This tuna and bean salad is just so nutritious, packed with protein, fibre and vitamins and best of all it is delicious. Serve with a chunk of crusty bread and you have a fantastic main meal, perfect for a summer day lunch or supper. Who would have thought eating healthily could taste so good.
I original wrote a recipe for Tuna and bean salad, when I was deputy cookery editor on Woman's Realm many moons ago and have chopped and changed it a few times over the years, but the basics have stayed and it has stood the test of time. As with most salads this takes very little time to prepare, I've included my usual step pictures but really you are not going to need them. There is no cooking – I don't count the blanching of the green beans. The kitchen doesn't get hot and you can have a filling meal on the table in around 10-15 minutes. Now that's what I call a Perfect summer meal.
Step by Step Tuna and bean salad
Tuna and bean salad
- 225 g green beans topped and tailed
- 400 g can red kidney beans
- 400 g cannellini beans
- 400 g flageolet beans
- 1 small red onion or 2 shallots thinly sliced
- 2 x 185g can tuna in water drained
for the dressing
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1 tsp whole grain mustard
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a pan of lightly salted water to the boil and add the green beans. Cook (blanch) for 3 minutes, then drain and refresh under running cold water. Drain again and cut into short lengths.
- Drain and rinse the canned beans and place in a large serving bowl with the green beans and onions, then toss until well combined.
- Break the tuna into chunks and place on top of the beans.
- Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl or jug and whisk with a fork to combine. Pour over the salad and toss lightly before serving taking care not to break up the tuna too much.
The salad will keep in the refrigerator, covered for up to 24 hours.
Hints, tips and variations
- I have chosen the three different canned beans so that you get a good mix of colours and textures but you can vary the combination to what you have . I find the variety of beans available varies depending on where you shop. Butter beans, broad beans, haricot or even chick peas work well.
- I like onion and tend to add it to most of my savoury dishes. There are no onions in the pictures, I would like to say that was deliberate but I'm going to be honest, I forgot to add them. – Well no-one is perfect! but I have put them into the recipe.
- I've used sherry vinegar but you could also use red wine, white wine or cider vinegar. I would not suggest balsamic as I think it rather stains the tuna and spoils the look of the dish, but again that is up to you.
- If you want to spice it up a bit you could always add a little chopped fresh chilli to the dressing. Some chopped capers or gherkins would also make it a bit more piquant.