No plans to go to Italy this summer – no worries, I got you covered! With this tuna salad you’ll be transported to Tuscany any time you want without having to spend money on airfare, hotels, and the inevitable shopping that would ensue.

My inspiration for this dish came from one of my favorite Italian restaurants in the city – Bar Pitti. If you live in New York City, or are coming to visit, I highly recommend it. Delicious food, friendly staff, and an outdoor seating situation that just brings a smile to your face. (I’m talking a good 15 tables of people eating, drinking, and laughing together.) On their menu they have a dish called, Insalata Di Fagioli Tonno E Cipolla, or Italian Beans with Tuna and Onions, and this is my take on it.

But first, for those of you who don’t know how to cook, are scared of your stove, or use your oven to store your jewelry and/or sports paraphernalia – have no fear! This recipe is so simple even the most inept kitchen novice could master it. All you need is a cutting board, knife, can opener, bowl, and fork. Total ingredient count: 7. So stop your whining and get involved. You can thank me later…

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 6.7 oz jar tuna in olive oil                                         
  • 1 cup low-sodium cannellini beans
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a bowl, flake the tuna with a fork.
  2. Add the beans, onion, lemon juice, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix to combine.

A FEW NOTES ABOUT THIS RECIPE: 

  • No, I did not make a mistake. It is that easy. 
  • Make sure to get tuna in olive oil, not water. I know, you might be frightened by the added calories and fat, but I assure you that not only is it worth it, but it will also not make a difference in the end. The olive oil adds such richness to the tuna that it does't require any additional olive oil or mayonnaise to stay moist. So instead of adding it later because that canned tuna in water is just too dry, you're having it done for you. It's a one-stop-shop, literally.
  • If you can't find low-sodium cannellini beans, like me, don't sweat it! Just rinse them through before using. That way, you can still control the level of salt in your dish. Note the "salt and pepper to taste" in the ingredient list.
  • Quick tip: To get the most out of your lemon, roll it before juicing. That way, you release the juice from the pulp, making it easier to extract as much juice once you cut into it.
  • When I say, "salt and pepper to taste," I really mean it. Add a little bit at a time, and taste as you go. There is no right answer. For me, it came to about 1/8 tsp salt and about 7 turns on my pepper grinder.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:

This recipe is not only simple, but it is also versatile. Iterations include, but are not limited to...

...a salad: Add it to your favorite greens and any add-ons you like. Like my lunch! (see picture above)

...an open-faced sandwich: Put it on top of some avocado slices and a piece of whole grain toast.

...an hors d'oeurves: For your next cocktail party, serve little portions in endive leaves. Embarrassingly easy, yet unequivocally elegant. It's a win-win.

...a snack: Grab a fork and eat it as-is!

 

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