Cannellini Bean and Tuna Salad Recipe

Cannellini Bean and Tuna Salad

Good quality canned tuna is more expensive, but your salad will be infinitely more flavorful as you can use the tuna oil as part of your dressing.  Insalata di Fagioli i Tonno is an Italian favorite of mine. The added bonus of this recipe is that it is prepared in minutes especially when one wants to keep some distance from the kitchen in warm weather. The crisp touch of celery or fennel is a fine addition to this classic.

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 30 minutes


  • 2 cans of 6 oz (340 g) each of high quality tuna packed in olive oil; oil may be used if taste is ok, otherwise drain and replace with extra virgin olive oil, no Chicken of the Sea or similar brands, please!
  • 2 cans of 15 oz (850 g) each of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium-size red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 3/4 cup (75 g) celery rib or fresh fennel, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup (14 g) flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp or more extra virgin olive oil plus tuna can oil; taste it for quality before adding it to the dressing
  • 2-3 Tbsp red or white vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


If you use good quality canned tuna in olive oil, save the oil and add it to the dressing. Combine tuna, beans, red onion, capers, celery or fennel and parsley in a salad bowl. Make a dressing with olive oil, tuna olive oil, vinegar, garlic, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Drizzle over the tuna and beans and mix it gently avoiding breaking the tuna into too small chunks.

Let it stand at room temperature for at least 15 minutes to mingle the flavors. Additional dressing might be needed as beans absorb a lot of it.

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