This Tuna Salad recipe with beans and celery is hearty and light


Salad with tuna, celery and white beans

Total time:25 minutes


Total time:25 minutes



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I love restaurants. I love the way they can take you to a different place or make you feel like a different person. I love the way a dish that sounds simple on the menu can surprise. This type of dish inspired today’s recipe for a Tuna, Celery, and Kidney Bean Salad.

I was at about six years ago Una Pizza Napoletana in Lower Manhattan. The menu has changed a lot since then, but they used to have a small selection of appetizers as a snack option while you wait for your pizza. My memory is fuzzy, but I remember thinking I would be amazed by the dish called “Tuna, Celery, Capers.” Maybe I was imagining a raw tuna prep or a mayonnaise-based tuna salad. Maybe I was too excited for the pizza. But when a small plate emerged with thick chunks of oiled tuna, crispy celery, broad kidney beans, and tiny capers, I was pleasantly surprised.

I smelled the lemon first and it gave way to the meatier flavors of beans and tuna. The celery served as a refreshing intermediate, and the parsley added a peppery green background note.

The key ingredient here is more expensive than your average canned tuna. It’s tuna packaged in olive oil, often from Italy or Spain, and can cost $5 to $10 a can or jar. But if you invest in the tuna, you save on extra virgin olive oil because you’re using the oil in the can to flavor the salad.

Celery, kidney beans, capers, lemon, and parsley are all relatively inexpensive, but together they make the tuna special. There are also an endless number of additions you could make: consider adding halved green olives, pickled peppers, diced cucumbers, or quartered cherry tomatoes. Add a touch of sweetness with some chopped raisins and leave out the lemon juice in favor of a spritz of sherry vinegar.

I like to eat this salad in a bowl with a fork, but it also tastes great on crusty bread, over a pile of crunchy leafy greens, or with cooked farro, orzo, or quinoa. Serve it with a glass of Albariño or crisp Kombucha and set the table with the beautiful napkins. It may be September, but this salad captures the feeling of endless summer.

Salad with tuna, celery and white beans

  • Not a tuna eater? >> Swap it out for hot smoked salmon or pulled chicken, or skip it.
  • No more cannellini beans? >> Try it with butter beans, lima beans or peas.
  • No capers? >> Olives would work, as would chopped pickled grapes or green dilly beans.

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  • 4 to 6 celery stalks, preferably the heart and leaves, chopped
  • 1 (15 ounce) can or 1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons), plus more to taste
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped or finely grated
  • fine salt
  • 1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley (about 1/2 ounce), chopped
  • 1 (6- to 8-ounce) jar or can Tuna in Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons capers in brine
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Calabrian Chili Oil (optional)

In a medium bowl, toss together the celery, beans, lemon juice, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Stir and taste, adding more salt if necessary. Stir in the parsley, tuna and its oil and capers. Taste and season with more lemon juice or salt, if desired. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and a few drops of chili oil, if using. Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Calories: 163; total fat: 5 g; Saturated fat: 0 g; cholesterol: 19 mg; Sodium: 859 mg; carbohydrates: 16 g; dietary fiber: 8 g; sugar: 1 g; Protein: 14 g.

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a nutritionist or nutritionist.

By staff writer G. Daniela Galarza.

Tested by Kara Elder; email questions [email protected].

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Check out this week’s Eat Voraciously Recipes:

Monday: Chilled Creamy Zucchini Soup with Tarragon

Wednesday: Cantaloupe ceviche

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