White Bean and Tuna Salad

Simple tuna and white bean salad, a classic combination and so easy to make!

White Bean Tuna Salad
Elise Bauer

Some items that you will almost always find well stocked in our pantry are canned beans (white beans, garbanzo, kidney) and canned tuna packed in olive oil. We also keep well supplied with onions, including at least one red onion.

So when we are looking for a super-easy-I'm-hungry-now-and-I-don't-want-to-spend-time-cooking meal we're prepared. This combination, canned tuna with white beans and onions is classic, and so easy!

It helps to have a high quality canned tuna, packed in olive oil. If you have water-packed tuna it will still work, but you'll need to add a lot of olive oil to help it come together.

White Bean Tuna Salad
Elise Bauer

An herb or bitter of some sort is a bright addition too. Mint, parsley, arugula are all growing around our garden at some point, and depending on the season we gather what we can find. You could also use cilantro, tarragon, or rosemary.

A little Tabasco or chili pepper will give the salad a bit of zing. Try substituting the white beans with garbanzo beans. (Make homemade beans on the stovetop or in a pressure cooker if you have time!) This salad is designed for improvisation.

White Bean and Tuna Salad

Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 4 servings


  • 1 cup chopped red onions or shallots

  • The zest and juice of 1 lemon or 2 limes (can sub a tablespoon or two of cider vinegar)

  • 2 (5- to 6-ounce) cans tuna packed in olive oil

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini or Great Northern white beans, rinsed and drained

  • 1/2 cup (loosely packed) chopped parsley or arugula, or 2 tablespoons thinly sliced mint

  • A few splashes Tabasco sauce, or 1 minced Serrano chili or 1 teaspoon red chili flakes

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Salt and more extra virgin olive oil, to taste


  1. Sprinkle some of the lemon juice over the chopped onions:

    while you prepare the other ingredients. This will take some of the oniony edge off the onions.

  2. Combine ingredients in a bowl:

    Drain the oil from the tuna and put the tuna into a large bowl. Add the beans to the tuna and gently stir to combine.

    Add the onions, herbs, black pepper, lemon zest and lemon juice and mix to combine. Add Tabasco or chili to taste.

    If the salad needs more acid, add a little more lemon juice. If the salad seems a little dry, add a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. Add salt to taste.

  3. Chill before serving:

    This salad will last several days in the fridge, tightly covered.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
379 Calories
8g Fat
48g Carbs
35g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 379
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 878mg 38%
Total Carbohydrate 48g 18%
Dietary Fiber 12g 41%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 35g
Vitamin C 120mg 599%
Calcium 158mg 12%
Iron 6mg 34%
Potassium 1077mg 23%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.