White Bean Tuna Salad

Jan 22nd

When you read the title on this post, I hope you didn’t imagine the typical mayo-drenched  tuna salad you begged your mom not to pack for your school lunch. This is really more of a bean salad that contains tuna and fresh veggies—one loaded with protein, vitamin C and iron, at that.

Although they can be tricky to work into any ol’ recipe, beans should be a permanent fixture in your day-to-day diet. Bursting with fiber (we both know there’s a little ditty written about that, right?), a cup of beans has at least 15 grams of protein and contains good doses of other nutrients, such as calcium and iron. With the addition of garlic, onions, tomatoes and basil, the white beans in this recipe taste impossibly fresh—and all you had to do was pop the lid off the can!

Speaking of cans, I’m heart canned tuna. If you want to be eco-friendly, try to purchase pole- or troll-caught tuna (Whole Foods’s 365 brand is decent price), both more environmentally responsible fishing methods than traditional long-line tuna fishing. You should also go for labels that say “light” rather than “chunk white,” as the light versions tend to have lower mercury levels. Lastly, to get the most of the healthy omega-3 fatty acids (and less calories), buy the tuna packed in water instead of oil. Canned tuna is in inexpensive and often overlooked way to get more fish into your diet – I eat it at least once week, even while pregnant!

This salad can be eaten by itself or over mixed greens; it lasts at least three days in the fridge and would be great side dish to bring to a friend’s house.

White Bean Tuna Salad
Serves six

1 tbsp. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 c. water
1 1/2 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern Beans (also called cannelloni beans)
1 tsp. + 1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sherry
3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 shallot, minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 (3-ounce) cans light tuna in water

1. In a sauce pan over medium-high heat, place 1 tbsp. olive oil and garlic cloves. Let cook until golden brown.

2. Add water, beans and 1 tsp. salt and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat immediately, cover, and let sit for 20 minutes.

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3. In a bowl, mix sherry, vinegar and minced shallot. Let sit 15 minutes.

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4. Drain beans and discard garlic. Add beans to shallots in mixing bowl.

5. Add olive oil, tomatoes, basil, 1/4 tsp. salt, pepper and tuna, and mix gently.

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6. Chill or let sit for at least 20 minutes before serving to let the flavors meld.

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