Vitello tonnato is typically one of those classics that everyone knows. And this Quick Vitello Tonnato is super easy to make and will be on your table for Christmas (or any festive occasion) in no time.

Quick vitello tonnato

Quick Vitello Tonnato

I have made vitello tonnato before, but that was from a barbecue. And while there are plenty of people who like to fire up the grill in the winter, I am not one of them. For me, barbecue is part of beautiful weather, so I wanted to make an easy version of this Italian classic.

I used a tasty veal fricandeau. You can buy this ready made at a good butcher. Don’t buy the packaged version from the supermarket because it tends to be on the salty side. Combined with the tuna sauce, it will be too salty and will likely spoil your dish. Handy if you ask your butcher to cut it into nice thin slices.

Making the Tuna Sauce

Of course, a quick vitello tonnato is not complete without a nice quick tuna sauce. I use canned tuna on olive oil. You can also use tuna on water if you prefer. I always find the oil version to be a little more flavorful, but either is fine.

quick vitello tonnato

To make it, I put all the ingredients in the bowl of my stick blender and blend until smooth. Of course, you can also use a food processor. Taste to see if you need some salt or pepper, but I usually don’t find it necessary.

To serve

Arrange the slices of veal fricandeau on a platter and top with the tuna sauce. Sprinkle with some capers and cress. Your quick vitello tonnato is ready!

Can you make vitello tonnato with other meats?

If you prefer not to eat veal, you can certainly make a quick vitello tonnato with other meats. Think turkey or chicken breast.

Quick vitello tonnato

Where does vitello tonnato come from?

This classic Italian dish has a long history, but it originated in the Piedmont region of Italy. The funny thing is that Italians usually eat it as a summer dish. Which makes sense as it is fresh and cold, so would work perfectly in summer. But it’s also the perfect easy appetizer for the holidays.

Is Vitello Tonnato low in carbohydrates?

Yes, it is! Vitello tonnato contains almost no carbohydrates, making it a great choice for a low-carb diet.

Can Vitello Tonnato be prepared in advance?

You can prepare Quick Vitello Tonnato ahead of time and refrigerate it until ready to use. When ready to serve, sprinkle the fresh herbs on top and carefully cover with foil. Do not press it too flat, as this does not help its appearance. Refrigeration also has the advantage of keeping it nice and cold and allowing the flavors of the sauce to be absorbed.

If you want to make sure it still looks nice, it is useful to keep the sauce separate and pour it over the meat later. Be careful not to discolor the meat.

What’s for dinner?

If you want to serve this quick vitello tonnato as part of Christmas dinner it would pair really well with for instance this leg of lamb and as dessert an easy Christmas trifle.

Quick vitello tonnato
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Quick Vitello Tonnato

A tasty, festive appetizer that is on the table in no time.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 people


  • 400 g veal fricandeau

Tuna sauce

  • 200 g tuna in olive oil
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Tabasco
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To serve

  • 3 tbsp garden cress
  • 2 tbsp capers


  • Start by making the tuna sauce. Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a stick blender (or use a food processor) and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Take a nice large plate or divide it immediately over four plates. Place the slices of veal fricandeau on each plate and cover generously with the tuna sauce.
  • Sprinkle with capers and any fresh herbs you like, such as garden cress.
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: tuna, veal
Diet: Gluten free, Low carb

Nutrition Information

Calories: 321kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 36g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.03g, Cholesterol: 93mg, Sodium: 614mg, Potassium: 572mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 954IU, Vitamin C: 17mg, Calcium: 28mg, Iron: 2mg


The nutritional values above are calculated per portion. The details are based on standard nutritional tables and do not constitute a professional nutritional advice.

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