White Bean and Tuna Salad

Ever wonder what to make with canned tuna other than mixing it with mayo for a sandwich? This is a perfect high protein and fiber salad that’s delicate and satisfying, plus it is loaded with heart-healthy fats! Pair with some spring greens for added vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

1/2 red onion 
1 tablespoon Champagne, white wine or red wine vinegar plus extra for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups cooked dry white beans, drained, or two 15-ounce cans low-sodium white beans, drained and rinsed (see note)
5.6 ounces olive oil-packed tuna, drained and gently flaked into 2-inch pieces
1 medium garlic clove, minced or finely grated
1 tablespoon bean cooking liquid, from a pot of beans cooked from dry (see note if using canned beans)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus extra for drizzling
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves and tender stems

In a small bowl, combine red onion and enough ice water to cover. Using clean hands, gently scrunch and squeeze the onion slices, taking care not to crush or break them. Let onion slices sit in ice water for 15 minutes, then drain and discard ice water, and return red onion to now-empty bowl. Add vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt and toss and gently massage onions to evenly coat with vinegar and salt. Set aside for 5 minutes to allow onion slices to marinate.

Meanwhile, combine beans and tuna in a large bowl. Once onions have marinated for 5 minutes, squeeze onion slices to release moisture into the bowl that they marinated in, then transfer onion slices to large bowl with beans and tuna; set large bowl aside.

There should be at least 1 tablespoon of vinegar-onion juice liquid left in the small bowl. Add garlic, bean cooking liquid (or, if using canned beans, 2 teaspoons water plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard), and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, and whisk to combine. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Stir in parsley and season to taste with salt.

Transfer dressing to large bowl with bean-tuna mixture, using a rubber spatula to scrape all of the dressing into the large bowl. Using a large spoon, gently toss salad to evenly coat with dressing, taking care not to crush tuna or beans in the process. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide salad between individual serving plates or one large serving platter, drizzle lightly with olive oil and a splash of vinegar, and serve. Makes 4 servings.


  • The quality of the tuna you use will make a difference here.
  • If using canned beans, substitute bean cooking liquid with 2 teaspoons water and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard. The flavor of the dish obviously won’t be exactly the same, but mustard provides similar emulsifying properties as the bean cooking liquid for the dressing.
  • This salad is at its best the day it’s made but can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two days. Bring to cool room temperature before serving

Printable recipe available at:  https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2020/05/white-bean-tuna-salad.html


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