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Algerian Inspired Tuna Melt Panini

You'll need both hands to eat this overstuffed Algerian inspired tuna sandwich, lavished with fiery condiments, a North African take on a the American classic.

بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
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Tuna melts are one of my all-time favorite quick and easy comfort foods. It's like something about a grilled cheese, something about melted cheese and warmed bread that makes me feel all nice and fuzzy inside. Tuna melts are a great go-to meal when you're in a hurry, have few ingredients in the house or in this case want to re-use leftovers. I always have bread, canned tuna, bread, and cheese in my kitchen. Today's recipe is my healthier version with an Algerian twist. The combination of tuna, h'miss, harissa, cheese and lemon juice offers a complex and flavorful tableau that innovates the traditional tuna melt. I've made this sandwich open faced many times and it's absolutely delicious. To make it for lunch. Make it for dinner. Take it on a picnic.

Tuna salad is one of the great sandwich standbys, but the usual mayonnaise-laced version is quite unhealthy. My version is mixed in with a ton of delicious veggies that'll delight your taste buds. A few more unexpected additions to this sandwich — I substituted plain Greek yogurt and olive oil for the mayonnaise, lightening up the recipe on fat, cholesterol, and sodium. There is no added salt, as there's plenty of salt from the canned tuna (salt is always included unless you buy a no sodium brand). For something slightly more sophisticated and Algerianized sandwich, I've used Algerian Khoubz Tadjine that gives a hearty Algerian element. You could Matlouh, Batbout, Khoubz el Dar. You could go even healthier by using a Khobz chaïr (an Algerian barley bread) Khoubz ezzraa (Algerian rye bread) or really any whole grain rye bread or your favorite gluten-free or grain-free bread. And optionally make this an open-faced sandwich for even less caloric by using a vegetable as the vehicle. 
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So let's get started with the recipe.


sandwiches | serves 6

  Algerian Inspired Tuna Melt
You'll need both hands to eat this overstuffed Algerian inspired tuna sandwich, lavished with fiery condiments, a North African take on a the American classic. 


‣ 1 can of 5oz -160g tuna packed in water, olive oil or tomato, drained
‣ 2/3 cup - 170g plain Greek yogurt
‣ 1-2 TBS olive oil
‣ 1 tsp Dijon mustard
‣ ½ small red onion, chopped fine
‣ 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
‣ 2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
‣ 4 - 5 cubanelle peppers
‣ 1/2 tsp harissa, or to taste
‣ 2 large beefsteak tomatoes, sliced
‣ salt (optional, if you think you need it. I usually leave it out)


‣ Algerian Khoubz el Dar, Batbout or Matlouh loaf, baguette or your favourite sandwich bread cut into 4-6 portions
‣ 150-200g your favorite cheese (like mozzarella or Edam cheese, etc)
‣ light olive oil or melted butter, for brushing 

1. Heat your grill or gas stove top (flame) to a high fire. Wash your peppers then roast turning making sure all sides get chargrilled until blackened, turning often to obtain an even color. Once blackened, place in a plastic bag. Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, lightly wash the peppers under the tap. This will help the skin come off easily and remove most of the chargrilled bits most people don't like; Remove the seeds from the peppers and slice into strips.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the peppers, olive oil, Greek yogurt, red onion, black pepper, lemon juice, harissa, and mustard. Mix well.

3. Cut the Matlouh bread into 6 portions then slice in half. Place a generous spoonful of the filling on each. Top with a sliced tomato and some of the cheese. Place the other side of the bread on top.

4. Heat the panini press or optionally a frying pan/cast iron skillet on the stove. Lightly brush the sandwiches with light olive oil and press for few minutes. If using a skillet, flip over and brown on the other side.

    Make Ahead
    ⇝ The filling for the sandwich can be easily made ahead, chilled and stored in a container. Later made up into sandwiches then grilled or optionally eaten just as a sandwich.

    ⇝ The filling for the sandwich can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. The filling isn't freezable.

    Gluten Free
    ⇝ You can easily make this recipe gluten-free by using your favorite gluten-free bread. 

    ⇝ You can easily make this friendly for Paleo, low carb and Ketogenic idets by using another vehicle for the tuna salad to sit on, like a hallowed out green bell pepper, tomato or even lettuce.

    ⇝ You can easily use other type of bread in this recipe like Eziekel, rye or even your favorite gluten-free bread.

     CATEGORIES: summer, quick & easy,   RAMADAN,  HEALTHY, algerian inspired, picnic

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       ➤This sandwich goes with a cold glass of homemade Orangina or this watermelon cooler, a plate of H'miss on the bread, possibly some crudité and of course some Algerian olives to munch on. 
      ➤Or get inspired at the Recipe Index.

      have you algerian-zed one of your favourite international dishes? 



      1. Salem aleykoum
        First of all, I'm really happy to read you again, I hope you are doing well you and your family, I wish you a hppy come back to school, your sandwich is the kind I looooooooooove so much! thanks a lot for sharing!
        Have a nice day!

      2. As-Salaamu Alaykum Heni,
        I would never have thought to Algerianise that classic tuna cheese melt it looks so good! Allahumma Baarik

      3. Salaamu aleikoum
        Oum Rukia and Asmaa, Thank you both for commenting. And saha for the warm welcome back. Sometimes it's nice to innovate and make up your own version of fav recipes :D


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