I don't know if it's a result of growing up in Southern California and being spoiled with all sorts of fresh produce. Or the result of being Italian American where the emphasis was always on eating whole foods and indulging in moderation.
Of all the types of Italian food that are overlooked on English websites, a big part of it are the super easy everyday dishes that people make. They're not necessarily classic dishes and don't always come from a specific region but there are certain flavor combinations that are just ubiquitious.
One such combination is tuna and beans. When I lived in Florence, my corner cafe would make a simple cold pasta of tunna, cannellini beans, and tomatoes and I would eat it a lot when the temperatures soared. Often times you'll find cannellini beans, tuna, and the famous Tropea onions tossed together with loads of olive oil for an impromptu summer meal.
Well, this tuna and arugula salad is a riff on those common dishes.
I've shared a fair share of salads with you; however, I've somehow completely overlooked sharing this tuna and arugula salad. This salad is a twist on that Italian classic combo of oil-packed tuna and cannellini beans and it's evolved over the years.
I ate this dish a lot when I was filming Ask Aida because it's got tons of protein and would fuel me up for the grueling 2 episode-a-day schedule. But the reason I've kept making it is because it's healthy but still filling and really because the one pantry staple I always have on hand is tuna.
There aren't any hard and fast rules to this dish because it's one of those recipes that has evolved with time. However, the beans are one of the key ingredients so you'll want to cook them from dried beans and avoid canned beans if you can. Of course, if time and energy dictate that you use canned beans, I totally get it but just try to make it with dried beans when you have time because the texture will be superior.
Oh and if you can't find cannellini beans (aka white kidney beans) you can use any other creamy beans you have on hand.
Finally, a note about the tuna. This is not a time to use that fishy smelling stuff in a cat food-shaped can because the flavor will just overwhelm everything. Instead splurge on a really awesome, oil-packed tuna -- one that's so good you actually crave it (or at least I do).
Want to remember this recipe for later? Save the image below to your Pinterest account!
pitted and sliced
Make The Balsamic Vinaigrette: Whisk together lemon juice, balsamic, Dijon, and a pinch of salt and crank of pepper in a small nonreactive bowl until well combined. Add honey to taste and slowly whisk in olive oil until well combined. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or honey as desired.
The dressing can be made up to 4 days in advance and stored refrigerated in an airtight container.
Serve The Tuna Salad: Arrange arugula in a salad serving bowl and top with beans, quinoa, tuna, feta, and avocado. Drizzle with half the dressing and serve, passing additional dressing on the side.
Connect With Salt & Wind Travel
More On Salt & Wind Travel