For a perfect balance of taste and nutrition, this Tuna and Ceci Bean Salad couldn’t be a better choice. Not only is it naturally gluten free, it’s packed with protein and vitamins and couldn’t be easier to make. The main components of the dish come right off the pantry shelves. When I was a kid my mom used to magically throw this salad together in minutes. I’ve replaced the onions in her version with scallions. And now ceci beans stand in for the white cannellini beans she used to use. I remember loving the soft texture of those beans juxtaposed against the crunch of the onions. I might even prefer those velvety beans over the chick peas that I’ve used today. So why then would I choose them in the first place? You see, beyond the fact that ceci beans are also fabulous in this dish, my daughter prefers them over white beans in her salads. She prefers that I save the cannellini beans for pasta fagioli, another of her favorite bean dishes. Frankly, I’m just ecstatic that she loves either of these highly nutritious dishes, so I’m not about to argue over beans.
1 can Ceci Beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can of Tuna packed in Olive Oil (drained)
2-3 Scallions (chopped)
1 clove Garlic (minced)
1 medium Carrot (finely diced)
the Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon
a few sprigs of Parsley (chopped)
a little dried Thyme
a few Red Pepper Flakes
about 2 tbs Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a small bowl, add the garlic, the juice and zest of the lemon, a few red pepper flakes, a little dried thyme and some salt and pepper to taste. Stir it together with a whisk to get it all blended then add the olive oil in a slow steady stream while continuing to whisk until it is combined then set it aside. In a medium bowl, mix the chickpeas, carrot parsley and scallions together. Then add the dressing and stir to make sure everything is coated thoroughly. Now add the tuna and stir once more being careful not to entirely break up the tuna. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours to allow the flavors to blend.
I had some for lunch spooned over a bed of shredded cabbage that I had dressed with a little olive oil, lemon. This would really be great served with a dressed bitter green like arugula. You could even turn this into a pasta salad by doubling the dressing and vegetable amounts and adding a short pasta shape. Small shells might be nice catch all those little beans and parallel the seafood theme of the tuna. Make sure the pasta is gluten free unless of course you’re not on a gluten free diet, then you could use whatever you want.