Looking for a light, bright and flavorful entrée that’s perfect for warm summer days – and only takes 15 minutes to prepare? I’ve got you covered! This Tuna, White Bean and Tomato Salad is a scrumptious, colorful dish that comes together quickly and is perfect for lunch or dinner. Based on a classic Italian dish, I add in another ingredient that adds a big of a tang and amps of the flavor even more.

Tuna and White Bean Salad

This tasty Tuna, White Bean and Tomato Salad can be prepared literally in around 15 minutes. There are many versions of this classic Italian dish that tosses tuna, white (cannellini) beans, tomatoes, onion and basil with a light vinaigrette dressing. I like to think of my take on this salad as sort of a French adaption, as I add Dijon mustard to the dressing.

What is tuna good for?

I love good quality canned tuna and always have several cans in my pantry. It’s super versatile and can be used in many different dishes – from tuna sandwiches to creative main dish salads and casseroles. In addition to this recipe, here are a few of my favorites:

Ingredients for Tuna Bean Salad

As always, it’s important to use good quality ingredients, especially the tuna and extra virgin olive oil. My favorite canned tuna is Wild Planet Albacore, which you can purchase at Costco, as well as various grocery stores around the country. Not only is it full of flavor without being too fishy tasting, it’s canned in its own natural juices, with no added water or oil. Wild Planet reportedly fishes for smaller-sized tuna that have lower amounts of mercury, so it’s better for you, too. Lastly, the texture is firm, not mushy like some canned tunas, and tends to hold its chunky shape in this recipe.

Here’s the complete list of ingredients:

  • White albacore tuna
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Dijon mustard
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Canned cannellini beans (also called white kidney beans)
  • Large tomatoes
  • Red onion
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Substitutions for Tuna White Bean Salad

When large juicy tomatoes aren’t in season, substitute small grape or cherry tomatoes.

How to Make Tuna Salad without Mayo

Just follow these three easy steps to create this amazing tuna salad:

  1. Prepare dressing.
    In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the lemon juice and mustard. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Set aside.
  2. Combine ingredients.
    In a large bowl, toss together the drained beans, tuna, tomato and red onion.
  3. Toss and serve.
    Gently toss with basil, and dressing to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.

How to Serve White Bean Tuna Salad

Serve this salad with a chilled soup – like our Chilled Minted Pea Soup or Cucumber Leek Vichyssoise – and French bread.

How to Store White Bean and Tuna Salad

This salad can be prepared earlier in the day, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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How long will bean salad keep?

This tuna and bean salad is best served the day its prepared, but it will keep, refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Can you freeze bean salad?

I wouldn’t recommend freezing this salad.

More Easy Salad Recipes

And, don’t forget to check out my 14 tips on making fresh, flavorful salads!

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tuna, white bean, tomatoes and basil salad

Tuna Bean Salad

Tuna, White Bean and Tomato Salad is a scrumptious, colorful dish that comes together quickly and is perfect for lunch or a light dinner!

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans (also called white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
  • 2 (5 to 6-ounce) cans white (albacore) tuna in water (or its own juice), drained and broken into chunks (see Note)
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped (2 cups) – see Note
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the lemon juice and mustard. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the drained beans, tuna, tomato and red onion. Gently toss with basil, and dressing to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Notes

Note on tuna: I like to use Wild Planet Albacore Tuna which I find at Costco. I’ve seen it on amazon and also at other grocery stores around the country.

Note on tomatoes: when large juicy tomatoes aren’t in season, substitute little grape tomatoes, that are squeezed of their seeds and roughly chopped. A 10 to 11-ounce tub of little tomatoes is around the right amount. (That’s what I used in the photos.)

Variation: instead of chopping 2 large tomatoes, cut in half, seed and core. Fill with tuna-bean mixture.

Make ahead: salad can be prepared earlier in the day, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.

  • Author: By Lee Clayton Roper
  • Category: Main dish salads, gluten free, healthy
tuna, white bean, tomatoes and basil salad

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I haves provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.


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    1. Good question. The standard ratio of 1-to-3 when substituting dried for fresh herbs would say around 2 1/2 tablespoons dried basil, but that sounds like a lot to me. I would start with 1 tablespoon and add more to taste.