Fagioli, tonno e cipolle – bean, tuna and onion salad

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This basic, rustic antipasto can be easily made with left over cooked shell beans. Although white cannellini or borlotti (cranberry) beans are traditionally used, any good quality white, red or brown shell bean will do. This hearty dish is also my favorite summer luncheon dish.

  • *2 C. dried white cannellini or borlotti beans
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled, halved
  • optional: 1 sprig of sage
  • kosher or sea salt
  • 1 med. red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 -- 7oz. can tuna fish, light Italian packed in OO
  • fresh tomatoes
  • 1/4 C. OO
  • lemon wedges


Soak the beans overnight in water to cover. Rinse the beans and place them in a sauce pan covered with about 10 cups of cold water, 1 T. coarse salt, garlic and sage. Bring to a boil, then immediately turn down to a simmer, cooking until soft and tender. Allow the beans to cool in their cooking liquid. Drain the beans and transfer to a serving dish.

Slice the red onion and soak in cold water for about 30 min. to remove the bitter flavors. Break the tuna into large bite-size pieces.

Arrange the tuna in the center of the beans and the onion slices on top of the beans. Cut the tomatoes into wedges and place around the edge of the platter. Drizzle with OO, season with S & P. Serve with lemon wedges.

* When in the neighborhood, check with Alba Produce for fresh borlotti beans. Shell, rinse and cook as above. They will cook in about 20 min. Fresh beans are very sweet in flavor.