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, white bean, tomato and basil tossed salad

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.

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.

Substitutions for Tuna White Bean Salad

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

How to Serve White Bean Tuna Salad

Serve this salad with a chilled soup – like our Chilled Minted Pea Soup or Cucumber Leek Vichyssoise (in my book Fresh Tastes) – and French bread.

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tuna, white bean, tomatoes and basil salad

Tuna Bean Salad

  • Author: By Lee Clayton Roper
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main dish salads, gluten free, healthy


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


  • 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


  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.


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.

Lee Clayton Roper


I’m Lee Clayton Roper, and I’m passionate about making cooking and entertaining easy, elegant and fun. Here you’ll find scrumptious recipes, helpful tips and seasonal menus that will spark inspiration in your kitchen!
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4 Responses to “White Bean Tuna Salad”

    • Lee Roper

      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.

  1. Nick Parkes

    Only needed 1 tin of butter beans but this made a perfect lunch for the 4 of us, thanks.


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