Vitello Tonnato (Veal with Tuna Sauce)

Photo of author
Written By Rose Oscar

I'm Rose! Wanderer at heart, digital nomad by choice. I've swapped the 9-5 grind for a life on the move, exploring every nook and cranny of our beautiful planet.

Delicious Italian Recipe: Vitello Tonnato

Indulge in the exquisite flavors of Italian cuisine with Vitello Tonnato, a classic dish featuring thinly sliced veal topped with a creamy tuna sauce. This dish is perfect for a special occasion or elegant dinner party.

The tender veal pairs perfectly with the rich and tangy tuna sauce, creating a harmonious blend of flavors that will impress even the most discerning palates. Serve it chilled for a refreshing and satisfying meal that showcases the best of Italian food.

Whether you’re hosting a fancy dinner party or simply craving a taste of Italy, Vitello Tonnato is sure to delight your taste buds and leave you craving more.

Italian Recipe: Vitello Tonnato (Veal with Tuna Sauce)


  • 1 pound veal roast
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 oz canned tuna in oil, drained
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Capers for garnish
  • Parsley for garnish

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4 persons
Cooking time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

This Italian dish is a classic recipe that combines tender veal with a creamy tuna sauce. While the preparation may seem intimidating at first glance, the end result is well worth the effort.


  1. Cook the Veal:

    1. In a large pot, combine veal roast, onion, carrots, celery, bay leaf, peppercorns, and salt.
    2. Add enough water to cover the meat and bring to a simmer over low heat.
    3. Cook for about 1 hour or until the veal is tender. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Prepare the Tuna Sauce:

    1. In a blender or food processor, combine canned tuna, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Blend until smooth.

  3. Assemble the Dish:

  4. Slice the cooked veal thinly and arrange on a serving platter.
  5. Pour the tuna sauce over the veal slices.Garnish with capers and parsley.Serve chilled as an appetizer or main course. Enjoy this flavorful Italian dish!

    The difficulty score for this recipe is 6 out of 10.

    The difficulty score of 6 reflects the time and attention to detail required in cooking the veal perfectly while also preparing a creamy tuna sauce. However, with careful planning and execution, you can create an impressive Vitello Tonnato that will delight your guests.

    Nutrition: Vitello Tonnato (Veal with Tuna Sauce)

    Here is the nutrition information per serving for Vitello Tonnato (Veal with Tuna Sauce), a classic Italian recipe:

    • Calories: 350
    • Protein: 30g
    • Carbohydrates: 3g
    • Fat: 25g
    • Fiber: 1g
    • *Nutrition information may vary depending on the specific ingredients used in the recipe.*

    Vitello Tonnato is a relatively healthy dish as it is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. The veal provides a good source of lean protein, while the tuna sauce adds a flavorful twist to the dish. This traditional Italian food is both delicious and nutritious, making it a great option for those looking to enjoy a balanced meal.

    Serving suggestions for Vitello Tonnato (Veal with Tuna Sauce)

    If you are serving Vitello Tonnato, it is best to present it on a platter as a main dish or appetizer for a special occasion. To enhance the flavors and presentation of this classic Italian recipe, consider garnishing with lemon wedges, capers, and fresh parsley. Additionally, drizzle some extra tuna sauce over the veal slices for an extra burst of flavor.

    • Vitello Tonnato can be served cold or at room temperature, making it a versatile dish for any season.
    • Pair this dish with some crusty Italian bread or focaccia to soak up the delicious tuna sauce.
    • For a complete meal, serve Vitello Tonnato alongside a fresh green salad dressed with a light vinaigrette.
    • To add some texture to the dish, sprinkle some toasted sliced almonds or chopped parsley on top before serving.

    What to serve with Vitello Tonnato (Veal with Tuna Sauce)

    Vitello Tonnato is a rich and flavorful dish that pairs well with a variety of sides and beverages. For a traditional Italian food experience, consider serving this dish with complementary dishes such as:

    • A refreshing glass of chilled white wine like a crisp Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.
    • Slices of ripe tomatoes drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt as an accompaniment.
    • Roasted vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, and eggplant seasoned with herbs like rosemary and thyme.
    • A side of creamy polenta or mashed potatoes to soak up the savory tuna sauce.

    By pairing Vitello Tonnato with these suggested sides and beverages, you can create a well-rounded Italian meal that highlights the flavors of this beloved classic recipe. Buon appetito!

    Tips to increase the flavour on the Italian recipe for Vitello Tonnato (Veal with Tuna Sauce)

    If you want to enhance the traditional Italian food dish of Vitello Tonnato, here are some tips:

    1. Marinate the veal: Before cooking the veal, marinate it in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and fresh herbs for at least 24 hours. This will infuse the meat with extra flavor.

    2. Season generously: Don’t be afraid to season both the veal and tuna sauce with salt, pepper, and other spices like paprika or cayenne pepper for added depth of flavor.

    3. Use high-quality ingredients: Opt for top-quality canned tuna packed in olive oil and fresh herbs like parsley and basil for a more vibrant taste.

    4. Add anchovies: For an extra umami kick, incorporate some chopped anchovies into the tuna sauce. It will elevate the overall flavor profile of the dish.

    5. Garnish with capers and lemon zest: Before serving, sprinkle capers and lemon zest over the top of your Vitello Tonnato to add a burst of freshness and tanginess.

    Spicy Score: 3 out of 10

    I recommend keeping this dish relatively mild in terms of spiciness as traditional Italian recipes tend to focus more on balanced flavors rather than heat. A subtle hint of spice from black pepper or paprika can complement the richness of the veal and tuna sauce without overpowering them.