Tuna Bean Salad Sandwich
Along with rising temperatures comes the craving for chilled, refreshing lunch options. Have you felt it yet? It was a cold spring this year in New England, but sure enough, the warm weather is starting to show itself. Now, instead of looking forward to a warming bowl of soup or face full of steam from a microwaved frozen meal everyday at noon, I find myself wanting enormous salads, red pepper sticks with hummus, and as many green seedless grapes as I can fit into my lunch bag. Hello, warm weather lunch food! This tuna bean salad is another favorite, packing in tons of (chilled) flavor along with a dose of fiber, protein, and iron.
Kind of like a tuna fish salad on steroids, tuna bean salad pairs chunk tuna (oil-packed will give a lot more flavor) with cannellini beans (or garbanzo, if you prefer) for a heartier bite. I like to spin it in a Mediterranean direction, adding tangy feta cheese, salty Kalamata olives, and red onion to the mix along with some celery for crunch. A little mayo, Dijon mustard, chopped fresh basil, and seasonings to taste rounds it all out, but feel free to use whatever herbs you prefer or have on hand.
This makes a great sandwich filling — I love it on a whole wheat pita-style sandwich bread with a little lettuce and tomato. When something tastes this good I hate to lose all the flavor with bulky bread. I keep this in this “tuna fish” style by using mayo, but if you want something a little more refined you can drizzle in olive oil to bind the ingredients together and ditch the mayo and mustard.
For serving, you can also go the “salad on salad” route and top a fresh garden salad with a scoop of the tuna bean salad, serve it with toasted pita points, or make mini open-faced tuna melts by spooning the salad on top of sliced baguette rounds, adding a little shredded cheese, and broiling them until the cheese is golden and bubbly. The Harrisville General Store down the street from the Yankee office serves their tuna melt open-faced on half of a bagel, which also works great. Leftovers can be covered and stored in the fridge for a few days, which can sometimes taste even better since it gives the flavors a longer time to meld together.
So what’s your favorite “warm weather” food? And have the cravings started yet?