Monday, August 9, 2010

White Bean & Tuna Salad

For a quick, protein packed lunch, nothing beats this white bean and tuna salad.  Alone or served over crunchy romaine or tender mesclun greens, this dish is a snap to create.  And I should probably note that this isn't so much a recipe as it is a method.  You can easily substitute or add your favorite vegetables to the base of tuna, white beans, and vinaigrette; or add a flourish of freshly grated parmesan on top; or add fresh herbs from your garden/market... it's really up to you.  In particular, I think a little thinly sliced fennel would be a nice substitution for the celery - the next time I make this, I will probably give that a try.

This salad keeps wonderfully and - since it is sans-mayonnaise - would be a lovely addition to a picnic or a brown-bagged lunch.  The picture above is one of my snack-sized portions... but I'm a grazer as opposed to a 3-squares eater.  I'd suggest a 1 to 1 1/2 cup serving size if the salad is accompanied by a big green salad and crusty bread or whole-wheat crackers.

White Bean & Tuna Salad
Click here for printable recipe

3 T. extra virgin olive oil
4 t. red wine vinegar
2 t. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t. salt
3/4 t. pepper 

1 can white beans (I prefer small Navy beans), drained and rinsed thoroughly
1 can solid white tuna
1/4 c. red onion, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1/4 c. roasted red pepper, finely diced

In small bowl or measuring cup, combine red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and garlic and stir to combine.  Slowly whisk in olive oil, and add salt & pepper.  In a medium bowl, break up the tuna slightly with a fork.  Add all remaining ingredients, stir well to combine. Let marinate for one hour in refrigerator before serving.

Kelci's other add-in suggestions:  Any of these additions would be delicious as well.  Feel free to mix and match to come up with your own personalized version of this dish:
- A handful of pitted, chopped Kalamata olives (or your favorite black olive)
- Shallots (in place of the red onion)
- Diced tomatoes or halved tiny cherry tomatoes
- Fennel or belgian endive 

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