Serve cakes on bed of lettuce along with the Lemon Dijon Sauce and lemon wedges.
17 Day Diet: Approved all cycles
17 Day Kickstart Diet: Approved starting in Stabilize Phase (no changes needed)
Keto Diet: You can make this recipe as-is or if you prefer, use full fat sour cream instead of Greek Yogurt.
Be extremely careful flipping the cakes for the first time as they are delicate.
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I’ve been loving the 17 Day Diet since 2011. I love sharing my favorite healthy recipes and meal plans to keep you motivated and on the right path to success!
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47 thoughts on “Tuna Cakes with Lemon Dijon Sauce”
I have these on the stove right now! They are pretty delicate But we’ll see how they hold up.
Angela, they are very delicate. Definitely keep browning on each side for 10 minutes each. Gently flip them, too! Once they have enough time to cook on each side, they definitely firm up!
They were small cakes so I browned about 5 min each side. I made 1/2 recipe so I used 1.5 tbs egg white. They were delicious! The sauce was a tad too lemony, but that can be adjusted easily. Thanks for the recipe. Would love to see lots more!
Glad they turned out! I like tart, so the sauce was right up my alley. I used the same recipe for crab cakes with a slightly different sauce, so I’ll be posting that soon!
Delicious! The entire family (2 yo included!) ate them all up! Super easy to make! Thank you!
Glad you and the entire family enjoyed them! I think I want to make them again this weekend!
Can I mix everything in the food processor, or will that chop it too much?
I haven’t tried it, but it would certainly get rid of any chunks of tuna that you might miss otherwise with a fork (like I have). I say give it a shot and come back to let me know how it goes!
I’m a bit confused as I thought only fat free cheese was allowed, but parmesan isn’t fat free?
Ange, technically, fat-free cheese is allowed. All cheese has fat UNLESS the fat is taken out. Generally when you take fat out of something, something less healthy is added to make it taste better. My personal opinion is to eat full-fat everything, but less quantity. With that said, Parmesan cheese is VERY low in fat for a cheese, so use what you personally feel is best.
I have one day to go and i finish cycle 1 .i was 56.600 kilos last week .after a week i weigh 56.100kilograms.is that good? I have hypothyrodism and im on eltroxin treatment.how mush i should loose during the cycle.i want to be 52.
Maissa, congrats on your weight loss! Everyone loses weight at different rates. The best thing I can say is that you’re building a foundation for a healthy lifestyle, so keep going!
These were great! Thanks for the recipe. I didn’t have chives on hand, only green onion. They were still tasty but I have to try them again with the chives.
You are very welcome, Victoria! The chives are very mild and make the cakes very tasty!
Is this ok for cycles 1 through 4?
Yes, all cycles!
This is my VERY FAVORITE 17DD recipe!!! Thank you SO much for sharing!
You are very welcome, Andrea! It’s definitely a winner!
I wonder how they would taste with goat’s cheese as I am lactose intolerant….umm….anyone ever try them with it?
Velma, I’m not sure how they would taste, but I would definitely give them a shot. Maybe instead of the parmesan cheese and the yogurt, use goat cheese (maybe try 1 tablespoon to start) and see how they turn out.
So delicious. Great recipe.
Thanks, Samantha! It’s a keeper!
Torey, my BF and I have a question. When you say “2 4 oz cans of tuna, drained” how many ounces of drained tuna fish do I need for this recipe. This is a bit confusing. You make it sound like we need 2 4 oz cans regardless of the weight after its drained because you said “drained” after the fact. Please help. Thank you :)
ps we love this recipe every time we make it, even if we have been making it wrong the whole time
Hi Danielle, you’ll buy two of the 4oz cans (containing water) and you’ll drain the water from the cans and use the tuna from just the two cans. Hope this clarifies things. So you’ll just need the two cans, but you’ll want to make sure you drain the water!!
I wonder if adding an egg would help keep them together. Would still be C1 compliant.
There’s already one egg in the recipe. I think adding another egg would make cakes too runny. You could however, omit the entire egg and use two egg whites.
Would canned salmon instead of tuna be OK?
Mary, I’m sure it would. Just make sure the salmon is pretty flaky (rather than whole chunks) so it cooks up better. If you try this, let me know how it goes!
can you bake these? and if so, at what temp and for how long?
Luba, I’m sure you can, but I’ve never tried. I think one of the benefits of pan frying is getting the crispy texture on the cake.
Made this and sooooooo good! Was surprised how the sauce made the dish -don’t skip it! Thank you for this wonderful recipe
Oh, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! For me, the sauce makes the dish! I had it for lunch over the weekend and it was tasty as usual!
Does it have to be albacore? Is it possible to just chuck light instead?
Yes, you sure can. You can also try it using canned chicken, salmon, etc. Have fun and enjoy!
Wow these were GREAT!!!!! I will make them again and again!!!
Thanks, Nicole! They are pretty tasty!
I’m going to try this with some cod I have. I have a cod cake recipe from somewhere else that uses potato to keep together (which would be okay for Cycle 2 and up), but I ‘m going to experiment.
Anne, let me know how your experiment goes!
Has anyone calculated approximately how many calories are in a serving of this recipe? I’m doing Noom (have lost 44 lbs so far) and this looks delicious! :)
Hi Teresa, congrats on your 44 pounds! I don’t currently keep track of nutritional info on this site mainly because the 17 Day Diet doesn’t track calories. Does Noom have an option to import recipes to calculate? If not, other apps do (like My Fitness Pal). These are low carb so they are perfect for weight loss!
So what is the carbs on this recipe?
Hi Donna! I don’t keep nutrition info on this blog (at least not yet!!) because the 17 Day Diet doesn’t track that. If you take a peek over at my Keto blog, the recipe (slight minor changes) comes in at 2.4grams carbs per 2-tuna cake serving size. Here is the link: https://simplyketodiet.com/low-carb-keto-tuna-cakes/
Main difference between the two- this recipe uses Greek Yogurt while the Keto version uses sour cream!
I don’t have any tuna in the freezer, but I might try this with some cod.
hi how would this do in an airfryer? What would the time and temp be for the airfryer?
Hi Ed, I’ve never tried these in the air fryer (very good idea though!!). I would suggest anywhere from 350/360ish to 375 for 10 to 12 minutes, flipping halfway. If you try it, let me know how it works out for you!
Do you have to reheat to eat them or cold?
Hi Andra! I’ve always eaten these after I make them, so I’ve never had to reheat them. I don’t see any issue either way, so I say if you want to eat them cold, eat them cold. If you want to re-heat them, you should be good to go there as well.