I think it’s fair to say we have officially reached ‘salad weather’ here in the UK. As much as I tend to eat salads all year round, I do change up the ingredients to make them more seasonally appropriate. I also go through phases where I make the same salad again and again for a while before eventually changing it up. This is the salad phase I am in right now, a satisfying and filling mix of tuna and cannellini beans with the refreshing zing of fresh red onion and basil, the crunchiness of raw courgette and pepper and the salty savoury flavours of olives and sun dried tomatoes. Add to that the sweetness of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil and we have a salad which is not only delicious, but is supremely healthy too.

italian tuna bean salad

Italian Tuna Bean Salad (makes 2 servings)

  • 1 tin of tuna packed in spring water
  • 1 tin of cannellini beans (or one cup cooked)
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 small courgette
  • 10 – 15 pitted olives (whichever type you prefer, I used green but black would work well)
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 5 sun dried tomatoes (I used the kind in a jar packed in oil)
  • 3-4 basil leaves

For the dressing:

  • 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp of dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp of garlic powder (or a minced garlic clove)

In a large bowl, mix the tuna and beans (drained and rinsed if from a can) together. Finely chop the red onion and courgette, de seed and chop the red pepper, then halve the olives and chop the tomatoes before adding them to the bowl with the tuna and beans. Finely chop the basil and add that to the mix. In a small jar, place all the dressing ingredients together and shake until combined. Pour into the bowl and mix everything together well. Serve immediately on top of some salad greens or can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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Even without the addition of leafy greens this makes for a substantial salad that’s perfect for lunch.

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To make a vegan version of this just double up on the beans – perhaps using a different variety such as borlotti or haricot and omitting the tuna. Likewise this could be made legume free and more Paleo friendly by omitting the beans and adding more tuna.

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However, I think it is the mix of the different proteins from the beans and tuna, along with the light carbohydrates from the beans that makes this so filling!

Another variation of this salad has seen me using a pot of Italian anti pasti and just mincing it up on the chopping board and throwing in with the tuna, beans and onion. I’ve also made a delicious spicy version with the addition of jalapeños from a jar.

Do you find that certain combinations of foods leave you feeling more full and satisfied than others? Do you enjoy salads?