Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuscan Tuna Salad

What's for lunch?

In my ongoing quest for a healthy and satisfying lunch on the weekends, I thought I'd branch out beyond sandwiches.  I have a huge, delicious salad and a small soup at the office everyday during the week and on the weekends, I'm looking for something different.  My go-to has been Italian tuna on a brioche.  But after hearing about all of the healthy qualities of cannellini beans, I figured I'd give Tuscan tuna salad a spin!

Eat your cannellini beans!

Cannellini beans are loaded with nutrients.  They are low-fat, high in fiber and provide a high quality of magnesium, fiber, iron and folate.  They have twice as much iron as beef.  Iron gives you energy to spare. A half cup serving has 120 calories - lower than the 160 calories you find in a brioche roll.  But we're talking more than calories here, these beans are more filling and much better for you.   I got canned cannellini beans.  It's really important to rinse them thoroughly before using to get rid of the excess salt. 

Add chopped grape tomatoes

Cannellini beans mix really well with a salad.  I added tomatoes, kalamata olives and arugala.  I used the high quality imported Italian tuna from a can (in this case the brand is Cento).  This tuna only comes in extra virgin olive oil.  Don't squeeze the excess down the sink!  put the whole can with the oil in your mixing bowl.  I tried it two ways - one with champagne vinegar and another with balsamic.  I use the champagne vinegar in this salad because it doesn't discolor the tuna.  But putting aesthetics to the side, the next day I used balsamic.  The color didn't really bother me, but I liked the champagne vinegar better.

Tear the arugula after washing and scatter throughout salad

Now for the secret ingredient: Sesame Oil!  This oil is very high in fat and a little goes a long way.  Drizzle a small amount over the top of the salad and mix well.  Even a teaspoonful may be too much.  It has a very strong flavor but really kicks the flavor up several notches.

Et viola!

I had this salad for lunch on Saturday, and liked it so much I had it on Sunday, too!  Not only is it delcious and healthy, but very satisfying.  I ended up having a light supper on both nights because I was still full from the Tuscan salad.  As they say in Tuscany, Mangiare!


1 can Italian tuna in oil
1 tspn champagne vinegar
1/2 tspn sesame oil
1/2 cup arugula, rinsed and chopped
1 cup cannellini beans, rinsed
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted
1/8 cup marinated banana peppers


Open the Italian tuna
Add contents in mixing bowl including the oil
Add beans, tomatoes, olives and arugula
Add champagne vinegar - test to see if it's moist enough
Add extra virgin olive oil to taste if necessary
Drizzle sesame oil over the top
Garnish with banana peppers

Serve and enjoy!

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