Surplus Supper: Odds and ends tuna salad from Marcia Barrington

5 June 2020

For this week’s surplus supper we welcome back chef, food writer and creative Marcia Barrington, who shows us how to make a tasty and nutritious tuna salad using whatever veg you have left around the kitchen.

It's full of flavour, and perfect for a lockdown lunch or a light and easy dinner.

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Cannellini bean and tuna salad
Serves 2-4

100g dried cannellini beans soaked in water overnight
Or use 2 tins of beans, drained.
½ red onion, thinly sliced
Half a small lemon
1 small fennel halved through the stems from top to bottom, sliced thinly
A few sticks of celery with their leaves, chopped
1 small tin of tuna
Handful of dark olives (optional)
Any herbs from the fridge, chopped
Crunchy salt
2tsp olive oil


120ml olive oil
Juice 1 small lemon + zest
Squeeze of honey
1 peeled garlic clove
Crunchy salt and black pepper

Make this super-easy salad with whatever crunchy veg you have to hand. I used fennel, celery and red onion but you could add cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes and whatever herbs you have lurking in the salad drawer. You can also use sliced spring onions instead of red onion, or a handful of chives from the garden.

Whatever vegetables you pick, just make sure you have enough dressing. Beans need a lot of flavour. I cobbled together a quick, lemon-honey dressing but do swap the honey for a heaped teaspoon of wholegrain mustard if you like a sharper taste.

Method: If using dried beans soak them overnight in a bowl of water. Transfer the beans with the water to a pan, bring to a boil then simmer for about 40 minutes or until just cooked. When soft enough, drain the beans and transfer them to a serving bowl or platter. Season with crunchy salt and a little black pepper and drizzle with 2tsp olive oil. Warm beans will soak up all the dressing you give them.

In a small bowl squeeze the juice of a small lemon over the sliced red onion.

To make the dressing, mix together the olive oil, garlic clove, lemon juice, lemon zest and honey. Season with salt and a little black pepper. Whisk together.

Tip. Pop all the dressing ingredients into a glass jar with a lid. Shake it like you hate it. Use what you need, then store any leftovers in the jar in the fridge.

Gently mix the beans with the sliced fennel, celery and any soft herbs. Scatter over the olives and drizzle half of the dressing. Season everything again with a little salt and pepper.

Last of all, top the beans with the flaked tuna, the lemony-pink onions and more dressing.