You’ll know the living is easy when you Cold Tuna Salad with Green Beans. I know Cold Tuna. Green Beans. That might not sound too inspired, but wait! There’s more. There are gorgeous little cherry tomatoes and of all things, white beans. And that’s all set off by this fabulous Herby Lemon Vinaigrette. The combination is so amazing. The tuna is set off by the fresh, perfectly cooked green beans, the creamy white beans, and the bright tomatoes. This is everyday ingredients transformed.
Inspired by the classic French salad, Salade Niçoise, this is def a more approachable version. At least it’s something that I’d like to eat even more! Part of that is the amazing vinaigrette, but I just love how all the components work together. That being said, since this salad is all about the components, it’s certainly easy enough to take this idea and sub in what works for you.
About Cold Tuna Salad with Green Beans:
Of course, obvs, the main component of this salad is the tuna. You’ll want to make sure to use a tuna you like. If you want to go for utterly over the top, cook your own, but a good quality canned tuna will work, too, and can’t be beat for easy. If I had a choice, I’d try a tuna packed in oil, and if I didn’t use that, maybe something in a pouch. If you’re on a special diet or on a budget maybe try whatever you’re comfortable with. Believe me, that tuna will get a lot of help from the vinaigrette!
When I say cold, this salad is marvelous at room temperature and can be served chilled, too. I know, I get that getting someone to wrap their head around cold green beans (and the cold white beans) could be a challenge; thinking of them as a salad, in combo with the tomatoes might help some. And there couldn’t be anything better on a warm day! Serve this as a cold salad, composed, or toss it all in a bowl to tote for work. This does seem a little less “ladies luncheon” when served up in a bowl, btw!
Variations on Cold Tuna Salad with Green Beans:
The whole idea of this salad is the combo of marvelous veggies and what amounts to a good bit of protein and the right carbs. And the dressing has just the right amount of the right oils, It’s the perfect high protein low carb combo that’s going to satisfy.
If you’d like, it’s so easy to sub in ingredients. You could easily use chicken (anything leftover would be marvelous) or salmon for the tuna. And if white beans aren’t your thing, think about using a good, hearty grain instead.
If these veggies, the green beans (the long, skinny French haricot verts would up the game here) and tomatoes aren’t your thing, use your own judgment in subbing. The flavors are definitely French leaning toward the Mediterranean, so that might be your guide.
Making Cold Tuna Salad with Green Beans:
You’ll want to allow a little extra time to make the Herby Lemony Vinaigrette that goes with this salad. It’s unusual and the garlic and some of herbs are slowly heated in the olive oil, flavoring the oil before the rest of the ingredients are added. It only takes a few minutes but that’s an FYI you’ll need to be aware of. That being said, I have skipped that warming step, before, so feel free if you’re in a hurry.
I love green beans in this salad when they’re done to perfection, soft, tender with just a bit of crispness. I like to bring just a little water to a good simmer in a skillet, toss the green beans in, cover and let them steam for a few minutes. When finished, toss them in a colander and run cold water over them. They’ll retain their beautiful color. As far as the white beans, all I do is open a can, rinse and drain.
If you’d like to cook your tuna for this recipe, you couldn’t go wrong with making the vinaigrette first, placing the tuna on a piece of foil on a cookie sheet, then drizzling a bit of that vinaigrette right over. Pop it in the oven until done. The sizes and thickness of any tuna fillet can vary and can affect the time but usually, you’re going to be good to go if you cook it low and slow, 300 degrees F. for 10 to 15 minutes or so. Cook it rarer if that’s your preference or go longer if you’d like.
Saving Money on Cold Tuna Salad with Green Beans:
Dried beans are no doubt a better bargain, but canned won’t break the bank. Watch for sales, know the highs and lows, and keep a few cans in the pantry for those busy days. Some of the best prices are in the fall as the weather starts to cool and the warehouses are full.
Tuna, whether buying fresh, frozen or canned is usually the lowest price of the year right before Easter and I’ll usually stock my freezer and buy canned tuna for the year. There are good sales prior to Christmas, too, but most sales won’t rival the ones before Easter. To see what other items might be on sale during specific holidays, check out my page Winning at the Grocer’s, and click on each holiday. It’s worth noting that Aldi has great prices on frozen tuna.
Green beans are best in season but these days you never know when you might see marvelous ones show up at the store. I often see shipments coming in before the Christmas holidays and before Easter and Mother’s Day. (Check that link Winning at the Grocery.) Watch those, but keep in mind that those usually won’t be regular, recurring sales until summer. Snatch them up if they look good and the price is right.
This is a fabulous recipe to use any leftover Tuna (or salmon) or even leftover green beans in. And of course, if you’ve stocked up your pantry, this is a great way to use a can of beans.
Cold Tuna Salad with Green Beans
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Salads
- Cuisine: French
- 1 15 ounce can of any white bean, rinsed and drained
- 1 pound green and/or wax beans
- 1 pouch 6.5 ounces (or more) of white or albacore tuna or cooked tuna
- 1 1/2 cups small tomatoes, halved, or the equivalent of standard tomato, chunked
- 1 recipe Herby Lemon Vinaigrette
- lemon for garnish
- Herbs for garnish
Make the vinaigrette ahead.
Bring about 3/4″ of salted water to a boil in a skillet. Add green beans, cover, and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes until tender, but still slightly crisp. Drain and plunge into ice water or add to a colander and place under cold, running water to preserve color and texture. Drain well when cooled.
Arrange tuna, white beans, green beans, and tomatoes on a platter. Drizzle with dressing. Serve with lemon. Garnish with herbs used in the vinaigrette, if desired.
Keywords: Canned Beans, Dried Beans, Fish and Seafood, French, Green Beans, leftover fish, Lemon, Main dish salad, Salad, Tomatoes, Tuna, Tuna Salad
How much and what kind of Tuna is safe to eat? Check out this handy calculator by Colin Dunn of Planet Green. Hint: light tuna has much lower levels of mercury than Albacore.