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Monday, March 5, 2012

Tuna Bean Salad

I don't like canned tuna.  It's one of those foods, like "potted meat" and pickled eggs, that just creep me out.  I do, however, LOVE a few recipes that use canned tuna.  This is one of them.

It's a shop-ahead recipe at heart...a can of corn, a can of beans, 2 cans of tuna, salad dressing and some cheese.  All live happily in the pantry or freezer for several months.  Fresh onions/scallions are optional if you're planning this as a "rescue" meal (you know those nights, when all other plans have fallen through and you just need *something* for dinner without going to the store or carrying in).  It's also a great meal to plan on nights when you don't know for sure that dinner at home will happen...if it doesn't, your ingredients will keep and not go to waste.

It's also a make-ahead recipe...in fact, it tastes better after blending overnight (and therefore is delicious as leftovers).  If you want to serve it immediately, you can do that too, and it takes about 5 minutes to put together.  This is also pretty inexpensive at less than $1 per serving for the filling when I buy the ingredients at normal grocery store prices and even cheaper when you strike good sales on canned goods or cheese.

I usually serve it as a sandwich, but you could also use it as a stuffed veggie filling...whole tomatoes, cucumber "boats", well-steamed eggplant halves, boiled whole onions or lightly steamed zucchini halves.  Hollow out the veggies (after cooking, if they need cooked) with a spoon and fill with the salad.  If you are low-carbing, you could substitute 1/2 cup of edamame (frozen, for shop-ahead planning) for the can of corn.  And thanks to the increasing availability of low-sodium or no-salt-added products, a meal made of canned goods doesn't need to carry a huge sodium tab.

Tuna Bean Salad
Makes 6 servings

2 4 oz. cans light tuna, drained
1 8 oz. can corn, drained
1 15 oz. can beans (whatever type you prefer), drained
1 cup shredded cheese (whatever type you prefer)
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped onion or scallions (optional)
To serve: 6 rolls, 6english muffins, 6whole tomatoes, OR 6 other scooped-out lightly cooked veggies

Combine all ingredients.  Fridge overnight or serve immediately.  Spoon onto rolls or into veggies to serve.

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