My family has gone FitBit crazy. First, my Dad got one. Then my cousins. It arrived in our house when Scott ordered one for himself and Emily. What started out as a fun, tech way to monitor their daily activity and encourage them to reach that 10,000 step minimum has turned into a smack-talking, chest-pumping challenge to one-up everyone else! It’s a good thing — I guess — but I’m really tired of having my daughter literally walk circles around me at 9:00 at night to hit her steps. So what does that have to do with this Tuna White Bean Puttanesca?
Well, their focus on fitness has me looking for flavor-popping ways to amp up a standard salad – because they both want healthy, tasty, low-carb, high-protein lunches. This one delivers. Each component brings it’s own bold flavor. The base is bitter radicchio lettuce. I stuck mine on the grill to add a little smoky char, but that’s completely optional.
Sun-dried tomatoes add just the right sweetness and chew, while cannellini beans provide fiber and protein with a creamy mouth feel. Olives offer a briny touch and a can of tuna, flaked into the salad rounds out the sock-it-to-me flavors.
And the dressing isn’t my typical lemon vinaigrette, either. With shallots, capers and anchovies and red pepper flakes, the dressing alone will get your attention. Paired with the rest of the salad, it’s a veritable explosion of tastes, textures and colors.
Finish this dish with a chiffonade of fresh, fragrant basil. One bite and you’ll keep going back for more. It’s weirdly addictive in the same way the FitBit is motivating — you just can’t stop!
- 1 head radicchio lettuce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 15-ounce cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 7-ounce cans tuna, well drained and flaked with a fork into bite-sized chunks
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced thinly
- 1 cup pitted, chopped olives (I used cerignola, but kalamata work well too)
- 3/4 cup fresh basil
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons capers, finely chopped
- 2 anchovy fillets, finely minced or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 1 large shallot, finely minced
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 4 - 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
- Preheat the grill to medium high or use a grill pan. Place the radicchio on a cutting board and cut in quarters vertically, through the core. Drizzle cut sides with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil each. Grill the radicchio 1-2 minutes per side just to get a little char and smoke. Remove from grill and cut away the core. Slice radicchio into 1/2" slices and transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the cannellini beans, tuna, sun-dried tomatoes and olives. Toss to combine and set aside.
- Add the lemon zest and juice to a small bowl. Stir in the capers, anchovy, shallots, red pepper flakes, olive oil, salt and pepper. Whisk ingredients well and pour dressing over the salad. Toss to combine.
- Just before serving, chiffonade the basil, by stacking the leaves on top of one another and rolling tightly into a cigar shape. Use a sharp knife to very thinly slice the basil crosswise into thin strips. Add the fresh basil to the salad and toss to combine. Serve.
- I grilled the radicchio to get some smoky flavors into the salad - but it's not required for this recipe. If you'd prefer, just skip oiling and grilling the lettuce and slice it into 1/2" pieces. Continue with the recipe.