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An Italian Bean And Tuna Salad Recipe For The Summer

This Italian Bean and Tuna Salad recipe is healthy, easy to make, packed with great flavors and perfect for a summer meal, but enjoyable any time of the year.

italian bean and tuna salad - done

Beans And Tuna Salad

One of my favorite summer recipes this year has been a Lemon Tuna Pasta recipe that I have made a couple times because you don’t cook the sauce and it is a quick meal that will keep you out of the kitchen. I was recently thinking about my favorite cousin who has trouble eating pasta, but would love this recipe so I wanted to find an alternative recipe that uses the same sauce, and this Tuna and Bean Salad recipe hits the mark.

The reason this amazing recipe should be a foundational part of your recipe box is because it is flexible with ingredients and is adaptable to almost any occasion. I’ve enjoyed this Tuna And Bean Salad recipe warmed and cold, and it was just as satisfying both ways.

Italian Bean And Tuna Salad Recipe Ingredient Options

Here are a few things to consider when you are making this Tuna And Bean Salad recipe if you are looking to try some other ingredients or want to use what you already have on hand.

  • Using Garlic – I’ve noticed that using garlic is a popular addition to Lemon Tuna recipes, but because this sauce is uncooked, I strongly recommend against adding garlic. The delicate flavors of the lemon and parsley would be overpowered by the raw garlic and not to mention the impact on your breath.

  • Which Beans – A popular version of this recipe uses a white bean, like a Cannellini, Navy or really any small white bean. I would stay away from black beans and red beans,  but the choice is yours. For my version, I found what looked like Borlotti beans, but were actually Fagiolo Cuneo IGP, which are beans that come from the province of Cuneo in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. If you aren’t familiar with it, IGP stands for: Indicazione geografica protetta, which means that these beans have a certain quality, reputation or other feature that depends on its geographical origin, whose production, modification and/or processing takes place in a certain geographical area.

  • Canned Tuna – I discovered this years ago, and I can’t stress this strongly enough: Only use tuna that is packed in Olive Oil. The flavor of tuna packed in water is lacking and not worth it. Also, if you can find tuna in a jar, instead of a can, you will probably be happy with the large chunks of tuna, instead of the ground up piece from the can.

  • Salted Capers – Be careful with your choice of capers. I used the salted version and it is important to rinse and soak them to remove most of the salt. If you forget to do this you risk oversalting this delicate dish. If your capers are not packed in salt, you don’t have anything to worry about.

  • Olives – Some recipes suggest using a black olive, or more specifically a Kalamata olive, but I’m not a big fan. I chose an Italian Taggiasche olive and I was very happy with the results. This is one of the areas that you should experiment with because tuna, capers and olives “marry” well, so try any types that interest you.

italian bean and tuna salad - Cuneo IGP

Cuneo Beans IGP

Mixing Bowls

Only recently have a realized how great mixing bowls with lids are and these stainless steel beauties are amazing!

Kitchen Tools And Cookware

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Pasta MakerGnocchi BoardPasta BoardRavioli Maker
Ravioli Press/StamperRicerBialetti Pasta PotBamboo Cutting Board Set of 3
Silpat Baking MatSantoku KnifeMeasuring Cups and SpoonsStainless Mixing Bowls
Dutch OvenMesh StrainersStainless ColanderStainless Steel Fry Pan

Italian Bean And Tuna Salad FAQs

What Do You Eat With Beans and Tuna?

This Italian Bean and Tuna Salad recipe is a fantastically balanced meal with a good mix of carbs, healthy fats and protein, so I don’t think there is much more needed with this meal. You could start with bruschetta, which also won’t heat up the house and enjoy it with a nice, chilled dry white wine. Beyond that, you don’t really need anything else.

How Do Italians Eat Canned Tuna?

Measuring Cups and Spoons

Don’t buy cheap plastic cups and spoons because this stainless steel set will last a really long time!

Tuna and Cod are very popular, especially here in Rome, and are eaten in a wide range of different dishes. Tuna and Beans go together well and shouldn’t be missed, but consider raising the bar a little and looking past the canned tuna and grab the tuna in a jar instead. The quality is a bit higher and the chunks of delicious tuna are large enough that it is obvious what you are eating.

Is Italian Bean And Tuna Salad Healthy For A Diet?

I am not a doctor, nutritionist or dietician, so you should take this advice more as an opinion rather than fact, but it is my understanding that tuna has an elevated level of mercury due to the long life of the tuna and because of this it should be eaten in moderation. Apart from the mercury, it is a healthy choice.

italian bean and tuna salad - big chunks

Big Tuna Chunks

Is Bean And Tuna Salad Meant To Be Eaten Cold?

I had the chance to eat this Italian Bean and Tuna Salad recipe both warm and cold, and I think I preferred the cold leftovers. The lemon really pops when it is cold and tuna can be eaten at any temperature.

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Italian Bean And Tuna Salad Recipe

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Servings: 4

Recipe Ingredients

  • 30-40 Taggiasche Olives
  • 2 Tbsp. (25g) Capers
  • 3-4 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley
  • 8 oz. (250g) Canned Tuna in Olive Oil
  • 1 Whole Lemon
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Dried Oregano
  • Salt and Black Pepper
  • 10 oz. of Dried White Beans (or 20 oz. of cooked beans)

Cooking Instructions

Pasta Pot with Strainer

Perfect for cooking pasta, this pot can be used to cook a range of meals you will love!

  1. The night before, add the dried beans to a large bowl with enough water to cover the beans by a couple inches.
  2. The next day, heat a large pot of salted water to cook the beans until soft. The timing varies by the type of bean, but mine took 30 minutes.
  3. Chop the olives and capers into small pieces and add to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Chop the fresh parsley and add most to the mixing bowl, but setting aside some to top the final dish.
  5. Drain the tuna and save the olive oil. If you are using tuna from a jar, break the large pieces of tuna with a fork and add it to the large mixing bowl. 
  6. Use a micro plane to grate the zest of a lemon into the mixing bowl and juice the lemon into the bowl, making sure not to add the seeds.
  7. Add the olive oil that the tuna was packed in. If the sauce is too dry, add a little additional olive oil until it reaches your desired consistency.
  8. Add a pinch of black pepper and the dried oregano to taste. Check the level of salt and add more to taste.
  9. When the beans are done cooking, drain and rinse them.
  10. Add the beans to the mixing bowl and combine. You can adjust the sauce with more olive oil to lightly coat all of the beans with the sauce.
  11. Add to a serving bowl. Top with some of the fresh parsley and serve immediately.
italian bean and tuna salad - olives and capers

Olives and Capers

Serving Suggestions

This Italian Bean and Tuna Salad recipe can be served warm or cold. It is a fantastically balanced meal with a good mix of carbs, healthy fats and protein, so I don’t think there is much more needed with this meal. You could start with bruschetta and enjoy it with a nice, chilled dry white wine. Beyond that, you don’t really need anything else.

These Classic Italian Recipes Might Also Interest You

If you enjoyed this delicious Italian Bean and Tuna Salad recipe, here are some of other fantastic Italian recipes that are easy weeknight options that you might want to try:

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