3 protein cubes on a black plate, served with two condiments in pipettes

Three protein cubes, served with pipettes of condiments

In my ongoing search for sci-fi food that’s not just Gagh or Solyent Green, my mind often returns to the sci-fi staple of protein or nutrient blocks.  I know we can buy a ‘meal in a can’ and energy bars, etc. but they’re all a little too appetizing for me!  Instead, I’ve made some miniature, individual tuna loaves, with coloring.

I don’t know if it’s the novelty, the Maillard effect or something else, but I love them – nibbling tiny bits off each cube in an effort to make them last longer.  (Also, the mustard and tabasco sauces in the pipettes above, aren’t as nice with it as a good marinara sauce – but I happily eat them straight from the fridge.)

Recipe for Black Protein Cubes

  • 100g (one drained can) of tinned tuna chunks
  • 100g (one drained can) of tinned salmon
  • 66g all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 66g finely grated cheddar cheese
  • 66g chopped onion
  • 88ml of milk
  • 30ml of oil (olive/vegetable)
  • 1/4tsp baking soda
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Black and red food coloring


  1. Mix the flour (66g) and the eggs (2) until blended.
  2. Slowly incorporate the milk (88ml) and then do the same for the oil (30ml).
  3. To this thin mixture, add the tuna (100g) and salmon (100g), the onion (66g), the baking soda (1/4tsp), and the cheese (66g).
  4. Add the paprika (1tsp), salt (1/2tsp), pepper (1/2tsp) and food coloring (6 drops black, 2 drops red).
  5. Add to a pre-oiled silicone brownie bite mold by the teaspoon, filling almost to the top.
  6. Put in the oven for 40 minutes at 200c (400f).

Serve cold or hot, with a dollop of marinara sauce.  Excellent for stashing in the fridge and grabbing a few to munch on as you’re running out the door in the morning.  Also – you can swap out the tinned salmon for more tuna – it doesn’t seem to matter between the two.  A good larder backup – just eggs, canned fish, and cheese, and you’re 90% of the way there.