Tuna and Pinto Bean Salad: Spring

April 19th, 2016

Pinto Bean and Tuna Salad 1

We have been enjoying warmer weather this week.  David has been working on the boat, getting it cleaned of cobwebs, and checking the engine.  The lake is glistening and quiet.  There is not much boat traffic this early in the season.  I took our kayak out for the first time.  I was sure that I would capsize it, but found my balance quickly.  The alternative would be a dunking in frigid water.  It was relaxing paddling by lakefront houses seeing the improvements that neighbors have made to their properties over the winter.  The Ellis’s have finished their party dock and lakeside cabin. There is a new house going up a few doors down.  Hanging baskets adorn many docks and the dogwoods and azaleas are in bloom.

This was a day calling for a special lunch.  I found a can of pinto beans and Italian tuna packed in olive oil in the pantry.  From the fridge I pulled a jar of peperoncini, lemons, cherry tomatoes, celery and red onion.  The recipe was inspired by one made by Kalyn’s Kitchen; one of my favorite healthy bloggers.  We polished off the whole thing.  David said we should eat lunch like this every day.

Pinto Bean and Tuna Salad 2V

The dressing for the salad includes some of the peperoncini juice, lemon juice, olive oil, taco seasoning and a hit of hot pepper sauce.

LL Living Room with tulips 2

While shopping at Trader Joe’s last week, I picked up a small pot of tulips still in the bud stage.  Look at them now in my sunny living room.  Not a bad investment for $3.99.

LL Living room with tulips 1

I love how such a small pot of flowers can make me smile.  Something else that makes me smile is the Spring ritual that my friend Penny and I have formed.  Each Spring when I return from Florida, we get together in Asheville for antiquing and lunch at our favorite bistro, Fig.

Penny and Penny

It was a little cool last week, but we ate at our favorite table anyway.

Fig Lunch 2

Penny had the PEI Mussels with Pommes Frites.  I had Chicken Schnitzel with white beans, andouille sausage and a piquillo pepper coulis.  It was delicious and it was fun catching up after a dreary winter.  . . . But back to this week’s lunch.

Pinto Bean and Tuna Salad Close

I think this is a great recipe.  Thanks to Kalyn for the inspiration.


1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 T peperoncini juice (brine from the bottle of peppers)
1/2 tsp. Tabasco Sauce, more or less depending on how spicy you like it
1 tsp. Taco seasoning
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
5 T extra-virgin olive oil
4-6 large peperoncini peppers, stem and seeds removed and finely chopped
1/4 cup diced red onion
2 stalks of celery chopped
1 cup chopped tomato, drained if the tomatoes are very juicy (I used cherry tomatoes cut in fourths)
4 or 5 basil leaves, chiffonade
1 can (5-7 oz) Italian tuna packed in olive oil

Add rinsed and drained pinto beans to a medium size bowl.  Mix together the lemon juice, peperoncini juice, tabasco, taco seasoning, salt and pepper and olive oil. Whisk until combined.  Add rest of the ingredients except basil to the pinto beans.  Pour dressing over and stir to combine.  Sprinkle basil over the top and serve.

Printable Recipe

17 responses to “Tuna and Pinto Bean Salad: Spring”

  1. Penny at the Comforts of Home says:

    It was so much fun getting together! Looking forward to seeing you again soon. I have always wanted to go kayaking! Your journey sounded wonderful. Lunch sounds great too. I make a tune a chickpea salad. If you like chick peas you would love it. I will email you the recipe.

  2. Madonna says:

    I have made this salad, but used cannelloni beans, but I love the idea of using peperoncini. I’m thinking that would take it over the top. Also, after eating the Italian tuna, it makes it difficult to eat just an ordinary can of tuna.

    Love your tulips, just a little sunshine. Also fun to hear about the 2 Pennys and what you had for lunch. It would be difficult to decide what to have.

    • Penny says:

      You are right about the tuna Madonna. It is so much better than water-packed inexpensive tuna. Worth the extra cost. I was going to make the salad with cannelloni beans, but all I had were pinto beans. Glad I made the substitution.

  3. Barbara says:

    I adore tulips….and remember patiently awaiting their arrival (along with daffodils) every spring. Seeing them start to peek through the soil always brought such pleasure. I do bring some home from the market now and then as nothing is prettier flowing every which way in a glass bowl.
    Nice photo of the two of you…love mussels!

    • Penny says:

      I may try to plant these bulbs in the ground Barbara. We have deer problems, so not sure if they will survive. Do deer eat tulips and daffodils? Will have to research that.

  4. Beautiful salad. I’ve made a similar one with cannelloni beans, but it never occurred to me to add peperoncini. What a great idea. I know you must be glad to be at the lake in the spring and also to get together with Penny. What a nice welcome home.


    • Penny says:

      Yes, it is good to be back Sam. Miss you being here, but I know you must be enjoying Florida. Hope the house remodel is coming along.

  5. Monique says:

    Hello..I went on a kayak in Fl and I love it..so I think you are so lucky to have one there..in the wtaer by your pretty cottage:)
    The dish looks great.I must get some pepperoncinis.I always had them..it’s been a while..

    Loose change..:) Twopennies.

    • Penny says:

      We are definitely loose change Monique. LOL. I know I am going to enjoy the kayak. Good exercise for flabby arms.

  6. Darla says:

    It’s great that you are using the kayak, Penny. Such good exercise and you can explore all the little coves on the lake. Deer do eat tulips ( they are deer candy) but don’t eat daffodils. I plant tulips in VA , but they don’t come back the next year due to our heavy clay soil. I have to spray them several times with deer repellant while they are growing to keep the deer away. You may want to stick with daffodils!

    • Penny says:

      Happy Birthday Darla. We are looking forward to seeing you and the Grandkids tomorrow. I figured you would know that deer love tulips. Will stick to daffodils.

  7. Susan says:

    Our weather has been very up and down this month but things are really greening up quickly. What a lovely place to have lunch and the tuna salad sounds wonderful with the beans!

  8. The lake must be lovely this time of the year, not too many people out on it yet. I like tuna and bean salads and will have to try your version…it sure looks good.

  9. Penny says:

    Thanks Karen. We spent the weekend with the Grandkids. It was fun, but it is good to be back at the lake.

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