This Fresh Cranberry Bean & Tuna Salad is the classic antipasto salad to make in the late summer when the first cranberry beans start to show up at Farmers’ Markets. It’s very easy to make, and if you have cooked or canned beans on hand, you can put this together in minutes. Raw cranberry beans fresh out of the pod are gorgeous, marbled with white and dark pink. Like all beans, they can’t be eaten raw and must be cooked. Although cooking takes away their pretty markings, it doesn’t take away their creamy, nutty taste. Other times of the year you can soak dried cranberry or pinto beans overnight and cook them ahead of time, or for simplicity use canned pink beans instead, just rinse them well before using.
1. Put the whole garlic and cranberry beans into a pot. Cover with water and lay the parsley sprig on top. Sprinkle with the teaspoon of olive oil, and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer until soft and tender, but not mushy, about 20-25 minutes. Drain the beans into a bowl and set aside to cool.
2. While the beans are cooling, mix together the shallots, parsley, mint, and oil, and vinegar in a bowl. Season to taste.
3. Drain the tuna if water packed and break it up into pieces. Tip the beans and tuna into the bowl with the dressing. Gently mix together until the beans and tuna are coated, taking care not to break up the beans.
4. Let the salad sit for an hour in a cool place for the flavors to develop. Serve!
- 1 cup shelled cranberry beans (about ¾ pound in their pods) * See Ann’s Tips
- 3 cloves of garlic smashed, peeled, and left whole
- 1 (6 ounce) can light chunk tuna, water packed, or whole slice tuna with no fillers
- 1 tablespoon chopped shallots
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, plus 1 large sprig for the beans
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint
- 2 teaspoons capers, rinsed and drained
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon
- 1½ tablespoons white vinegar
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Ann's Tips and Tricks
If it’s hot and you don’t want to cook, use canned beans. Drain a can of cannelini or pinto beans and rinse them well. Mix them together with the tuna and herbs in step 3.
Many beans are toxic to some degree when raw, and some, like kidney beans, are very poisonous indeed. 10 minutes of cooking makes them all safe, so don’t take the risk, cook them.
When you buy canned tuna, always try to buy sustainably fished, trolled, or pole and line caught fish. Look for US caught Albacore and Tongol tunas. Wild Planet tuna is a good brand to buy.