Grilled Pepper-Crusted Tuna Steaks with Avocado-Orange Salsa

Here’s a spring and summer favorite that will knock your socks off!  The weather has been fantastic the past few days, and as I’ve been running outside in the sun I’ve been itching to get home and fire up the grill for dinner.  But will grilling ever be the same without burgers and chicken?  As I was looking for a good burger recipe for substituting grilled portobellos to find out, I came across this grilled tuna recipe and plans changed!  Tuna on the grill is always good, but the avocado-orange salsa is what makes the meal.  Plus it’s simple to prepare.  If you can chop fast, it’s 15 minutes start-to-finish.  If you don’t cook and you’ve been afraid to try any recipes yet, this is the one.  There’s nothing to do except chop the fruit and veggies and then throw the tuna on the grill.

[Tuna Photo 1]Avocado is a great source of monounsaturated fats is also a high-alkaline food, good for neutralizing acid in the bloodstream.  Tuna is of course high in protein, omega-3’s, and lots of other good stuff.  There have been some concerns recently about the mercury levels in tuna, and for this reason we don’t eat it very often–less than once per month, for sure.  If you’re worried about that or just don’t like tuna, you could probably substitute any oily white fish here.  Tilapia, for example, contains much lower mercury levels since it’s lower on the food chain than tuna and eats a mostly vegetarian diet.  Just like me.  Hey, tilapia should check out this blog and follow NoMeatAthlete on Twitter!  Here’s the recipe, which makes enough for two.

Pepper-Crusted Tuna with Avocado-Orange Salsa Recipe

Ingredients for the tuna:

  • 2 tuna steaks
  • canola oil
  • coarse-ground black pepper

Ingredients for the salsa:

  • 1 large, juicy orange, peeled and diced
  • 1 avocado, pitted and diced
  • a quarter of a small red onion, minced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
  • a few pinches of salt

To prepare:  Heat your grill to high.  Mix all of the salsa ingredients except the avocado and salt in a bowl.  Add salt to taste, then add the avocado and very gently mix so that the avocado pieces don’t get mushy.  Set the salsa aside.  Rinse the tuna and pat dry with paper towels, then lighly rub all sides with canola oil.  Season both sides with a lot of pepper and a little salt.  Grill to your liking, we did about 2-3 minutes per side.  Don’t overcook it!

We added some bulgur wheat as a side dish in order to get some complex carbohydrates.  One of the great things about a vegetarian diet is that you’re forced to try lots of new grains and vegetables since you can’t just fall back on the old meat and potatoes night after night.  Since I’m into cooking I knew that all of these different grains (like bulgur, quinoa, etc.)  existed, but I hardly ever worked them into my diet since variety came in the form of different ways of preparing the meat.

To cook bulgur, using 2 cups water to 1 cup bulgur, boil the water in a small saucepan.  Add a teaspoon or so of salt and the bulgur wheat, then return to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes until the bulgur has absorbed most of the water.  Then party like it’s 1999 (B.C. of course, or whenever they started eating bulgur, man’s oldest recorded use of wheat).

[Tuna photo 2]Since we’ve had this meal before, we knew it would be good.  One complaint of ours is that the tuna just isn’t all that flavorful.  We got some nice wild-caught yellowfin tuna steaks, but the pepper crust just didn’t do much for the flavor.  So maybe you’ll want to prepare it differently, maybe with a marinade for more zing.  But the salsa was as delicious as ever– fresh-tasting, sweet, tart, a little salty and a little hot.  The bulgur was pretty good too, though we had to drizzle a little olive oil on it because it was dry.   Our rating for this meal: 4 cows out of 5 for the salsa, 3 for everything else.  So get outside and grill it!

Come back tomorrow for grilled portobello mushroom “burgers” with arugula, beet, and goat cheese salad on grilled crusty bread!



Dig this post?
Spread the word!

Keep in touch:

The 7 Foods Worth Eating Every Single Day

wooden signpost near a pathOur 7-Day Kickstart Plan is unique in that it focuses on the highest quality whole foods (including the 7 foods worth eating every day), to make sure you get everything you need on a plant-based diet.

The Kickstart Plan includes:
  • A 7-day meal plan, built around the foods worth eating every single day
  • 14 of our favorite recipes that pack in the nutrition, taste great, and are easy to make
  • Focused on simplicity and speed, to minimize stress and time commitment
It's the best way we know of to get started with a whole-food, plant-based diet, for just 7 bucks. Learn more here!


  1. Christine says:

    Looks really good! I enjoy eating tuna steaks cooked very rare at restaurants, but at home I get nervous and end up cooking them until the pink is gone. Is there a trick to knowing when the tuna is rare and delicious but not raw and unsafe?

  2. Call me a daredevil but I’ve never even thought about if it’s safe to eat it pink or not. People eat raw tuna as sushi all the time. I guess the smartest thing is just to get it somewhere reliable and pay a little more for quality.

    I still end up overcooking it a lot, it’s really easy to do that.

  3. radhe shyam says:

    I’m surprised to see that you have a fish recipe on here. I guess people don’t consider fish as a carcass?

    • Radhe, this post is from the very early days of this site, back when I did eat fish every once in a while. I’ve since gone completely vegetarian and I don’t eat fish anymore. I do consider it a carcass. Maybe I should just delete the handful of fish recipes, or at least make a note on them…

  4. Pauline Scanlon says:

    Hello Matt

    I am trying to find a vegan TUNA steak recipe I can make from scratch based on simple ingredients, and clever plant based tricks. As the no meat athlete do you have one? Or can you point me to where I might find such a recipe if it exists

Leave a Comment