Tuna cannellini bean salad is a great meal for those days when you just don’t feel like “cooking.” Maybe you got home late from work, or you’ve been out running errands all day, or it’s just too hot to fuss. This meal requires nothing more complicated than opening a few cans, sprinkling some seasonings, and a little bit of chopping. Easy.
Everything comes straight from your pantry. The beans are canned, the tuna is canned, and the only fresh ingredient you need is some scallions, and maybe the lemon juice. Even that isn’t essential; if you don’t have scallions, use onion instead. If you’re out of fresh lemons, the bottled juice will do just fine.
If you do have the time and energy, this is a bit better with freshly cooked beans. The canned beans tend to be slightly mushy, and sometimes they’re a little salty. If you go the dried bean route, use my quick soak method to speed things up. If not, no harm, no foul.
The recipe is enough for two lunches or one dinner (depending how hungry you are). I usually find that I eat a whole 5 oz. can of tuna for lunch if I just make ordinary tuna salad, but adding the beans stretches it enough for two meals.
I’ve adapted it slightly from one of Pierre Franey’s Sixty Minute Gourmet cookbooks. I reduced the quantity and eliminated the parsley (never had any use for parsley). This is not only better than sixty minutes, it only takes about ten.
Serve with some fresh fruit and you have a fast lunch in under fifteen minutes. Add crusty bread to that and you have dinner.
Tuna Cannellini Bean Salad Substitutions and Variations
- add some capers
- mix in some cherry tomatoes
- try red onion instead of the scallions
- serve over romaine lettuce
- mix some greens (watercress, arugula, or one of those baby greens mixtures) right into the salad
More Cannellini Bean Recipes
I saw this fancy salad at a store for about $10 a pound. I thought I can make that myself for a lot less. So I did.
An Italian classic in a scaled-down version that’s perfect for single person cooking. And it’s nearly entirely pantry ingredients too (just the pancetta, but that will keep in the fridge).
A variation on harira, which is usually made with lamb and lentils. There’s lots of flavor from garlic, tomatoes, and a bit of a kick from hot pepper. Perfect for chilly days and uses largely shelf-stable ingredients.
A Brazilian twist on Hungarian chicken paprikash. This version has beans and sausage, with no sour cream in sight. It’s comforting, filling, and only uses one pot.