Lunch Recipes

Sesame-Crusted Ahi Tuna 

Sesame-crusted ahi tuna is the perfect appetizer for summer in SoCal. It’s just as light and lovely as it looks. And in the dog days of August, we can all get behind an effortless recipe. Whisk up the sauce, marinate the fish for a breezy 20 minutes, and throw it on the grill for six more — nothing that will break a sweat.

Super fresh ahi tuna will make all the difference here: it has an absolutely buttery texture and a briny sweetness all its own. We press sesame seeds into the steaks, and they lightly toast on the grill, forming a crunchy crust as the fish sears. The sauce is inspired by Asian flavor profiles — ginger, soy sauce, and green onions. Dunk a slice of fish in there, and it’s a wonderful bite: lushly meaty, nutty, bright, and salty-sweet. It feels really special.

It looks pretty fancy too, so it’s the kind of appetizer you can make when you’re celebrating your partner. Think birthday, the end of a giant, crazy project, or a year of wedded (or unwedded) bliss. It’s also nice for a mini cocktail party with the fam, proper distancing, and your favorite white wine.

You can also turn your ahi tuna steaks into a meal. Throw a few veggies on the grill, and serve it all on a bed of fluffy rice — with extra sauce, toasted sesame seeds, and green onions. Find more recipes for the summer at Gelson's!

Servings: 4 to 8


½ cup low-sodium soy sauce

¼ cup chopped green onions, plus more for garnish

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

4 6-oz ahi tuna steaks

½ cup sesame seeds (white, black, or mixed)

½ tsp cornstarch


  1. In a large ziplock bag, combine the soy sauce, green onions, lemon juice, sesame oil, and ginger. Swish everything around in the bag until it's well combined.

  2. Add the tuna steaks, coating them completely with the marinade. Press the excess air out of the bag, seal, and marinate in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

  3. Prepare a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to high.

  4. Place the sesame seeds on a plate or shallow dish.

  5. Remove the tuna steaks from the marinade bag, brushing the scallions off the steaks and reserving the marinade. Coat the steaks in sesame seeds on all sides, pressing the seeds into the steaks so they'll stick.

  6. Grill for 3 minutes on one side, carefully flip the tuna steaks with a pair of tongs, and cook for an additional 3 minutes on the other side. If you prefer your tuna cooked through, you can grill it for a few minutes longer.

  7. While the tuna cooks, pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Add the cornstarch, stirring continuously with a whisk, and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

  8. To serve, slice the tuna steaks on the diagonal into thin slices. Fan the slices on a plate, drizzle with sauce, and garnish with green onions.

Recipe adapted from:

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