Secret Ingredient Kaser Tuna Salad

I’m not quite sure where the idea came from, but my mother (Harriette Anderson Kaser) always added a secret ingredient to her tuna salad, and those of us who grew up eating it find that tuna salad just does not taste right without it.  My husband (Ken Badertscher) is a convert, perhaps because it was the first meal that I “cooked” for him–on our honeymoon, yet!

Going On Honeymoon

Despite the fact we were going to a cabin in the woods, I had to wear the full going away outfit comlete with hat and gloves. Ken and Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher, June 11, 1960.

A small aside:  We got married on a Saturday, the day after I graduated from Ohio State University and a few days after my mother had finished the year of teaching at Hilliard High School.  A very busy time! Because Ken was working in an intern position, he could only afford a couple days off, so we basically had a long weekend for a honeymoon. We decided to be frugal and rent a cabin in a state park in Ohio, and because the state would not rent cabins for less than a week, as we went back to Columbus, my parents and siblings drove south and used the cabin for the rest of the week.

Along with the filmy negligee someone gave me for a shower gift, I packed the ingredients for tuna salad sandwiches and some other snacks.  This is the tuna salad that I made.

Of course, not everybody who marries into the Kaser clan adapts to our tuna salad. Some people think this is the oddest thing they ever came across and just can’t adapt. And unfortunately, I have grandchildren whose allergies will not allow them to eat the Kaser tuna salad.

And then there’s the Best Foods vs. Miracle Whip arguments that rage through the family.

Once upon a time, I just used whatever canned tuna was on sale. Nowadays, it must be water packed, and must be white albacore tuna.  You can go gourmet and grill a fresh tuna steak, and whip up your own mayo in the blender. But it you have to leave out the peanut butter–there I said it–peanut butter–you will not have Kaser Tuna Salad.

Tuna Salad ingredients

Kaser Tuna Salad ingredients

Tuna Salad Recipe by Kaser

Serves 4
Prep time 10 minutes
Allergy Fish, Peanuts
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Lunch, Salad, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold


  • 2 cans White chunk albacore tuna, drained (8-oz each)
  • 1/2 cup Celery (chopped)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 heaped tablespoons pickle relish (sweet or dill)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • tomatoes (optional)
  • Lettuce (optional)
  • salted peanuts (chopped fine, optional)


1. Mash tuna with fork
2. Mix all ingredients together
3. Pile in hollowed out tomato on lettuce leaf and scatter finely chopped peanuts on top for salad, or use for sandwich.
tuna salad topping

Finishing touches for tuna salad

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

4 thoughts on “Secret Ingredient Kaser Tuna Salad

  1. Avatar photoVera Marie Badertscher Post author

    I don’t usually put in enough peanut butter that it really changes the texture. It just adds a nice, light, nutty taste, maybe a slight hint of sweetness, that in my opinion offsets what is sometimes a too-fishy, oily taste of canned tuna. Try it, and let me know what you think?

  2. Edie

    Well, this recipe will test my commitment to peanut butter as a desirable ingredient in practically anything. I’m a fan of pickles in tuna salad and have been known to include slivered almonds for crunch… so yes, it’s not that much of a stretch… I think I can, I think I can!

  3. Vera Marie Badertscher

    Edie, I know you can! May I suggest a vintage Vernor’s Ginger Ale to complete the authentic Kaser meal?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.