I promised my daughter when we started this learning-to-cook blog that I would provide simple recipes. On that pledge, I think I have delivered.
But I also told her that the recipes would be quick. And on that front, the first few recipes have not lived up. (As my daughter has so gently reminded me: Mom, you said they would be as quick as take-out!)
I guess I felt that a few basics were in order, to get her thinking like a real cook.
But now that she has mastered roasted chicken, meatballs and tomato sauce, and homemade lentil soup, it’s time for something really quick and easy: tuna and white bean salad.
Now, if you adhere to the rules of Italian cooking goddess Marcella Hazan, you have to soak the dried cannellini beans overnight and no doubt use fresh tuna as well. And, I will not argue, the results would be worth it.
But when hunger strikes, or anytime you need a throw-it-together-at-the-last-minute dish, there is really no shame in opening up a can.
I like to use Italian or Spanish tuna. Ortiz Bonita del Norte is my favorite, but Cento in olive oil will also do.
However, I like to balance canned ingredients with fresh: This salad is really brightened up with a fresh-squeezed lemon vinaigrette. I also added some fresh parsley (that I had left over from making the lentil soup) and some fresh rosemary that is still growing in my yard. The chopped celery and onion gave the dish a little crunch, as well as flavor, and the tomatoes added a hint of acidity, as well as a spot of color.
There are countless variations of this traditional salad that is anchored with tuna and white beans. This is my own. Try it and play with adding ingredients that you love. And see if you don’t agree that this little salad is really quite good in a pinch.
Tuna and White Bean Salad
Makes 2 to 3 servings
For the salad:
1 5-ounce can tuna in olive oil (I like Ortiz Bonita del Norte or Cento), drained
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 slices red onion, chopped fine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 sprig fresh rosemary, trimmed from stem and chopped fine
10 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 15.5-ounce can cannellini beans
For the vinaigrette:
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Lettuce or greens for serving
1. Using fork, add the drained tuna to a medium-size bowl; separate it into chunks.
2. Fold in the chopped celery and onion.
3. Add the fresh parsley and rosemary.
4. Add the cherry tomatoes.
5. Add the beans and toss gently.
6. Make the vinaigrette: Pour lemon juice into measuring cup. Add mustard and whisk with fork. Add sugar and whisk. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, while continuing to whisk, until it is emulsified.
7. Toss vinaigrette with tuna salad and serve over greens.
Per serving: 411 calories, 26 grams protein, 39 grams carbohydrates, 12 grams sugar, 19 grams fat, 15 milligrams cholesterol, 108 milligrams sodium, 11 grams dietary fiber.