Tuna Stuffed Potatoes

So, did you see the news? The Whole30 program now includes white potatoes. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Whole30, it is a 30-day eating program with a moderately strict interpretation of the Paleo template – no alcohol, sweeteners of any kind, or faux foods (like almond flour pancakes); in my cookbook, I reference it as “a tough-love plan to transform your diet.” It’s especially popular right around the New Year, as people look to clean up their eating habits.

Since its inception, the Whole30 has forbidden white potatoes, likely due to the fact that most potatoes are eaten in the form of chips or french fries. I have been an advocate for white potatoes since first changing my diet in 2010, after reading about the Perfect Health Diet. My inclusion of those little delicious tubers on this site has constantly confused readers who were introduced to Paleo through the Whole30 concept. So I’m happy to see that potatoes are gaining more acceptance as a whole food that has just as many nutrients as its favored cousin, the sweet potato.

White potatoes serve as an excellent example of mindful eating. They have a moderately high glycemic load, but studies have shown that it is greatly reduced when eaten with certain foods, especially fats and acids. So be sure to smother your baked potato with butter and sour cream. Also, the skin of white potatoes are high in glycoalkaloids, which can cause gastrointestinal irritation. This is a known issue – in fact, modern potatoes are much lower in glycoalkaloids than in earlier history, as farmers cultivated certain potatoes (especially the russet potato) to be more digestible.

Preparation of potatoes is also important; when compared to white bread, boiled potatoes are 323% more satisfying per calorie. Potato chips? Only 91% as satisfying. That’s why most people are able to easily eat three potatoes’ worth of potato chips, when they’d have a hard time eating three boiled potatoes in one sitting. So at our house, we typically only eat our potatoes boiled (and mashed) or baked. Or twice baked, like in today’s recipe.

I’ve recently teamed up with Whole Foods, where every few months they send me samples of new products they are carrying in their stores. The highlight of their inaugural shipment was this line-caught tuna from Pole & Line. Each can is BPA-free, and bears the signature of the fisherman that caught the fish. I used their skipjack tuna in making this recipe. Be sure to scroll down after the recipe to see some of the other items that are coming soon to Whole Foods.

Tuna Stuffed Potatoes (Paleo, Primal, Gluten Free, Whole30)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

4 large russet potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt

2 cans tuna (10oz total), drained
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp mustard (yellow, brown, or dijon will all work fine)
1/2 cup chopped pickles
1 stalk green onion, sliced
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp black pepper
salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp)

1. Preheat your oven to 400F. Wash the potatoes with cold water, then rub with the oil and kosher salt. Place them in the oven, directly on the oven rack, and bake until soft, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.

2. Slice the potatoes lengthwise, then scoop out the filling with a spoon and add it to a mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl, then mix thoroughly. You can reserve a bit of the chopped parsley if you’d like, to add to the potatoes when they’re finished. Taste and add salt if needed.

3. Return the potato filling to each potato, creating a mound in each. You may have some extra filling left – an added bonus to enjoy while the potatoes bake. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and return to the oven; bake for 15 minutes, then broil until crispy on the top, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

** I’m a huge fan of the just-released mayonnaise from Tessemae’s (I was lucky enough to taste one of their test batches, and it was super hard to keep that information to myself). But making it at home is very easy, too. Melissa Joulwan’s recipe is foolproof.

** Instead of pickles, any pickled veggie would do. I imagine pickled onions, sauerkraut, or even kimchi would make for some excellent stuffed potatoes. The key is to use something with a sharp, umami-centered taste, to contrast the relatively bland nature of potato.

** Feel free to go nuts with this template. For example: bacon. Or cheese if you’re up for it.

Potatoes after baking.

Potatoes after stuffing.

Here are some of the other items that I received from Whole Foods. These two sauces from Sky Valley were both excellent, and can serve as both condiments (I liked adding a bit of salsa verde over white rice) or as a cooking sauce; both would work well as a marinade for grilled chicken or the like. Note that both sauces contain xantham gum.

I got a kick out of these three heirloom hot sauces from Scrumptious Pantry, made with somewhat offbeat ingredients. The American Persimmon sauce is flavored with habanero peppers and orange juice for a distinct, medium-spicy flavor. The Chiltepin Pepper (aka Bird’s Eye Chili) sauce is sweetened with honey and lime juice, and is the spiciest. The Beaver Dam Pepper has some honey and a bit of cane sugar (it’s the last ingredient listed), and is the most mild of the three sauces. Overall, the sauces are less spicy than I expected; the Chiltepin is about as spicy as your standard Tabasco sauce. The American Persimmon was my favorite, but that also depended on what I was eating; the Beaver Dam Pepper sauce went best with these Tuna Stuffed Potatoes.

Another favorite was this Deck Hand cat food, made from the same folks that caught the tuna used in this recipe. The cat food contains the red meat of the tuna, since the white meat is canned for human consumption. Pretty cool that they don’t waste any of the fish.

55 thoughts on “Tuna Stuffed Potatoes

  1. We’ve been following a paleo diet for a while now. I love your blog and am going to make these potatoes tonight, heat withstanding. Also going to nab a copy of your cookbook so thank you for the education and sharing what you know.


      1. Followed your recipe to a T although I only made two potatoes and subbed in a little creme fraiche. We haven’t eaten potatoes in a long time…I could only eat a half but my husband had both halves. I’m about to have the other half for lunch wit a poached egg. You are right about the umami, this dish has it! Thanks.


  2. Dislike tuna, but love this recipe! Will probably try it with bacon. And yay potatoes being on Whole30! I’ve been dipping my toes in Paleo – not Whole30, but trying out a Paleo dinner plan – and this makes me super happy. I just can’t choke down sweet potatoes. They taste like baby food to me. I’ve tried them so many times, trying to like them, but the taste just makes me ill. So carrots, squashes, and white potatoes are my go-to staches for now.

    I’ve also heard that white rice is okay in some Paleo communities, in moderation. My boyfriend actually dislikes rice, so I make it sparingly anyway.


      1. Hello, I’m a little late to the game here – just discovered your blog now. This sounds amazing. Could you tell me more about how white Rice is ok for most people? I had always been told the opposite, to eat foods in their whole form and wondered how much nutrition is left in white rice, as opposed to brown, for example? Thanks Domestic dude.


        1. Hi, great question, and one I get often. Rice has the lowest toxicity of all cereal grains, and most of rice’s toxins (phytates, trypsin inhibitor, and haemagglutinin-lectin) exist in the rice bran – which is found in brown rice – hence my white rice preference. In fact, white rice has less phytic acid than many foods considered completely safe by Paleo standards, including coconut, walnuts, sesame seeds, almonds, and brazil nuts. Additionally, most of the remaining toxins are destroyed in the cooking process. Lastly, brown rice carries a lot more inorganic arsenic than white rice, something like 4x as much stays in the bran. White rice is low in nutrients – it’s basically a pure starch – so we add nutrients in by cooking it in broth and combining it with meats and veggies. Hope that helps!


  3. These look great…except the mayo. I HATE mayo. So I figure I’ll use sour cream instead. Might try with sardines too. Thanks!!


  4. Coming from German/Eastern European stock, this girl is real excited about eating potatoes again! I’ve been ill for a long time and got waaaaay worse on a low carb/keto diet (like completely bed bound), but due to other medical interventions it took a while to make the connection. In desperation I had basmati rice for a couple of days and voila! I had more energy than I’d had in 6 months! I’ve since discovered that sweet potato just doesn’t give me that boost, and due to my health issues, I need SIMPLE starches like white potato and white rice. Preferably potato, my gut is not quite ready for rice yet. So I think it’s great to have real food luminaries like Russ, Christ Kresser, PHD etc advocating trying these foods and above all, tailor your diet to YOUR needs. So now, to recreate my mum’s German potato pancakes sans gluten….
    Thanks Russ, love your posts. Time to buy your book!


      1. You’re welcome Russ, I have more reason to praise your talents now!
        I received your book in the post today and followed your suggestion to use potato starch to thicken my roast lamb gravy and voila – the first “real” gravy I’ve had since going grain free, much nicer than using arrowroot. Thank you! (Yes, roast and gravy – it’s winter here in Australia!)
        Loving reading the historical backgrounds for the food in your book, and so looking forward to trying the recipes – happy face!


  5. I just found your blog – hilarious because mine has ALMOST the same name!
    I’m considering going paleo soon, to see if it helps. Love this recipe in particular (we’re huge potato/tuna lovers) – thank you!


  6. Hello Russ: I am putting this here because I am not sure where else to put it. I’ve been following your site for a while and have the cookbook as well. It would be wonderful if you could reccomend a site that has a perfect health diet compatible meal plan, or even if you could offer any tips on how to meal plan. Specifically, I am looking at weight loss and trying to figure out how much starch (cooked white rice, potatoes) and fats should be used. Thanks.-Bill


    1. Hi Bill, as far as I know there aren’t any PHD websites that offer meal plans. If you own the PHD book, chapter 44 details Paul’s meal plan template, and chapter 43 is also good as it centers on healthful weight loss. For fat loss, Paul recommends eating typical PHD levels of carbs and protein (what you’d find on the PHD plate; 1lb starch, .5-1lb protein) and limiting fat intake by cooking with less fat and eating somewhat leaner meats. That will create a calorie deficiency without depriving you of nutrients. There are a lot of other weight-loss factors he highlights in the book – intermittent fasting, getting lots of sleep, and eating if you’re hungry. Hope that helps!


  7. Russ i bought your cookbook right after it came out. Freaking amazing is all I can say. I am working my way through your cookbook and I feel you bring a balance to it all. I made this recipe for the first time a few nights ago and they are amazing. So amazing my 5 year old has asked for them every night since, so as I write this the potatoes are cooking yet again. Thanks for being amazing and please keep the recipes coming.


  8. What substitution would you recommend for the mayo? I dont do dairy or eggs. I was thinking equal parts ghee and coconut cream maybe?


    1. Emily, I would use 1/4c each of ghee, coconut cream, and chicken broth. Maybe only add half of it at first to make sure it doesn’t get to thin. Let me know how it turns out!


      1. Hi Russ,
        I made these today, times 1 1/2: I used 5 potatoes, 3 cans of tuna, and the equivalent of 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise. I used equal amounts of ghee, coconut cream, and broth. They turned out great!


  9. I can’t wait to try this, but I’m also already wondering if subbing sweet potatoes in for the white works taste-wise? Anyone done that yet? Believe me, I have nothing against white potatoes, but I love sweet potatoes.


  10. I made these last night. Tasted great but I had a little trouble. I washed the potatoes and then did what you said about olive oil and salt. The skins didn’t hold together. Was it because they were still damp when I put them in the oven? Will try again. Very easy recipe and dinner! Great taste. Oh, and THANKS for the mayo recipe in here. I now can make Paleo mayo!!! Never buying the store junk ever again! :) Big win for me!


  11. These were so tasty! I’m thinking any sort of leftover meat would be good to mix in.

    I cut some of the mayo with Straus full-fat plain yogurt (about 3/4 cup mayo and 1/4 cup yogurt) since I wanted to save a portion of my fresh batch of homemade mayo for something else and that worked out great.

    I also used pickles from a recipe I got on Smitten Kitchen’s website (Easiest Fridge Dill Pickles) and they worked wonderfully in these stuffed potatoes. The dill really complemented the potato and tuna flavors.


  12. Wait… the reason I reach for another potato chip is because the first one wasn’t satisfying? I have trouble accepting that explanation. Perhaps my appetite isn’t satisfied, but my taste buds have certainly been stimulated. I reach for another chip because I enjoyed the flavor of the first, and I want to experience it again. If you replayed your favorite song immediately after having played it once, would the explanation that you must not have been satisfied the first time accurately capture your motivation?


    1. Eric, great question. I mean satisfying in a digestive sense, not by taste. “Satiating” or “filling” may be better words in this context. I agree that the taste of a potato chip is much more rewarding than boiled potatoes! But according to the chart linked in this post, you could eat several potatoes worth of chips and not feel as satiated as you would when eating the same amount of boiled potatoes.


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