Fresh Grilled Tuna Steak topped with salty, sweet while still tangy, and a bit spicy mixture of tomatoes, olives, capers, garlic, lemon juice, anchovy paste, red pepper flakes and oregano. That’s all it takes to prepare this quick and easy Grilled Tuna Recipe with Puttanesca Sauce!

black and gold plate with Grilled Tuna with Puttanesca Sauce
(Photo by Laurie Smith)

Grilled Tuna Steak

With this grilled tuna recipe, you can have a delicious and colorful dish on the table in minutes. Tuna steaks are relatively easy to grill, given that they are dense and don’t tend to flake or fall apart when cooked. Here’s an important tip: oil your grill just prior to putting the steaks on (see my tuna grilling tips that I shared with Tom Green on Denver’s CW affiliate, KWGN morning news).

Tuna Puttanesca

The flavor of the tuna blends perfectly with our intensely-flavored Puttanesca sauce of tomatoes, olives, capers, garlic, lemon juice, anchovy paste and oregano. Salty, sweet while still tangy, and a bit spicy, this sauce is quick and easy to prepare – and looks beautiful on the plate. Enjoy!

Grilled Tuna Recipe Ingredients

Puttanesca is a robust Italian sauce that is a salty, tangy and a bit sweet and spicy. Our sauce calls for 8 ingredients, and chances are most of them are in your pantry:

  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh tomatoes – Roma (Italian) tomatoes work well in this recipe
  • 1/3 cup chopped olives – black or green
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves)

Plus, you’ll need vegetable or other high-smoke point oil for the grill and 4 tuna steaks, 3/4 to 1-inch thick.

How To Make Grilled Tuna Steak and Puttanesca Sauce

You are going to be amazed at how quick and easy this grilled tuna is to prepare – in less than 20 minutes from beginning to end! Here are the steps:

  1. Prep grill.
    Preheat grill to medium-high.
  2. Make Puttanesca sauce.
    In a medium bowl, stir together tomatoes, olives, capers, garlic, lemon juice, anchovy paste, red pepper flakes and oregano. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside to allow the flavors to blend.
  3. Season tuna and oil grill.
    Season tuna steaks with salt and pepper. Reduce grill to medium. Place vegetable oil in a small bowl. Using long tongs, dip a paper towel or small rag into the oil (make sure it’s not dripping oil). Using the tongs again, quickly rub the oiled towel over the surface of the hot grill. Stand back from the grill, in case of any flare-ups. I also wear an oven mitt.
  4. Grill tuna.
    Grill tuna steaks over medium heat for 4 minutes. Turn over and continue cooking until until desired doneness (no more than another 4 minutes). For medium rare, the internal temperature should be 125 to 130 degrees on an instant read thermometer; for medium 130 to 135 degrees.
  5. Serve!
    Immediately serve grilled tuna with Puttanesca Sauce, either spooned on top or in a bowl on the side.

Tips for Grilling Tuna Steaks

The most important part of cooking tuna steaks properly is to not overcook it, as it can become dry. Her are my tips:

  1. Cook it on medium heat and watch it carefully
  2. Use an instant read thermometer. Check the temperature when you turn it over (after 4 minutes) to check it doneness.
  3. Carefully oil the grill when it’s hot, not when you first turn it on, to keep the tuna from sticking.
How Long Does Tuna Take To Grill?

Fresh tuna can cook quickly. When grilling over medium heat, I find it takes no more than 6 to 8 minutes for a steak that’s around 1 inch thick. Thinner cuts will cook faster.

What temperature do you grill tuna steaks?

I recommend grilling tuna steaks over medium heat.

How do you know when grilled tuna is done?

The best method for telling when tuna is done is to use an instant read thermometer. For medium rare, the internal temperature should be 125 to 130 degrees on an instant read thermometer; for medium 130 to 135 degrees. I don’t recommend cooking longer as it can become dry and tough.

Do you flip tuna on the grill?

Yes, I recommend flipping the tuna steaks when grilling, unless they are very thin (less than 1 inch).

What to Serve with Grilled Tuna?

Here are my favorite sites to serve with these tuna steaks:

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black and gold plate with Grilled Tuna with Puttanesca Sauce

Grilled Tuna Steak with Puttanesca Sauce

  • Author: From “A Well-Seasoned Kitchen®” by Sally Clayton and Lee Clayton Roper
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Fish and seafood, grilling, easy entertaining
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Fresh Grilled Tuna Steak topped with salty, sweet while still tangy, and a bit spicy mixture of tomatoes, olives, capers, garlic, lemon juice, anchovy paste, red pepper flakes and oregano. That’s all it takes to prepare this quick and easy Grilled Tuna Recipe with Puttanesca Sauce!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh tomatoes, seeds removed
  • 1/3 cup chopped olives – black or green
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable, canola or other high smoke point oil
  • 4 tuna steaks, 3/4-inch thick (see buying tips)

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the tomatoes, olives, capers, garlic, lemon juice, anchovy paste, red pepper flakes and oregano. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Season tuna steaks with salt and pepper.
  4. Reduce grill to medium. Place vegetable oil in a small bowl. Using long tongs, dip a paper towel or small rag into the oil (make sure it’s not dripping oil). Using the tongs again, quickly rub the oiled towel over the surface of the hot grill. Stand back from the grill, in case of any flare-ups. I also wear an oven mitt.
  5. Grill tuna steaks over medium heat for 4 minutes. Turn over and continue cooking until until desired doneness (no more than another 4 minutes). For medium rare, the internal temperature should be 125 to 130 degrees on an instant read thermometer; for medium 130 to 135 degrees.
  6. Serve immediately with Puttanesca Sauce, either spooned on top or in a bowl on the side.

Lee Clayton Roper

Welcome!

I’m Lee Clayton Roper, and I’m passionate about making cooking and entertaining easy, elegant and fun. Here you’ll find scrumptious recipes, helpful tips and seasonal menus that will spark inspiration in your kitchen!
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