Tuna-and-White-Bean Salad


Purists would insist on imported Italian canned tuna fish for the Tuscan classic, but we think plain old tuna from the supermarket is just fine, too. However, make sure the fish is packed in oil; not only will the tuna be infinitely more flavorful, we use the oil as part of the dressing. Slideshow:  More Terrific Salads 

Tuna-and-White-Bean Salad
Photo: © Sarah Bolla


  • 2 6-ounce cans tuna packed in oil

  • 3 cups drained and rinsed canned white beans, preferably cannellini (from two 15-ounce cans)

  • 1 red onion, sliced thin

  • 1 tablespoon drained capers

  • 2 bunches watercress (about 3/4 pound), tough stems removed and leaves chopped (about 2 quarts)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon red- or white-wine vinegar

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper


  1. Put the tuna with its oil, the beans, onion, capers, watercress, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Toss gently to combine.


Since there are so few ingredients in this simple salad, you'll want to use really good canned beans; lower-quality beans are mushy. Among the many fine brands, we find Goya to be consistently reliable.

If your tuna has less than one-and-a-half tablespoons of oil per can, add a little extra olive oil to make up the difference. We're counting on that much oil as part of the dressing.


•Use arugula instead of the watercress.

•Try canned sardines instead of the tuna.

Suggested Pairing

Vernaccia di San Gimignano, from the vineyards surrounding the oft-pictured hilltop town of San Gimignano, is a refreshing and racy wine. Its subtle almond flavors will blend well with the earthiness of the beans.

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