Farro Tuna White Bean Salad
Summertime and the living is…lazy. Blame it on an abundance of hot, not humid days and cool moonlit nights. I’ve been in the mood to keep life easy, spending many afternoons soaking up sun on my favorite patch of sand: a summer read in my lap (Bossypants, by Tina Fey, is my latest diversion) and pop tunes blasting on my headphones. What I’m not in the mood to do is spend a lot of time in my kitchen. A bit of a dilemma if you happen to be a food blogger like me. The trick then becomes to prepare a delicious meal with as little effort as possible. Enter this lemony, bright salad of earthy farro, Italian tuna and creamy white beans, which is as good for you as it is delicious to eat. Best part? It’s easy to throw together with almost no cooking involved. I think I’ll pack some up for the beach tomorrow.
Packed with fiber, protein and flavor, this salad is immensely gratifying. In the time it takes to simmer the farro, you can prep all the other components and have them ready to toss. Italian tuna, packed in a jar with olive oil, is the luxurious star of this dish. You can substitute canned tuna, but make sure it’s packed in olive oil too because that oil will be key to the dressing here. I use cannelini beans out of the can and add thin slices of celery and red onion for crunch. Italian parsley and lots of fresh lemon juice round out the flavor profile—this is one of those salads that gets better as it sits.
Farro is one of my favorite grains: I love its nutty flavor and meaty bite. When buying farro, be sure to choose the semi-pearled variety which will cook quickly and require no soaking. In a saucepan, combine farro with water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to cook at a simmer, covered for 20 minutes.
While the farro cooks, prep the other ingredients. Drain the tuna from its jar, reserving the oil, and flake the fish. Drain the beans and rinse; thinly slice celery and red onion; mince the parsley.
When the farro is cooked, drain and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the juice of one lemon while it’s warm to absorb the flavor.
Add beans, celery, onions, flaked tuna and minced parsley to the farro. Gently toss.
Dress the salad with the reserved tuna oil and add more lemon juice to taste, if needed. If the salad is a little dry, add extra virgin olive oil. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve.
1 cup semi-pearled farro
3 cups water
1 15 ounce can white beans, preferably cannellini
1 6.7 ounce jar Italian tuna fillets, packed in olive oil
2 celery stalks
1 small red onion
1 small bunch parsley
1 1/2 – 2 lemons
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper