Scallion and Sesame Tuna Burgers with an Ancho Chili Sauce

Oh my gosh, we have so much to talk about. We went to Hawaii two weeks ago, and it was incredibly beautiful and sunny, but not too hot.

The people were so nice. I was so relaxed and rested and fed full of the most deliciously Hawaiian eats. We visited the island of Kauai, which is a dreamy little island, sleepy and charming. The island is swarming with wild chickens, which excited Sebastian to no end. He referred to them as gagos???, and squealed the most precious high pitch noise every time he saw one.

We stayed near the south side of the island, at a gorgeous resort nestled in the palm trees. The gardens and landscaping were something from a movie. The rooms were clean and cozy, and the pools were breathtaking. We ate fish tacos, and fish tacos, and more fish tacos. I tried shave ice twice. The first one was better than the second, but that may be because I am partial to creamy coconut macadamia versus the sweeter passion fruit syrup. I ate macadamia nut everything - ice cream, crusted mahi-mahi, roasted with salt. I ate fried rice and miso soup for breakfast and more fish tacos for lunch.

We rented a convertible for two days and toured the island, and the landscape was so dreamy. I really wanted to take a helicopter ride to the waterfall from the movie Jurassic Park, but, we postponed that one for next time. We saw humpback whales almost daily, and an endangered Hawaiian monk seal. Traveling with Sebastian was incredible. We had a few minor bumps along the way, but for the most part, it was amazing to see his pure joy for life. I love experiencing things through his eyes. Everything is so new and exciting for him. He is so curious and full of life and I love him to pieces. I am so lucky to have him in my life and not a day goes by where I don't feel so incredibly grateful and fortunate to be his mama. I think this trip brought us closer together as a family. It was such an incredibly amazing experience.

We were so lucky to have been able to eat so much delicious seafood on our trip, and we are so lucky that Sebastian loves it as well. In general, we try to eat as much seafood as possible, which is usually around 8 ounces per week 2 - 3 times per week, and a little less for Sebastian, which are the recommendations published by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. There are so many health benefits associated with consuming a diet high in seafood, it's hard to not want to incorporate as much as we can into our meals.

February marks American Heart Month! so I thought it would be fun to share a heart-healthy seafood recipe with you guys. For those of you who don't live in a coastal town, or who maybe don't have access to fresh seafood, canned tuna is a great option. It's delicious and convenient and contains the same healthy nutrients that you would otherwise get from fresh fish. Since returning home from Hawaii, I've been really inspired to cook with the flavors of the island - poke, pineapple, avocado, macadamia nuts etc.

Brent really loves these tuna burgers from Trader Joes - we usually have a box or two stashed in the freezer - so I took some recipe inspiration from that. For the burgers, I used canned tuna and added sesame seeds, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, scallions, egg, and panko. I knew that I wanted a burger with a crispy exterior, so I fried them in some canola oil to give them a nice exterior crunch. As for the toppings, I used avocado, red onion, and lettuce, and made an ancho chili yogurt sauce from scratch. The sauce turned out tangy and acidic, which was the perfect pairing to the tuna. I bought a nice and light sesame kaiser and toasted them slightly. After assembling the burgers and sinking my teeth into the first bite, I knew that everything had just come together as so. They had the perfect balance of soft, crunchy, tangy, and creamy. 

* This post was created in partnership with the National Fisheries Institute. If you are looking for more delicious and easy to make seafood recipes, check out the Dish on Fish website. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep the Flourishing Foodie delicious. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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makes 4 burgers

sauce recipe inspired by

Bobby Flay's reinvented Russian dressing

prep time: 20 minutes

cooking time: 10 minutes


3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (something nice and thick)

4 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp red wine vinegar

2 tsp ketchup

2 tsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp ancho chili powder

3 cornichons, finely chopped

2 tbsp minced red onion

2 tsp minced fresh tarragon

salt and pepper to taste


2 cans of tuna no salt added, drained

1 tsp rice vinegar or Mirin

1 tsp sesame oil

1 large egg, beaten slightly

1/2 cup panko or bread crumbs

3 tbsp sesame seeds

2 green onions, sliced

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp pepper

3 tbsp canola oil

4 hamburger or deli buns


2 small avocados or 1 large, sliced

1/2 red onion, peeled and sliced

4 green lettuce leaves

To make the sauce, add all of the ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine. Place in the fridge covered until you are ready to use.

To make the burgers, in a large bowl, add the tuna. Break apart into chunks, but do not mash into a paste. Add the rice vinegar and sesame oil and combine. Add the beaten egg and combine.

In a small bowl add combine the bread crumbs and sesame seeds. Add the to the tuna along with the green onions, salt, and pepper. Combine.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan on medium heat.

Divide the tuna mixture into 4. Shape the tuna into 4 patties. Once the oil is hot, place the burgers into the frying pan and fry on each side until golden brown.

Toast the buns.

Once the burgers are cooked, assemble and top with sauce, avocado, red onion, and lettuce. Burgers can be stored in the fridge for up to two days and reheated before serving.