Fancy-Ass Tuna Melts

Dinner, Sandwiches

Fancy-Ass Tuna Melts //

I had the weirdest school lunches when I was a kid. While most kids had cool bologna sandwiches smothered with mayo and snack-paks and Capri-Suns, I had yellow rice with chicken and crudités–it was way lame, and embarrassing. On occasion my mom would give in to my begging and whining and make me tuna salad sandwich, a Hi-C and a bag of Lays potato chips. And I always, ALWAYS would carefully open the sandwich and lay the potato chips atop the tuna. It was the only way.

If I ever had a cute lil’ sandwich shop, I’d have a whole section of just “stuff on toast” and I’d totally have sandwiches on the menu that had potato chips inside. It’d be a thing. Adding potato chips gives sandwiches excellent texture and it adds another layer of flavor. My seven-year-old-self knew what was up.

Fancy-Ass Tuna Melts //

This is a fancy-ass version of my favorite 2nd grade lunch. The caramelized onions aren’t something I would’ve liked then, but I love them now, except for the fact that caramelizing onions takes SO much patience. The first batch of caramelized onions were more burnt than the pretty dark brown I was going for. You need patience to be rewarded.

Also, salt and vinegar chips. Can we have a conversation about how amazing they are and how I die for them? My second year old self would’ve thought they were disgusting, too.

Fancy-Ass Tuna Melts //

Fancy-Ass Tuna Melts //

This sandwich is all about me coming to terms with the things I hated in my younger years, while simultaneously celebrating what was special. It’s a play of the one of the best diner kind of sandwiches around, with a bit of a of a grown-up attitude. I’m into it. I hope you are too.

Fancy-Ass Tuna Melts //

Fancy-Ass Tuna Melts

Serving Size: 4 open-faced sandwiches


  • Olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, caramelized - dash of salt
  • 2 5 ounce cans of albacore tuna, drained
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 small apple, diced
  • 3-4 turns of black pepper
  • 1/2 lemon
  • Salt
  • 4 slices bread, I like it on a sourdough boule
  • 3/4 cup shredded provolone cheese, I think Monterey jack and cheddar cheese would also work splendidly
  • Salt and vinegar chips


  • To a medium skillet, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add a pinch of salt and cook for 30 minutes more, stirring frequently, and adding more olive oil as needed, or until the onions are a golden brown color. Transfer the caramelized onions to a small bowl and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the albacore tuna, mayonnaise, mustard, diced apple, black pepper and juice from the lemon. Mix and salt and pepper to taste.
  • On a foil-lined baking sheet, lay out the slices of bread. Divide the caramelized onions among the slices of bread. Top with a few scoops of tuna; and then a liberal handful of provolone. Turn on the broiler and when hot carefully place the baking sheet under the broiler and cook until the cheese is melty and lightly browned. Top with a few potato chips and enjoy.
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Leave a Reply

  • Reply jaime @ asweetroad July 22, 2013 at 4:34 am

    Ha! I always used to put potato chips in my sandwiches whenever I got them. There’s an essential crunch that sandwiches just don’t have without the potato chips.

  • Reply Marie @ Little Kitchie July 22, 2013 at 5:25 am

    Seriously cannot wait to make this! Salt & vinegar chips FTW.

  • Reply amy @southern sweets and eats July 22, 2013 at 5:39 am

    Your patience was definitely rewarded because this looks awesome! I gotta make this!

  • Reply Tieghan July 22, 2013 at 6:25 am

    AMAZING. I love chips on my sandwich, such awesome textures!

  • Reply Belinda @themoonblushbaker July 22, 2013 at 7:16 am

    Oh the best chip topping has to be shoe string fries! I used to do this with chicken melts all the time as a kid ( processed chicken meat on white bread of course)
    Stunning taste of childhood made for the adult, great!

  • Reply Tracy | Peanut Butter and Onion July 22, 2013 at 7:27 am

    I was planning on making Tuna Melts on Wed before Yoga… you have just brought it to a new level

  • Reply Tammela July 22, 2013 at 7:28 am

    I could do without the chips, but caramelized onion + tuna + provolone? Yes, please! I like the idea of adding apple to the tuna.

  • Reply [email protected] July 22, 2013 at 9:43 am

    I used to always put chips on my sandwich as a kid – especially fritos. I love the onion, tuna and provolone combo – will have to try it!

  • Reply Jamie @lifelovelemons July 22, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Fancy-ass anything is a winner in my book. Can’t wait to try these!

  • Reply Kelly Jo July 22, 2013 at 10:18 am

    I LOVE salt and vinegar chips! Definately going to try this.

  • Reply Megan July 22, 2013 at 11:16 am

    YEP. I need this for lunch erryday.

  • Reply Caroline July 22, 2013 at 11:25 am

    These look so perfect. I don’t normally care for chips, so we hardly ever have them on hand, but whenever it’s sandwich night I make sure to pick up a bag just so I can shove some inside 🙂 There’s this really great sandwich shop – Toaster’s Deli – that makes the best paninis. Their prosciutto sandwich is my favorite on earth and adding some salty chips to an already salty treat is just the best.

  • Reply dervla @ The Curator July 22, 2013 at 11:46 am

    please please open a sandwich shop. I’d patronize it every day – i’d have to move to LA, but i’d do it!

  • Reply Reima July 22, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    I also had the interesting lunches in elementary school! Funny that I knew that then but I still ate my lunch like I had the best one there! 🙂 And now I’m thankful for the lunches I got then because it expanded my palette now! My friend in jr high told me about putting potato chips in my sandwiches and when I finally tried it, it was wonderful!

    Your sandwich looks REALLY good and I’ll have to make it this week! Thank you! 🙂

    Reima @

  • Reply Francescad July 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    yesss…. this looks awesome.

  • Reply Swisskate July 22, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    OMG chips INSIDE the sandwich!!! The things I missed growing up in Canada!
    You’ve paired two of my favourites; tuna melts and salt& vinegar chips. I can’t wait to try it for lunch tomorrow , yum!

  • Reply Grace @ Earthy Feast July 22, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    When I was a kid one of the popular school lunches my mom packed for me was chunky lentil soup. I still remember the kids crowding around me and pointing that it looked like I was eating poop! They all had their perfect packaged lunchables and here I was eating brown mush – man, school lunch discrimination can be rough! There’s something deliciously nostalgic about this tuna melt – I love it! 🙂

  • Reply Rose July 22, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Yep, chips in sandwiches, fries in burgers – it’s all amazing!

    One that is a tad decadent but totally drool worthy: Cheetos in a roast beef sandwich. YUM!

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme July 22, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      Cheetos in a roast beef sandwich?!? You’re a lunatic and I like it!

  • Reply Jackie l July 22, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    This is one fancy-ass sandwich and I love it! Chips on sandwiches are always a good idea and I feel ya on the lame lunches in grade school – my mom is a vegetarian so no lunch meat, nothing like that.

    xo Jackie

  • Reply Mel July 22, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    You would love No 7 Sub, here in NYC.

    Also I remember that was the only way I’d eat at Subway – if my Doritos went INTO my sandwich.

  • Reply Kait @ChickadeeSays July 22, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    If you actually opened up a “Things On Toast” sandwich shop I would totally be a regular! That, and chips on sandwiches are a must!

    xx Kait

  • Reply Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) July 22, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    I was obsessed with salt and vinegar chips growing up!! It’s been far too long–I imagine them being perfect on a tuna melt sandwich. Hmmm, thinking of it now 🙂

    I also had weird lunches as a kid involving self-packed grapefruit juice and pasta with parmigiano.

  • Reply Gina @ So Lets Hang Out July 22, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    OH, YEAH! This sammie is so my jam. I totally used to do the same thing. Open up the sandwich. Layer potato chips. Close sandwich. Chomp. Perfection. This is like the grownup version. Well played! 🙂

  • Reply Jayne July 22, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    I never have patience to properly caramelize onions. But yours look so good! I might be induced to try it and use it in a fancy sandwich like you.

  • Reply Kristina July 22, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    chips in sandwiches whenever you can, and ALWAYS salt and vinegar! the caramelized onions have me craving a sandwich at 10pm…

  • Reply Christina @ The Beautiful Balance July 23, 2013 at 12:27 am

    My boyfriend will seriously not know what to do when I make this for him!

  • Reply Thelma July 23, 2013 at 12:40 am

    Salt and vinegar are the best flavour. This sounds amazing, ingenious even!

  • Reply Katy July 23, 2013 at 7:01 am

    holy moly those look delicious!!! i want one right now! hehe!

    hey, I’m doing a giveaway over on my blog with something I think you would love for recipes/parties/etc!!

  • Reply TinaS July 23, 2013 at 7:02 am

    My mother was the one who showed me that a tuna sandwich with potato chips on it really *is* the only way. In fact, I’m not really into potato chips on their own, but I can’t eat a tuna sandwich any other way!
    Also, I knew a guy in high school who ate the same thing every morning: a bagel with cream cheese and barbeque potato chips on it. He swore by it, but I’ve never actually eaten it myself.

  • Reply cindy July 23, 2013 at 8:03 am

    I had weird lunches too, seaweed in my lunchbox and stuff…having ethnic parents makes you have weird lunches, but also makes you an adventurous eater!

    I love, love a tuna sandwich with chips…probably one of my favorite throwback lunch faves ever!

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme July 23, 2013 at 8:26 am

      HA! This is so true. Having non-American parents meant you were the weird kid at the lunch table. But I’m so grateful for it now!

  • Reply Christy July 24, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I recently found out that crushed up potato chips are ESSENTIAL for a Colombian hot dog. I had had chips on sandwiches as a kid, but I thought that was just a silly thing that kids did. I am happy to know that there are adults who still do this and even HAPPIER to know that an entire country knows what’s up when it comes to crushed up chips as a condiment for street food. YUM!

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  • Reply Sophie July 25, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    This sounds sooooo good! Apple? Caramelized onions? Hell yes. And tuna is totally on my Healthy List.

    You are so cute — I was the kid eating my “disgusting” egg salad sandwich on whole wheat and desparately coveting a Lunchable, a pudding cup, a soda. Our moms did us some pretty good favors back then, even though it sucked at the time! 🙂

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  • Reply Kristin August 18, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Best recipe name ever, right there. I’m also wondering why I never put salt and vinegar chips on my tuna melts!

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  • Reply Chickadee Workshop September 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    I have always loved potato chips on my sandwiches, especially P.B & J……but not the vinegar ones. (shiver) That being said, my husband loved these tuna melts and he has always been of the opinion that you can’t improve on basic tuna, celery and mayo on a sandwich. Trust me, I’ve tried tuna casseroles and other tuna melts. THIS one made him come back for seconds, hooray! P.S. I loved it, too.

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme September 2, 2013 at 5:27 pm

      Oh! Hooray! This makes me so happy. So glad he loved it. And glad you loved it too! x

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  • Reply Shanon January 28, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Speed up your onion caramelization by adding a bit of sugar! (check out the response to Marina’s post)