Peruvian Causa de Atún- low FODMAP

Someone asked the other day about good recipes for canned tuna, so I thought I’d make a rare appearance and share my absolute favorite one!

You’ll find lots of variations of causa  online. Sometimes it is made more like a lasagna, in a casserole dish with layers of potato dough and filling. Often it is served as smaller cakes or balls as an appetizer or party food. In my family, we always made them as individual portions big enough for a filling lunch or even a dinner on a warm summer night!

This recipe requires a little time and forethought, since ideally you will work with cold potatoes, but it is well worth the effort… you’ll be surprised how amazing something so simple can be! The first step is to boil and peel (or peel and boil) your potatoes, rice/mash them, and wait for them to cool. This can definitely be done the day before if more convenient.


Once they have cooled, you can add a splash of a neutral-tasting oil ( I used rapeseed) and lemon, salt, and pepper to taste. I’ve used olive oil sometimes in a pinch, but it definitely gives it the wrong flavor. Moosh it all together with your hands to a compact dough. You’ll know you got it right when you want to lick it all off your fingers! It never hurts to make extra of this dough, because you can also roll it into balls and eat it with slices of bell pepper for a super delicious snack! (My mom always made that for me when I was small and a picky eater).

For this low FODMAP version, I decided to make 2 layers of filling. The first is a simple tuna salad, made from a can of tuna (drained of oil), mixed with mayo or lactose free creme fraiche/sour cream, some lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

The second was a tomato salsa a la pico de gallo  or salsa criolla. When I make these kind of salsas for my Peruvian or Mexican dishes, I like to add some radish, because I find it adds some of the crunchiness and sharpness that I miss from red onions otherwise.


Traditionally causas will also have some avocado in them, unfortunately the FODMAP safe serving size is only 1/8 of an avocado, but you can definitely add this little amount, or more if you’ve tested and safely reintroduced sorbitols.

Once you have your dough and fillings, you are ready to start assembly! I use a small bowl or tupperware to make my individual-sized “cakes”. If you line it first with plastic wrap (which you can re-use for each portion) it will make your life easier during the flipping step. Start by lining the bottom and sides with potato dough, which should be nice and sticky. Then layer in your fillings!

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Top with another layer of potato dough (I forgot to photograph that step- yikes!).

Then you are ready to put a plate over the top, and flip!

Garnish with some extra mayo/creme fraiche/sourcream, and olives (and for the super traditional look, you can throw a hard boiled egg on there too!



And dig in!


Causa de Atún

For 2 filling individual-sized portions
Served cold


Approx. 8 medium-small sized potatoes (preferably a floury variety)
Neutral-flavored oil (I used rapeseed)
1 can tuna
3-4 tablespoons mayo or lactose-free creme fraiche/sour cream
1 large Tomato
1 bunch of radishes
1 lime
green tops of spring onions
fresh coriander (cilantro)
(optional) fresh spicy chili

1. Peel and boil potatoes until soft. Mash or rice and leave to cool.
2. Once potatoes have cooled, add 1-2 tbsp of oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste (I used about 3/4 of a lemon). Mix with hands.
3. Tuna salad: Drain tuna and mix with mayo, lemon juice (I used the remaining 1/4 lemon here), salt and pepper to taste, so that you have a nice and juicy tuna salad.
4. Tomato salsa: Chop tomatoes, radishes, onion tops, and coriander. Mix with juice from 1 lime and salt and pepper to taste. Add chili for spice as desired.
5. Line a small bowl or tupper with plastic wrap. Cover the bottom and sides with potato dough.
6. Fill in 1/2 the tuna salad and 1/2 the tomato salsa in layers.
7. Cover with a layer of potato dough.
8. Flip onto a plate, garnish, and you are ready to go!

Note: Since this recipe is eaten cold, it can be made in advance and kept in the refrigerator. This recipe also works great with chicken instead of tuna, or hard boiled eggs as a vegetarian alternative! If you are unsure how much potato to make- make extra! This dough is super tasty as a snack rolled in balls and eaten with safe veggies 🙂



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