Easy Eats

Seared Tuna with Couscous Salad

I’ve been sick for what feels like all of 2009 so this last weekend I was looking for dishes that were quick and healthy. Honestly, for most of it that was canned soup, but I did make one dish last weekend that I thought I would share:

I don’t eat a lot of tuna, but when I do I like it rare and bare. It’s such a flavorful fish that I don’t like to do a lot with it. At the most I’ll make a light sauce, but sometimes I like to serve it like this: crusted in sesame seeds and lightly seared on both sides.

But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. I also wanted to make a light and easy salad to serve with this. I went with a couscous salad that takes a few minutes to prepare and is also light and healthy. If you’ve never made couscous before I really recommend it. It takes no time at all and I think it is easier to make then pasta even.

Seared Tuna with Couscous Salad

Just a moment please...

Serves 4.
Prep Time
Total Time

Healthy and delicious dinner that takes just minutes featuring a sesame seared tuna steak and couscous salad.


1 pound tuna steaks
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil

Couscous Salad:

1 cup uncooked couscous (makes two cups cooked)
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cucumber, seeded and diced
1/2 bunch of mint, chopped
1 Tablespoon chopped basil
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
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1) Cook couscous according to package and then toss in veggies, cranberries, and pine nuts. Stir and keep refrigerated until needed.

2) To prep tuna, pour sesame seeds on a plate and press tuna steak into the sesame seeds to coat the steak well.

3) Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add tuna once hot and sear for about 2.5 minutes per side. Then turn it for 30 seconds around the edges.

4) Let this sit for a few minutes before cutting so the meat relaxes a bit. Then slice in to 1/2 inch slices working against the grain. For me this was from the smallest tip back to the larger side.

5) Serve the tuna with the couscous salad.

There are tons of recipes out there for couscous salad. I just made this one up, but I encourage you to experiment with what you have. Couscous by itself has a pretty bland flavor so don’t be afraid to pair flavorful things with it.

All of these ingredients are pretty optional and there are a ton of others you could add. Try old faithful Google to get some other ideas.

The start of something good.

The start of something good.

Once you get all those ingredients chopped, throw in your pine nuts and cranberries and continue to stir.

Giving the salad some sweetness and texture.

Giving the salad some sweetness and texture.

Then throw in your Couscous and stir well. Salt to taste. There are a bunch of other spices you could add obviously, but I kept it simple this time around.

Of cous this was delicious.

Of cous this was delicious.

Stick this in the fridge and let it chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, you can work on your tuna steak. Not that there is much to do with it. Take it out and stick it on a plate with a good amount sesame seeds.

A beauty.

A beauty.

Turn it over and get both sides. Don’t be afraid. You can’t over sesame this thing.

Don't go light on the sesame.

Don’t go light on the sesame.

I thought about taking of photo of this guy cooking, but it is very easy and so fast that I barely had time. I seared it in my cast iron skillet by putting a Tablespoon of olive oil in the pan and heating it. Heating it until the oil is almost smoking. This plop your steak right in the middle. Turn on your fan! it will hiss, pop, and complain. Don’t worry about it.

To get the sear I got on mine, I cooked it for 2.5 minutes on each side. Then for about 30 seconds on the edges. A good pair of tongs is helpful for turning and holding. That’s it! Pull it off and you will end up with this:

Ready to slice.

Ready to slice.

Let this sit for a few minutes before cutting so the meat relaxes a bit. Then slice in to 1/2 inch slices working against the grain. For me this was from the smallest tip back to the larger side. Serve this with a big heap of the couscous salad and maybe some fruit and you are all set!

This dish added like a year onto my life.

This dish added like a year onto my life.

Cooking a meal like this really reminds me why I love cooking. It’s healthy, easy, and I feel ready to tackle the next day.

If you can find nice tuna in your area, give it a shot!

9 comments on “Seared Tuna with Couscous Salad

  1. I think you definitely add some sesame oil for even more flavor. I would only do it though if I had some on hand. I don’t think I would buy it just for this purpose.

    Also, one thing. Obviously, you have to cook the couscous before you add it to the salad. I forgot to mention that in the post. Couscous is really easy to cook though if you’ve never done it. It only takes about 3 minutes to cook. If you didn’t cook it, you would have a sand salad…

  2. This could not have come at a better time. I have some tuna in the fridge and I’ve never cooked it before…now I know what to do! Thanks Nick!

  3. I've had seared tuna many times, but have yet to make it at home. I keep meaning to, but it always slips away from me. This post was further motivation!

    I know everyone loves to use olive oil for everything they do because of the fantastic flavor, but for something like this, I wonder if it would be better to use vegetable or canola oil since they have higher smoking points.

  4. Jessica: That’s a great idea. If I remake this (I will) I might just try that to get even a better sear.

    Thanks for the tip!

  5. Drool! Can’t wait to try this! I’ve never made tuna like this at home, but again, you make it look so easy and simple, I’m definitely going to give it a go.

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