Tuna Pasta Salad

  We have reached that point in the summer when I don’t like cooking anything complicated, especially if it will heat up the kitchen at the hottest part of the day. Grilling is always an option, but sometimes you just want something light and cool for supper. Enter this salad! It has a lovely combination of protein and carbohydrates that will leave you satisfied, but not sluggish. It keeps well for about 48 hours in the refrigerator, so if you have a small family, you can have leftovers for lunch the next day with no problem!

This salad is meant to be served at room temperature or a little warm, but it is also very good cold, especially if you add an extra squeeze of lemon.

A note about canned tuna. I try to buy the most sustainable tuna I can afford, and prefer tuna packed in olive oil. Trader Joes has a very affordable Skipjack tuna that is dolphin safe. If you decide to use tuna packed in spring water, you may need a bit more olive oil to keep the salad from getting dry.

Tuna Pasta Salad (makes 4-6 servings)

  • 1 pound pasta
  • 2 cans of tuna, drained
  • 1 head of butter or Romaine lettuce, washed and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives (optional)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta to al dente according to package directions.
  2. Drain pasta and toss with the olive oil. Set aside to cool about 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the tuna, lettuce, olives, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  4. Add the cooled pasta to the bowl. Toss all ingredients together.
  5. Correct seasonings as needed.
  6. Serve immediately at room temperature or refrigerate and serve cold.


Tuna and White Bean Salad


July is not the time to be cooking big meals here in North Carolina. In fact, it’s best not to be cooking at all, if you can help it. It is hot, hot, hot here, and cold salads are a great way to get a healthy, refreshing meal while using all those wonderful vegetables from the farmer’s market. This tuna and white bean salad uses canned, organic cannellini beans (look for a BPA-free can), but you could also cook some dried beans (that would require using the stove, so you decide what works for you). We are also using some sustainable, water packed tuna from Wild Planet. Wild Planet was a vendor at the recent Esprit de She race, and I scored some free samples after the race (sometimes it pays to finish later!). This salad is light, nourishing and delicious–very fresh for summer!

Tuna and White Bean Salad (makes 3 entree servings or 6 side dish servings)

  • 1 can organic cannellini beans
  • 1 can tuna packed in water
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 red or green bell pepper, washed and diced
  • 3 scallions, chopped (just the white parts)
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 heaping tablespoon capers (rinse if salt-packed)
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher or sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • Butter leaf lettuce or arugula leaves
  1. Combine all ingredients except lettuce in a large mixing bowl and mix well.
  2. Cover and keep refrigerated at least one hour, to let flavors come together.
  3. Arrange lettuce leaves in serving bowls or plates.
  4. Scoop salad onto lettuce and serve.
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