Tuna & Cannellini Bean Spread/Salad/Dip

A long time ago, I sat down at a Le Pain Quotidien in NYC with my good friend Tanya and had an incredible tuna and white bean tartine (open-faced sandwich). It was filling, tasty, and seemed so simple. I’ve tried a couple of times to replicate it and I think I finally found a recipe that I like. It’s easy and cheap, took under five minutes to make, and is also pretty darn healthy.

Note: It does call for blending the beans into a paste (kind of like the consistency of hummus). I’m sure you could not do this and just toss or mush the beans so it is more of a salad, but I really love the blended consistency, so I would give it a try at least the first time you make it.

Tuna & Cannellini Bean Mix

In a food processor (or using a hand-held mixer with chopping/blending attachment), add two tablespoons of olive oil, the juice of half a lemon, teaspoon of salt, several hearty grinds of freshly ground pepper, and garlic (one clove if you aren’t a huge garlic fan, two if you think it’s nifty, and three if you’re “a garlic person”). Blend, then add one can of drained cannellini beans. Taste and adjust seasonings. If you have fresh parsley or tarragon, that could be delicious here.

Mix in one can of drained tuna and then you can do several things: Spread it on bread (or matzah, if you’re like me and observing Passover), serve it as a dip (which I suppose you could also do without the tuna), or put it over spring greens and serve it as a tasty and filling salad.

More Recipes From the Broke Yet Creative Graduate Student

Summer Tuna Salad

Open and drain one can of tuna (solid white albacore, dolphin-safe, in water).

Smush in:

  • about a tablespoon of mayo (or more to taste)
  • a teaspoon of lemon juice (fake from a bottle is fine, rice vinegar would probably also be ok)
  • a tablespoon of olive oil (canola oil or veg oil will not do; this is what gives this a grown-up taste
  • salt & pepper


  • small handful (2-3 tablespoons) of nuts (I suggest almonds, walnuts, or pecans)
  • small handful (1-2 tablespoon) of dried fruit (I suggest craisins or raisins, but also try dried apricots).

Stir to insure equal distribution. Enjoy!

Although the nuts and berries tend to be a bit pricy, they last a while (and are even more cost effective if you buy them in bulk). The whole thing has a nice protein punch, but with a yummy sweetness from the craisins.

Also: crasins + almonds make a great mid-afternoon snack that satisfies the hunger urge while letting you nosh during long lectures. For an extra treat, splurge and mix in a pack of M&Ms from the vending machine.