Spicy Tuna Tartare Tacos

Feb 27, 2013 31 Comments

Spicy Tuna Tartare Tacos Recipe 1851

There are some who would say that one hasn’t lived until they’ve enjoyed a well prepared tartare.  From the land or sea the right mix of ingredients can make any tartare the most satisfying of appetizers.

Still there are those of us who crave more from tartare than something “we eat before we eat” (guess the reference) and desire this form of raw deliciousness to be the main course.  If you include yourself in this group then the following recipe for Spicy Tuna Tartare Tacos is for you.

There are three primary components to these tacos: First the tartare itself which has multiple levels of flavors on the palate starting with the freshness of the fish, followed by the sweet and tangy marinate, then finishing with the warming heat of sriracha.  In the taco itself, the tartare is balanced by a pickled cucumber slaw for topping and avocado slices that line the inside of the taco shells.  Add in a few additional condiments like red bell pepper, serrano peppers, and sesame seeds to complete the package and ensure the ultimate level of satisfaction for your mouth.

It’s basically just another form of tartare heaven.

Three Notes for this recipe:

  1. Either make homemade taco shells or use high quality soft tacos…don’t disrespect $20-30 per lb tuna with stale tacos shells out of a box.
  2. Lining the taco shells with thinly sliced pieces of avocados is highly recommended as it keeps the crunch factor alive and well.  Nobody like a soggy taco.
  3. The final topping of red bell pepper is also highly recommended if only for a subtle textural addition to the enjoyment of this dish.

The Necessities:

Spicy Tuna Tartare

  • 10 oz of sushi grade ahi tuna*
  • 1 tbsp sesame seed oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp sriracha (hot sauce)
  • 1/2 tbsp honey

Pickled Cucumber Slaw

  • 3 mini cucumbers
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame seed oil
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • pinch of salt


  • Tacos shells
  • Avocado (thinly sliced)
  • 1 serrano pepper (thinly sliced)
  • Red bell pepper (thinly sliced)
  • Sesame seeds

*10 oz of tuna will roughly provide enough tartare for 6-8 tacos…depending on shell size, etc.


First the pickled cucumber slaw…

Spicy Tuna Tartare Tacos Recipe 1673

  • Thinly shred your cucumbers over a paper towel. Then use the towel to ring-out the cucumbers’ juices.

Spicy Tuna Tartare Tacos Recipe 1677

  • Whisk the remain ingredients for the slaw in a small bowl until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Spicy Tuna Tartare Tacos Recipe 1688

  • Use your hands to thoroughly combine the cucumber and marinate.  Set aside.

Now for the tacos…

Spicy Tuna Tartare Tacos Recipe 1704

  • Hack up the tuna into small cubes and toss into a large bowl.

Spicy Tuna Tartare Tacos Recipe 1740

  • Line your taco shells with the avocado slices…tricky but necessary.

Spicy Tuna Tartare Tacos Recipe 1751

  • When you’re ready to rock-n-roll, whisk up the marinate for the tartare using the remaining ingredients.
  • Then pour over the tuna and gently mix together.

Spicy Tuna Tartare Tacos Recipe 1783

  • Taco time.  Spicy tuna tartare first.

Spicy Tuna Tartare Tacos Recipe 1799

  • Bring the heat with a smattering of serrano peppers.

Spicy Tuna Tartare Tacos Recipe 1805

  • Pickled cucumber slaw…yes please.

Spicy Tuna Tartare Tacos Recipe 1832

  • I little red bell pepper love along with some sesame seeds (not seen here) and you’re ready to chow down.
  • Enjoy immediately and savor the flavor.

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31 Responses to “Spicy Tuna Tartare Tacos”

  1. The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time says:

    I will admit that I’ve never eaten raw meat. I keep saying I’m going to try it and then run up against the ‘I’m a wuss’ wall. I love tacos though so these would be the perfect way to dive into the tartare world. I just need $30 so I can buy a pound of tuna. :)

    • Jed Gray says:

      Never eaten raw meat? Really? Not even a steak tartare?!! Well I hope that this recipe helps you enjoy the party. :-)

  2. Eva Taylor says:

    Now this would be a PERFECT dinner for me, Jed — I simply adore Tuna Tartare. Its beautiful texture and colour highlighted by the simple ingredients of the creamy avocado and the sweet and sour honey and lemon, and the beautiful texture and fresh tastes of the cucumber slaw. Elegant, delicious and moreish. This is well worth the investment of the tuna. Cheers!

    • Jed Gray says:

      Thanks so much Eva. We’re extremely happy with how this recipe turned out and were literally sad when we ran out of tacos to eat. :-)

  3. Hotly Spiced says:

    What lovely looking tacos – impressed with how you lined them with the cucumber. This looks like a perfect family meal that would be so good for you yet full of texture and flavour xx

  4. betsyb says:

    Now THAT is a taco, I’m tellin’ ya! They look divine and restaurant chef worthy, Jed. Terrific job! :)

  5. Judy @Savoring Today says:

    Gonna have to try the cucumber slaw … where I come from, tartare would be referred to as ‘bait’ (ha!). My husband would really enjoy these, I’d have to go for a cooked version as the texture of raw fish just doesn’t sit well. That being said, I love everything else about these–the red pepper, cucumber slaw, and the sauce sounds fab. :)

    • Jed Gray says:

      Thanks Judy…though the slaw was conceived around pairing with the tartare, I think that there could be tons of pairings for it. Hope you guys enjoy!

  6. amy @ fearless homemaker says:

    Mmmmm. I love tuna tartare but haven’t had it in months, as we don’t always get the freshest tuna in land-locked Tennessee, and with a baby on board, I’m supposed to be careful about stuff like that. These look SO good – would love one (or two) for lunch today!

    • Jed Gray says:

      Thanks Amy! I hear ya on living in a land-locked area. It was difficult for us living in Wyoming and not having access to fresh fish. Led us to drive literally hundreds of miles to stock up. We’re crazy like that. 😉

  7. The Tin Man says:

    These look great and are are wonderful twist to the usual Ahi on Flatbread. There are times I think I could run up to the seafood case in the grocery store and grab the Ahi in my mouth and run off like a feral cat with it! Thank you for presenting a more civilized method of enjoying it!

  8. Geni says:

    WOW! These would make me so happy. I have yet to make my own tortillas, but might just have to so I can amply respect the tuna as you say. Sounds right. Everything you put into this taco looks like it marries so well with the other ingredients. Can’t wait to try it.

    • Jed Gray says:

      We found out the hard way about the tacos, but will not make that mistake again! Thanks Geni!

  9. Mary says:

    Well, clearly I haven’t really lived. I’ve enjoyed sushi with my husband a couple of times over the past dozen or so years, but it has never been my favorite. These tacos are tempting me to give it another chance and try making it at home!

    • Jed Gray says:

      It will change your outlook on raw fish (hopefully)…these are that good. Thanks for stopping by Mary. Cheers!

  10. ChgoJohn says:

    Really great dish, Jed, and the photography could not be better. One sees many a fish taco these days but this one stands tall above all others. This really is one beautiful dish and post.

    • Jed Gray says:

      Many thanks on both accounts John. We worked really hard to set up our new home to be photography friendly and take advantage of the great natural light we have. So far so good!

  11. Sissi says:

    Jed, beef tartare (a good quality one and well seasoned, if you ever go to Paris, I will tell you where you get the best in the world) is the only beef dish I could eat in amounts that would make me sick, so I couldn’t agree more!
    Tuna is my favourite raw fish and I love your version of tuna tartare. Served in tacos, it would be my dream dinner.

    • Jed Gray says:

      I’m with you on the steak tartare Sissi, as I rarely fail to order it when I see it on the menu. I’ll take you up on your recommendation of where to find the best in Paris when I got back to the continent.

      Hope you’re able to make these tacos or your own version!

  12. Sportschump says:

    We sell a tuna tartar at my restaurant that is absolutely delicious.

    Next time you’re in Tampa, Jedly, look me up.

    • Jed Gray says:

      Funny you should say that. There’s a chance that I’ll be down in there for the Tampa Bay Championship…that is if the PGA grants me credentials. If I’ll drop you a line.

  13. Raymund says:

    Wasabi would also be nice addition here, Nice fusion dish you got here. Definitely a must try

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