Secrets to Super Simple Meals 


Ahi Tuna Tostada Salad

3 Mins read

This is why my friends and I don’t go out to eat often.

It’s because we make dinners like this. And we can make four of them for the price a restaurant might charge for one.

Of course, if my kitchen were a restaurant, last night’s special might have read as so:

Ahi Tuna Tostada Salad

Spice encrusted ahi tuna seared and served with mango-jicama slaw on a crisp corn tortilla and a bed of romaine tossed in cilantro-lime vinaigrette

I don’t have much else to say about this, but I think you’ll like the warm, earthy spices on the rare fish. The jicama slaw is a balance of sweet and sour, soft and crisp, and the leftovers make a good side dish the next day. The whole thing is filling, but you can easily feel good about it afterward.

Ahi Tuna Tostada Salad

Original recipe, serves 4


Sure, you can buy these already made, or you can quickly fry up some corn tortillas in canola oil, then sprinkle with salt as they rest on a paper towel to soak up the excess oil. They’re worth it.

Mango Jicama Slaw

  • 1 small jicama
  • 1 mango
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion (This is just a small part of a whole one. Store the rest in a plastic bag or container in the fridge for up to a week.)
  • 1 small jalapeno
  • 1 lime
  • handful of fresh cilantro

Cut the jicama into matchsticks. Cut the mango into small cubes. Dice the red onion (I like to soak it in cold water for a while first to mellow the bite that some people really like.) Dice the jalapeno.

In a small bowl, toss jicama, mango, jalapeno and onion with juice from one lime and finely chopped cilantro.

Lettuce with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole cumin seed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole coriander seed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • small handful of cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • Romaine or greens of your choice, enough for 4

Toast cumin and coriander seeds in a pan over medium heat for a few minutes. (If using ground spices, it’s still good to toast them to bring out the flavor, but you might need more than 1/2 tablespoon.) Then grind the seeds with the garlic clove, fresh ground pepper and some salt (I like using coarse sea salt here) with a mortar and pestle.

Add a handful of chopped cilantro and mash some more.

Add juice of one lime and equal parts extra virgin olive oil. (A fruity Spanish olive oil is especially good for this.) Add the honey and whisk until combined. Taste and adjust as necessary.

Toss lettuce with vinaigrette. You probably won’t need all of it, but keep the rest in the fridge for another time. It’s good with this quinoa salad.


  • 1 pound yellow fin tuna (this will be a lot of tuna, but 3/4 pounds seems skimpy. Also you’ll want two or three smaller steaks as opposed to one huge block of fish.)
  • Juice from half a lemon and half a lime
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon whole coriander seed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder and/or cayenne (I used a spice blend I made a while ago with ground chipotle peppers, oregano, cumin, coriander and garlic powder.)
  • salt and pepper

In a large pan over medium heat, toast the cumin and coriander seed for about two minutes. (This pan will later be used to sear the tuna.) When the spices are fragrant, but not burning, transfer them to a mortar (or bowl) and press with a pestle (or flat bottom of a glass, or whatever you can come up with). Grind the spices, but not too fine. You’re going to want a nice crust on the fish.

Add chili powder and/or cayenne, as well as salt and pepper to the spice mixture.

On a plate or in a shallow bowl, squeeze lemon and lime over the tuna and drizzle with a little olive oil to coat. Cover all sides of the fish in the spice mixture.

In a pan over medium high heat, sear the tuna steaks for about 2 minutes on each side. The ahi is meant to be raw in the center, but you can cook it a little longer if you really want to.

Put a bed of lettuce on each dinner plate. Then put the tostada down and arrange tuna around some mango-jicama slaw in the center. (Some cojita cheese or queso fresco would be a good addition crumbled on top.)

Preferably eat outside with a pitcher of margaritas.

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