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Chile-Lime Tuna Steak With Quinoa

Chile-Lime Tuna Steak With Quinoa 4.000

Scott Suchman for the Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Sep 21, 2021

In her cookbook, “Cook Once Dinner Fix,” author Cassy Joy Garcia extols the virtues of cooking with the second meal in mind. For this dish, she marinated 3 pounds of tuna steaks and then seared it all. She used half to make this dish and added the remainder to a tuna casserole. Take her lead, or just enjoy this brightly flavored, citrusy dish.

Active time: 25 mins; Total time: 45 mins

Make Ahead: The quinoa can be made up to 1 day in advance. The tuna should be marinated for at least 10 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Storage Notes: Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt, divided
  • 1 cup (6 1/2 ounces) uncooked tricolor quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup Thai chile sauce, or your favorite chile sauce
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 lime, finely zested and cut into wedges
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 to 4 limes)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • 4 (6- to 8-ounce) 1-inch thick tuna steaks
  • 3 tablespoons lightly chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, for serving


In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring 1 1/2 cups water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to a boil. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 17 minutes. (If the quinoa is still wet, uncover, increase the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, for 1 more minute.) Remove from the heat and keep covered.

While the quinoa is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together the chile sauce, soy sauce, lime zest and juice, 1/4 cup of the olive oil, crushed red pepper flakes and the remaining salt. Put the tuna steaks in a large, sealable container, pour in half of the chile sauce mixture and marinate for at least 10 minutes and up to 2 hours in the refrigerator. Reserve the remaining marinade for serving.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the remaining olive oil until shimmering. Transfer the tuna to the hot skillet, using caution because it may splatter a bit at first (discard the used marinade). Cook the tuna until a slight crust forms on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until the tuna reaches the desired doneness, about 1 more minute for medium.

Divide the tuna among four plates. Mound the quinoa alongside the tuna, and spoon the reserved marinade over the quinoa and tuna on each plate. Sprinkle cilantro leaves and sesame seeds over everything, and serve with the lime wedges.

NOTE: Most quinoa in the United States comes rinsed. If not, rinsing the quinoa removes any bitterness. If you rinse it, you will need a fine strainer or sieve.

After testing this recipe, we doubled-up on the marinade in the original recipe. We marinated the tuna in half of the mixture and then used the other half as a dressing for the plated tuna and quinoa. That ups the sodium a bit, so if that’s a concern, serve it as she intended.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Cook Once Dinner Fix” by Cassy Joy Garcia (Simon and Schuster, 2021).

Tested by Ann Maloney.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (1 tuna steak and 3/4 cup quinoa with 2 tablespoons sauce): 452

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 18g 28%

Saturated Fat: 2g 10%

Cholesterol: 44mg 15%

Sodium: 1036mg 43%

Total Carbohydrates: 35g 12%

Dietary Fiber: 4g 16%

Sugar: 4g

Protein: 36g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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