Tuscan Tuna and White Bean Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

March 1st, 2011

What are you cooking, he said?  “Just dinner”,  I said.  “It sure smells good”, he said.  “OK, but don’t get your hopes up, it’s  just a pantry meal”.  This was said by me with perfect assurance. And that was my premise when I planned this meal tonight.  It was so simple to open two cans of tuna and a can of cannellini beans.  The recipe from Sarah Foster looked very staightforward.  But after studying the recipe further, it was much more than those simple pantry items.

There was the 35 minutes required to roast plum tomatoes and red onions with fresh rosemary, olive oil and salt and pepper until they were caramelized and soft.

There was the hour to roast a whole head of garlic with oil and rosemary until it was soft and oozing it’s sweet goodness.

There were the sun-dried tomatoes reconsituted in olive oil, lemons and vinegar and flavored with rosemary and parsley.

The aroma from the oven was heady, but still I cautioned restraint.  This, afterall was nothing special;  just a Tuesday night supper.

I was wrong.  It was wonderful.


3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 teapoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 15 1/2-ounce canenllini beans, rinsed and drained
2 6-ounce cans solid white tuna packed in water, drained
10 roasted garlic cloves ( See recipe below)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 Balsamic-Roasted Tomatoes (See recipe below)

Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, parsley, and rosemary together in a small bowl.  Add the sun-dried tomatoes and let them marinate in the vinaigrette for 10 to 15 minutes to soften.  Place the beans, tuna, and garlic in a medium bowl.  Add the vinaigrette and sun-dried tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and toss gently to mix.  Cover and refrigerate to marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight.  Serve at room temperature, with the Balsamic-Roasted Tomatoes on top.


1 head of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the top off the head of garlic with a serrated knife so that you can see the tips of the individual cloves.  Place the garlic on a sheet of aluminum foil, drizzle with the oil, and rub into all sides of the garlic to coat.  Wrap the head of garlic tightly in foil and place in the oven to roast for 50 to 60 minutes, until it is soft to the squeeze.

Unwrap the garlic and allow it to cool.  When the garlic is cool enough to touch, squeeze the soft garlic cloves out of their skins.  Use the oil that you roasted the garlic in to season whatever your’re using with the garlic.  The cloves will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 1 week.


6 plum tomatoes, halved
1 small red onion, tghinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the tomatoes and onion slices on a baking sheet with sides.  Drizzle with the olive oil and vinegar, sprinkle with the rosemary, salt and pepper, and toss to coat.  Spread the tomatoes and onion in a single layer with the tomatoes cut side down and roast for 30 to 35 minuts, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are soft and shriveled and the vinegar has caramelized on the bottom of the pan.

I added a small amount of lettuce to this salad and served the dish with baked pita wedges.

Printable recipe

11 responses to “Tuscan Tuna and White Bean Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes”

  1. This sounds just heavenly, Penny! I think it definitely looks like it is worth the effort.


  2. Susan says:

    Penny, you really put on a show this evening. A little time consuming, but wow!!!

  3. Donnie says:

    You take fabulous food photos. You know I would have to order this out or get invited because it’s very involved. Looks delicious.

  4. Pondside says:

    I am trying so hard to cook healthier meals for my husband, and to eliminate salt from our diet. Recipes like this one really appeal to me because I can control the amount of salt in the meal.

  5. I have on my list for choices this week a tuna cannelini bean salad but it just doesn’t compare to this!!!

  6. Big Dude says:

    This is sure not your grandma’s tuna salad. I like the flavors that went into it and the special treatment given the ingredients – it looks delicious.

  7. As Emerill would say, you sure kicked this up a notch Penny. You’ve turned an ordinary pantry meal into a movie star.

  8. Lyla says:

    This looks delicious, and it came at the perfect time. We leave for AZ tomorrow and my son and daughter will both love this healthy, lovely meal. I love diversity in all ways and appreciate your recipe blog because you present us with a variety of wonderful dishes. Thanks,friend.

  9. Kate says:

    Wow! I wish I was able to go to the pantry and turn something out as nice as this!

  10. Barbara says:

    Kudos for turning out a Tuesday night supper as great as this!! I am impressed….and copying the recipe!

  11. Rita says:

    We are really into bean salads. Great to find a new and orginal way of prepareing it;love this one.

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.