Tracy’s Take: Tuscan White Bean & Quinoa Salad

RF’s dad is staying with us for awhile, so we’re trying to be better about cooking at home. He’s a terrific sport, but I know that he doesn’t have quite the same global tastes that we do. So, we’re doing our best to balance every dinner of gyros, chilaquiles, or saag paneer with something a little more…American. Alas, I can only tolerate grilled chicken, or made with grilled chicken, so many nights in a row.

I’ve been on the hunt for new recipes to try; which, of course, means that I’m hitting up Pinterest…a lot. I came across a recipe that I had pinned awhile back: Tuscan White Bean & Quinoa Salad. Well, if you know me, I just can’t seem to leave recipes well enough alone. AND, I love a one-pot meal. This seemed perfect for attacking from both directions. Hence, the creation of…drum roll, please…Tracy’s Wild Rice, White Bean & Tuna Salad.

Not that the original recipe wouldn’t have been hearty and delicious on its own. I’m certain it’s delicious, and I will likely make it just as its written another time. Not today. Today, I played. Though not far off from the original recipe, these are the ingredients I used:

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Dish:

  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice (not shown – I chose Lundberg Sprouted Tri-Color Blend)
  • 2 cans chunk light tuna (I would normally use albacore, but this is what I had)
  • 1 container white beans
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • ¼ cup sweet red pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped fine

Dressing:

  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoons of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of pepper

Garnish:

  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • balsamic reduction

While the rice cooked, I chopped the tomatoes, red peppers, red onion, and basil.

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Rinsed the beans thoroughly and let the water drain while I mixed the dressing.

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Such a simple vinaigrette, but fresh lemon gives it a nice tartness. The original recipe suggested using a small blender to mix. So not necessary! This is a small amount of dressing – it needs nothing more than a good shake. I annoy RF by holding onto little jars like this one, but they really come in handy for making/shaking dressing! Mmm…look at the lemony goodness.

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Once the rice was cooked, I added the tuna and gave it a good mix. I stirred in half of the dressing to help it absorb into the base. Then, I tossed everything else – tomatoes, peppers, onion, basil, beans, and remaining dressing – right on top and stirred…

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…creating a big delicious mishmash! So tasty, but not quite done.

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When we were in Spain, one of my favorite things was that almost every restaurant had olive oil and a squeezy container of balsamic reduction on the table. I LOVE balsamic. So, I put it on just about everything! When we got back, I ordered a couple of bottles, trying to find a good one, and have finally settled on Roland. It’s fantastic with caprese.IMG_8477

And, on this dish! I topped each serving with an extra dash of salt and pepper, plus a few extra shreds of basil, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Loved. It.

I served it sort of medium warm off the stove, which RF and I were happy with. RFSr popped his in the microwave for a little more warmth. I suspect I’ll like the leftovers straight from the fridge just as well. In fact, it’s a perfect dish for work lunches. The moral is: don’t be afraid to mess with recipes! Playing with your food is good from time to time.

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