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Say hello to your new favorite sandwich – the Grilled Jalapeno Popper Tuna Melt! Soft cream cheese, roasted jalapeños, bacon, and thick, grilled sourdough bread takes the classic tuna melt to a new level of flavor!
This post is sponsored by Tonnino, but all opinions expressed are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands we love that make this blog possible!
I take back all the bad things I’ve ever said about tuna melts.
Considering how much I have always loved tuna fish, you would think I was a melt fan, too. But no. For some reason, the idea of cheese with tuna – in any way – has always been terribly unappealing to me.
At least….until these creamy, spicy melts came along.
JUST TAKE ME TO THE GRILLED JALAPENO POPPER TUNA MELT ALREADY!
If you’d rather skip my (pretty darn helpful) tips and tricks, essential cooking info, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to this deliciously easy tuna melt recipe, just scroll right on down to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card!
This tuna melt recipe was actually inspired by a slab of grilled sourdough bread.
I was aching for a good open-faced sandwich, and since we’re in the throes of summer, my go-to protein (leftover pot roast) was definitely not happening.
The less I can use my oven when it’s blazing outside the better.
I had a few jars of Tonnino tuna (found at Whole Foods!) in my pantry, and tuna salad sounded great – but I really felt like it needed something.
Something creamy (since I didn’t use too much mayo – didn’t want to ruin that delish oily flavor), something gooey, something spicy.
Suddenly, the grill was on, and I was slapping cheese and jalapeños on top of it all.
Honestly, I’m shocked at how much I loved it. I figured I’d take a bite or two before passing it all on to Abe, but…I devoured the entire slice.
This sandwich has the perfect blend of heat, flavors, and textures. Neither the cheeses or jalapeño overwhelm the flavor of the tuna salad, which is very simply seasoned.
And I’ll tell ya – it was the best tasting jalapeño popper-inspired food I’ve ever had.
If you’re more into stacked sandwiches, you could easily make them that way – or you could just cut them in half and stack them. Whatever floats your boat.
Can These Tuna Melts Be Made On The Stove?
Of course they can – you don’t need to own an outdoor grill to enjoy these!
You can use a grill pan or cast iron skillet to toast the bread prior to assembly. When you’re ready to melt, just pop the skillet (with the sandwiches) under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese is gooey.
How To Roast Jalapeños
Homemade fire-roasted peppers are very easy to make! You can definitely use the canned ones in this sandwich if you’re in a pinch, but there’s something extra delish about a freshly roasted pile of jalapeños!
- First, heat an outdoor gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Rub the grates with oil, then place peppers directly over the heat.
- Close the lid and grill the peppers for about 5 minutes. Check on them, and turn them occasionally until they are charred and softened. This can take anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the peppers, how high the heat is, and how roasted you want them.
- When the jalapeños are browned & charred to the point the skins begin to flake off, remove them from the grill and set them aside to cool slightly. When you’re able to touch them, place them into a large plastic zipper bag.
- Then, seal the bag and allow them to steam for 15 to 20 minutes. This allows the skin to separate from the inner pepper, making them easier to peel.
- Next, slip on a pair of disposable gloves and remove skins, tops, and seeds. Reserve some seeds if you want extra spice in your tuna melt.
- Finally, chop or slice the peppers into ribbons.
How To Make A Tuna Melt
First, prepare the tuna salad. In a mixing bowl, add drained Tonnino tuna, 1 tablespoon of reserved oil (from the jar), mayonnaise, lemon juice, chives, parsley, salt, and pepper. Gently stir to combine.
Next, lightly brush both sides of each slice of sourdough bread with olive oil. Place them on the hot grates and grill until lightly charred, 1-3 minutes, then remove from heat. Allow the bread to cool slightly.
Then, with the grilled side facing up, spread ½-1 tablespoon of softened cream cheese over each slice. Divide the tuna mixture between the slices of bread and spread. Sprinkle with roasted jalapeños (and seeds), then top with 1-2 slices of cheese.
Finally, return the sandwiches to the grill. Close the lid and cook 2-3 minutes, until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and black pepper and serve immediately.
This Jalapeño Popper Tuna Melt makes a fantastic lunch or quick dinner. If you’re looking for a side to go with it, some potato chips or pretzels and pickles are great options. You could also balance the savory with a serving of fruit, like in this Summer Fruit Salad.
LOOKING FOR MORE RECIPES USING TUNA FISH?
HELPFUL KITCHEN TOOLS FOR MAKING TUNA MELTS:
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Grilled Jalapeño Popper Tuna Melt
- 2 jalapeño peppers
- 2 (6.7 oz) jars Tonnino tuna fish filets in Olive Oil drained with 1T oil reserved
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chives chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch sea salt
- 4 slices sourdough bread ½-inch thick slices
- 2-4 tablespoons cream cheese softened
- 4-8 slices havarti cheese or muenster
- Crumbled cooked bacon optional
- Heat an outdoor gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Rub the grates with oil, then place peppers directly over the heat.
- Close lid and grill peppers for 4-5 minutes. Turn peppers occasionally until charred and softened, 10-25 minutes, depending on the size of the peppers, how high the heat is, and how roasted you want them.
- When jalapeños are browned & charred to the point the skins begin to flake off, remove from grill and set aside to cool slightly. When they are touchable with bare hands, place them into a large plastic zipper bag. Seal and allow peppers to steam for 15-20 minutes.
- Using a pair of disposable gloves, remove skins, tops, and seeds, reserving some seeds if you want extra spice. Chop or slice the peppers into ribbons.
- While peppers cool, prepare tuna salad. In a bowl, add the drained tuna, reserved oil, mayonnaise, lemon juice, chives, parsley, salt, and pepper. Gently stir to combine.
- Lightly brush both sides of each slice of bread with oil. Grill until lightly charred, then remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- With the grilled side facing up, spread ½-1 tablespoon of cream cheese over each slice. Divide tuna mixture on each slice of bread and spread. Sprinkled with roasted jalapeno, then top with 1-2 slices of cheese.
- Return to grill, close lid, and cook 2-3 minutes, until bread is toasted and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and black pepper and serve immediately.
PIN THIS JALAPEÑO POPPER TUNA MELT RECIPE FOR LATER!