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Tuna Melt on Pan De Sal

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Inspired by the Kamala Harris Tuna Melt Sandwich, I made my own version – a Tuna Melt on Pan de Sal, the Filipino bun. Sometimes, we don’t feel like cooking. I am fine with soup and a sandwich for a meal. Also, this was a momentous week for us here in America, as we watched the inauguration of our new US President Joe Biden and the first female Vice President Kamala Harris. I was glued to the television a lot. So, that’s how this sandwich came about.

A tuna salad or else a tuna melt is one of the simplest sandwiches to make. If you have a few cans of tuna in your pantry, you’re all set. In the YouTube video, VP Harris used whole wheat bread slices. I preferred our Filipino Pan de Sal. I either bake a batch or else buy some from the Asian grocery. Pan de sal is almost like a hoagie. It’s crusty on the outside, and soft inside. Even if it translates to bread of salt, pan de sal is sweet. It is a great contrast to the salty tuna filling, flavored with tangy mayonnaise and condiments. Kamala recommended cheddar cheese slices, but I used Queso de Bola, which is edam cheese. Filipinos often have Queso de Bola for Christmas, and we had one still unopened. I loved the contrast of the sharp cheese slices with the tangy tuna salad and the sweetness of the bread.

The past year, many dealt with grief. We had to be resilient as the pandemic was undeterred. But, there’s a vaccine now and we have new leaders in government – so there is that silver lining. It was wonderful to see democracy prevail this week. A sign that hope and faith always endure. As does this Tuna Melt – this is definitely a keeper.

Tuna Melt on Pan de Sal

Inspired by the Kamala Harris Tuna Melt, I made my own version of a tuna salad on Pan de Sal, the Filipino bun. I used slices of sharp, Queso de Bola (Edam Cheese), and garnished the sandwich filling with fresh lettuce, and onion slices. Serve with piping-hot soup for a quick meal. This is an Asian in Ameica recipe by Elizabeth Ann Quirino. Serves 2 people.
Prep Time12 minutes
Cook Time3 minutes
Total Time15 minutes
Course: Lunch, Merienda
Cuisine: American, Asian, Filipino
Keyword: Tuna Melt on Pan de Sal
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 383kcal
Author: Asian in America - Elizabeth Ann Quirino


  • Toaster


  • 2 cans (5 oz. each) tuna, drained
  • 1 teaspoon calamansi or lemon juice
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ½ Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

For the Sandwich

  • 4 to 6 pieces Pan de Sal (Filipino bun)
  • 4 to 6 slices Queso de Bola (Edam cheese), or use sharp cheddar
  • ¼ of a whole onion, red or white, sliced for garnish
  • 4 to 6 leaves fresh lettuce, for garnish


  • Drain the liquid from the canned tuna.
    Place the tuna in a medium-sized bowl. Using a fork, flake the tuna.
  • In the same bowl, combine the tuna with the lemon or calamansi juice, chopped celery, mayonnaise, mustard, parsley.
    Season with salt and black pepper.
    *To store: Keep the tuna filling in pre-sterilized mason jars.

To make the sandwich:

  • Slice open the Pan de Sal buns.
    Place a slice of cheese on each one.
    Toast in an oven toaster for 2 to 3 minutes till brown and cheese softens.
  • Fill each pan de sal with cheese with the tuna filling.
    Garnish each sandwich with lettuce leaves and an onion slice on top.
    Serve with piping-hot soup for a meal.

Cook's comments:

  • You can substitute sliced bread or whatever bread you have available.
    Sometimes, I bake my own Filipino Pan de Sal. My recipe is on a previous blog post. Click here.
    For a meal, I like to pair this Tuna Melt with soup like this Beef Macaroni Sopas from a past post. Click here.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 383kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 403mg | Potassium: 18mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 40IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg

Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided  in the recipe links is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.

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