Are you looking for a delicious and flavourful salad that will leave your taste buds singing? Look no further than this Fresh Tuna Salad! Packed full of Mediterranean flavours, this is sure to be a hit with family and friends alike.
This Fresh Tuna Salad recipe is made with sweet flat beans, also known as Italian beans, and is partnered with mini Roma tomatoes, piquant caper berries, olives, and summer's favourite herb - basil.
All of these ingredients come together in perfect harmony to create a salad that is truly bursting with flavour!
Ingredients and Substitutions
I would not usually cook tuna right through; I usually like to leave a strip of beautiful raw tuna in the middle.
However, in this salad, I wanted the tuna on the dry side so that it could absorb the flavours from the tangy Italian dressing, and I paired it with juicy cherry tomatoes, blanched flat beans, caperberries and olives to balance it.
- Fresh tuna - we used two yellowfin tuna steaks in this salad and cooked them through. You can certainly swap for a big can of tuna instead.
- Flat beans - added for their beautiful crunch and citrusy flavour, form the base for this salad. You can use any green bean variety that you find, but you may need to adjust the cooking time. Can't find any green beans, then you can just open up a tin of cannellini beans or butter beans instead.
- Mini Roma tomatoes - added for a pop of colour and for their sweet juicy flavour. Swap for any small tomato variety you like or dice up some regular-sized tomatoes if you can choose an heirloom variety or a vine-ripened variety such as truss tomatoes.
- Fresh basil - added for its wonderful aroma, you can swap for some fennel, dill or parsley.
- Caper berries and black olives - were added for their tangy, briny flavour. Use ordinary capers or any of your favourite olives. Can't stand either of those, simply add the zest of one lemon for some zing flavour instead.
- Salad dressing - I just love, love, love this fresh homemade Italian dressing. But if you don't have the time to make it, don't use the bottled version; make a simple lemon vinaigrette instead. Shake up ⅓ cup olive oil and ¼ cup olive oil with some minced garlic and a teaspoon of mustard only if you have it.
How to Make This Salad
Step 1 - Marinate the Tuna
Place the tuna steaks in a bowl with the marinade ingredients.
Mix well to coat, then let stand to marinate.
Step 2 - Blanch the Beans
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Wash the beans, top, and tail and string them.
Then cut them on the diagonal into 2.5cm (1 inch) pieces.
Place the flat beans into the boiling water and cook for approximately 4-5 minutes (they should be cooked al dente).
While the beans are cooking, fill a large bowl with ice water.
Drain the beans in a colander and submerge them in the ice water, so they retain their colour, then drain well and pat dry.
Step 3 - Pan-fry the Tuna
Heat a non-stick frypan on medium-high heat.
Add the tuna steaks with the oil to the frypan. and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.
This will depend on how thick the tuna steaks are and how well done you like them.
If you much prefer them raw in the middle, then 1 minute on each side should be more than enough.
Look at the side of the tuna to see how far through it is cooked, but remember it will keep cooking for a short while when taken off the heat.
Remove from the heat and allow to rest.
Step 4 - Prepare Everything Else
Wash your mini Roma tomatoes, pat them dry and slice them in half.
Wash the parsley, pat it dry, cut off the stems and roughly chop.
Wash the small basil, pat dry and remove the leaves from the stems; if you are using large basil, then wash the leaves, and cut them into chiffonade ribbons.
Drain and rinse the caper-berries and remove the stems,
Drain and rinse the pitted olives, and slice.
Place all your dressing ingredients in a glass jar, season and shake until emulsified.
Step 5 - Assemble Your Fresh Tuna Salad
Add all the prepared ingredients to a large mixing bowl, and pour over the dressing.
Flake the tuna over your salad and season with sea salt and cracked black pepper.
Toss gently until well combined, then taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.
Arrange the salad in a large salad bowl, and place the caper berries and basil leaves on top to garnish.
Serve and Enjoy!
Serving Suggestions 🍽
It's a good idea to let the tuna salad sit for a few minutes before serving, as this will help the flavours really come through.
For a little extra flavour and texture, you can also throw in some feta cheese, avocado or pine nuts.
When you're ready to tuck in, serve the salad up with a side of your favourite toasted bread and a sprinkling of freshly cracked black pepper.
This salad is ideal for lunch but can also be served as an appetiser, side dish, or light dinner.
Serve it at a barbecue as a meat-free option or make it part of a seafood fiesta and serve it alongside a seafood barbecue feast.
No matter how you serve it, you can't go wrong with this delicious salad.
Types of Tuna in Australia
- Yellowfin tuna has a mild, meaty flavour and is bright red when raw. It turns brown to greyish tan when cooked and is firm and moist with large flakes. This is the most affordable and the one you are most likely to find at your fishmonger.
- Southern bluefin tuna is highly prized for its rich flesh and superb eating qualities. It has a mild to medium flavour of extremely high quality, making it perfect for sashimi, sushi, carpaccio or tartare.
- Bigeye tuna is another highly prized variety, with firm, thick fillets and a mild, meaty flavour. When cooked, its flesh is creamy brown and breaks into large flakes, making it a second to bluefin tuna for its excellent raw qualities.
- Albacore tuna is another great option, with firm, thick fillets and a mild, meaty flavour. It can be found fresh, frozen, or canned and is often served raw as sashimi.
- Ahi tuna is simply the Hawaiian name used to describe yellowfin and bigeye tuna.
For tips on what to look for when buying tuna and how to know that it is fresh, head down to our “Common Questions” section below.
Common Questions and Tips
What Are Caperberries?
- Have you ever tried capers? If yes, then you know their pickley, floral-like flavour. Well, there’s something even better – caper berries!
- They’re the fruit of the caper plant, and their milder flavour makes them perfect for eating raw – just like olives and pickles.
- The best caperberries are grown in the arid climate of Pantelleria, an Italian island near Sicily.
Can I Use Canned Tuna?
- As we are cooking the tuna right through, you can easily swap the fresh tuna for canned tuna in this salad or if you can find those gorgeous tuna flakes even better!
- You will need one large tin of tuna in spring water (425 grams / 15 ounces).
Can Fresh Tuna Salad Be Made Ahead of Time?
- You can grill and flake your tuna two days before and keep it covered in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the salad.
- Wash, trim, cut and blanch the flat beans the days before and keep them covered in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the salad.
- It can be made 2-3 hours in advance and kept chilled in the fridge; just give it a good mix through before serving.
How Do You Choose Fresh Tuna?
- When purchasing yellowfin or bluefin tuna, look for a firm texture and deep, red colour. When selecting albacore, you should be looking for a firm texture, though it will be a paler colour.
- To ensure your tuna steaks don't dry out when grilling or barbecuing, aim for steaks that are at least 4 centimetres / 1½ inches thick.
How Can I Tell if My Tuna is Fresh?
- If your raw tuna looks off-coloured, usually milky or with shades of brown, it has spoiled, and you should toss it in the trash.
- On top of that, it shouldn't smell fishy at all - a faint aroma is fine, but nothing more than that; it should just smell like saltwater.
- This Italian Tuna Salad is great for keto, low-carb eaters; it is gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free. You will need to check the labels on your olives and caperberries to ensure they are paleo and whole30 compliant.
- Each serving contains 452 calories with a net carb count of seven grams.
- 450 grams fresh tuna steaks (2 tuna steaks, approximately 16 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- 400 grams flat beans (approximately 2 cups, 14.11 ounces)
- 250 grams Mini Roma tomatoes (approximately 1 cup, 8.82 ounces)
- ½ cup small basil leaves chopped
- ⅓ cup pitted black olives chopped
- ⅓ cup caper berries stems removed
- ⅓ cup olive oil extra virgin
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice fresh
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil chopped
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon oregano dried Greek *
- 2 sprigs large basil leaves
- 1-2 tablespoons caper berries
- Place the tuna a steaks in a bowl with the marinade ingredients, and let stand.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
- Wash the beans, top, tail and string them, them then cut them on the diagonal in 2.5cm pieces.
- Place the flat beans into the boiling water and cook for approximately 4-5 minutes (they should be cooked al dente).
- While the beans are cooking, fill a large bowl with ice water
- Drain the beans in a colander and submerge in the ice water so they retain their colour, the drain well and pat dry.
- Heat a non-stick frypan on medium-high heat.
- Add the tuna steaks with the oil to the frypan. and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. This will depend on how thick the tuna steaks are and how well done you like them. If you like them raw in the middle then 1 minute each side should be more than enough.
- Look at the side of the tuna to see how far through it is cooked, but remember it will keep cooking for a short while when taken off the heat.
- Remove from the heat and allow to rest.
- Wash your mini Roma tomatoes, pat them dry and slice them in half.
- Wash the parsley, pat dry, cut off the stems and roughly chop.
- Wash the small basil, pat dry and remove the leaves from the stems, if you are using large basil then wash the leaves, and cut them into chiffonade ribbons.
- Drain and rinse the caper-berries and remove the stems,
- Drain and rinse the pitted olives, and finely chop.
- Place all your dressing ingredients in a glass jar, season and shake until emulsified.
- Flake the tuna and place in a large mixing bowl with all of the prepared ingredients.
- Season your salad, pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently until well combined.
- Taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.
- Arrange the salad in a large salad bowl, place the caper berries and basil leaves on top to garnish.
- Serve and Enjoy!
- It is well worth the effort to make a trip to your Greek deli and buy a bag of dried Greek oregano, the taste is incomparable to what you find in your supermarket.