Balsamic Seared Tuna Steak with Garlic Spinach & Onions

Purposefully, I did not start this blog as a way to develop a recipe site, despite the encouragement by friends to do so.  The reality is that I am very much an at-home cook and, although my life consists of plans and schedules, not a calculated “chef”.

I learned to cook by age 7 (actually probably closer to age 3!) through shadowing my grandmother Rosemary.  My skills were enhanced after moving around a bit as a young adult.  My palate was expanded as the result of greater exposure to different cuisines and at-home, family styles.  At some point, through a collection of observations paired with trial and error, I learned attributes for foods and flavors.

Now, I sort of just do.  I follow some great recipe blogs and have no desire to compete with their awesomeness!  Another reality is that from most of those other blogs, I draw inspiration, but will often do my own variation.

However, as this blog is in its infancy, I have come to realize that despite best of intentions of an organized, clear calendar, it can be hard to keep up with blogging as a side “gig”.  Therefore, I will sprinkle a few of my own “recipes” into my blog.  Of course I will also continue to special mention those other awesome blogs along the way, particularly as they relate to the other content I publish.

Last week I made a new variation of pan-seared tuna steak.  This recipe worked out great and was easy to make.

Balsamic Seared Tuna 2

First, I started with a low-medium heated pan (I have a gas stove) and began to caramelize chopped onions in coconut oil.

Meanwhile, I prepped the raw tuna steak with a little salt and pepper on each side.  Then, I added some granulated garlic to the pan when the onions were partially cooked.

Next, I added the tuna directly to the pan with the onions still in it (cooked halfway) and turned up the heat slightly.  (I would suggest doing this before the onions are at a half-way tenderized point.  Otherwise, you will have burned, charred onion “chips” which is not the desired outcome).

Tuna steak cooks rather quickly.  Basically you watch the flesh color change from bright pink to grey.  Once the bottom looks like this, despite pinkness in the middle and top, flip it.

Once I flipped the steak, I added raw spinach to the sides of the pan where there was space left in the pan (and on top of the onions).  Immediately, I sprinkled a light coat of olive oil over the uncooked spinach.

I try to avoid cooking with oils, except coconut, because they break down from the heat and become less healthful.  However, due to the firmer consistency of coconut oil, sometimes a cook timing aspect makes  me use olive oil.  Since the fish cooks quickly, I used olive oil.

As the fish finished to turn in color (cook), the spinach wilted and onions completed their path towards caramelization.

To plate the dish, I first removed the tuna from the pan, then topped with spinach-onion combo.  For the finale, I drizzled cool balsamic vinegar over the top.

The reason I saved this for last versus adding to the hot pan was to preserve some of the microbial aspects of balsamic vinegar (fermented food).

Balsamic Seared Tuna Steak with Garlic Spinach & Onions

Balsamic Seared Tuna 1


  • 1 tuna steak
  • 1/4-1/3 of a medium-sized white or yellow onion, chopped
  • Up to 1 Tbs of coconut oil (due to the method for onion caramelization, you may need the full tablespoon)
  • 1/2 Tbs of granulated garlic or garlic powder (adjust for preference)
  • 2 dashes each of salt & pepper
  • 1 healthy handful of raw spinach
  • Olive oil (desired, but likely close to 1/2 Tbs)

***A note on Tuna Steak (or fish in general), it will continue to cook inside after removed from the pan.  Therefore, especially with seared tuna, a little pink is o.k.  Restaurants typically serve it quite pink inside and in a sliced presentation.  This is really personal preference.  However, be sure to not leave it on the pan too long.  It will dry out and become tough.

If you aren’t familiar with cooking it, I would recommend cutting into it before removing it from the pan.  If its still really pink for your preference, leave it on a little while longer, then remove.  This doesn’t create a beautiful presentation, but it allows you to learn what the outer sides should look like when it is cooked to preference.  Bottomline, it will cook in a matter of minutes, so don’t walk away from it either.

Ashley L Arnold, MBA, MPH is a lifestyle health educator and coach who supports clients to channel authority over their health, well-being, and overall vitality.  Offering health education approaches and 1-on-1 coaching modules, she gets them out of excess weeds of information and inconsistent practices that don’t get desired results.  Through helping people focus on the right applications paired with appropriate consideration for bio-individual facets, they become stronger, more confident self-advocates for their health.  Bottom line, they will surpass challenges, embrace healthful living with ease, and, best of all, feel a greater sense of empowerment and more energy!

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