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Mediterranean Tuna Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette ~ quick – what do you think of when you hear the words ‘tuna salad’?  Probably a soggy lunchbox sandwich, right?  This gorgeous salad is going to change your mind, guaranteed!

Healthy Mediterranean Tuna Salad

*This post is sponsored by Genova Seafood ~ thank you for supporting me and my brand sponsors, I promise to bring you only the very best!

It’s so hard to shed old food prejudices, some of them stick with us for a lifetime, but luckily, we have to power to adapt.

I’m certainly glad I figured out that coffee doesn’t actually taste like mud, and whiskey is sooooo much better than I thought when I took my first sip as a teenager.  Today I’m teaming up with Genova Seafood to convince you that canned tuna packed in olive oil can be the star of a healthy and elegant Mediterranean diet.  The diet spans a huge range of cuisines and cultures, from North Africa and the Middle East, to Greece, Turkey and Spain.  The through line is an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, fish, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats — it’s a sunny fresh way of eating, and definitely the way we roll here at TVFGI.

a gloriously healthy Meditarranean Tuna and bean salad

Tuna, canned tuna, is one of the stars of the diet with its heart healthy omega-3s.  And I don’t know if you’ve read about the new Blue Zone’s longevity study, but a research team has made an exhaustive survey of certain pockets of longevity – ‘blue zones’ – around the planet, where populations live longer and healthier lives than the rest of us…and one of the key findings of the study is that “The cornerstone of every longevity diet in the world is the humble bean.”  My Mediterranean Tuna Salad is packed with them, along with a little bit of watercress, fresh herbs, some ripe tomatoes, and paper thin shavings of radish, crowned with Genova’s premium tuna packed in olive oil.  A piquant tarragon vinaigrette brings it all together into one spectacularly healthy summer meal.

an easy elegant summer meal of olive oil packed tuna and beans with a tarragon vinaigrette

I’m a newcomer to olive oil packed tuna, I’ve been buying the kind in water for years.  What I find so interesting is that, while I expected that this wild caught yellowfin tuna would be a lot moister, it’s actually also less ‘fishy’ than what I’m used to.  It has a mild flavor which is so much more appealing and lends itself to a wide variety of recipes.  There’s no need to drain it, I just lift it right out of the tin and onto my salad.

Genova Premium Yellowfin Tuna

I am a big believer in eating more fish, and I love that I can keep a few cans of this tuna in my cabinet for an easy quick dinner without having to run out to the store for fresh fish.  (Which by the way, isn’t always wild caught, sustainable, and as healthy for us as canned tuna can be.)

olive oil packed tuna salad

You could definitely serve this to a crowd, but my husband and I enjoyed it as a quiet dinner.  Whichever way you go, it begs for a nice glass of wine or two.  For suggestions I consulted blogging friend and vintner Cathy Kaymark Pollak from Noble Pig Winery.  She says “The most important thing when it comes to pairing food and wine is balance…you want to balance the acidity and fat, and that is how you’ll get that magical food/wine pairing when you take a bite.”  For this dish she recommends a full bodied wine like a Pino Noir from the Sonoma Russian River Valley or a slightly sweet white wine to offset the acidity of the dish, like a Rose, Riesling or Pinot Gris/Grigio.   Cathy says “when in doubt, always pair to the sauce or dressing,”  and because of that, the old white wine with fish and red with steak rule is irrelevant.   In this case the acidic vinaigrette dictates a mellow, slightly sweet, wine in your choice of white or red.

tuna and bean salad with tarragon vinaigrette

This is such an effortless meal to put together, and it can absolutely be done several hours ahead of time.  Canned beans work perfectly, but I rinse them extra well to remove any ‘canned’ flavor.  (Be gentle, canned beans are fragile.)  I used garbanzo, cannellini, black, and kidney beans which gives a variety of color and texture.  Really nice thin green beans and small tomatoes add a fresh touch.  I blanch the green beans briefly so they still have some crunch.  Scatter a few paper thin sliced radishes across it all and you’ve got a hearty meal in minutes.

a delicious zesy tarragon vinaigrette

The vinaigrette isn’t an afterthought, it plays a key role in the deliciousness of this platter.  Fresh tarragon can be found along with the other herbs that come in little plastic containers in the produce section.  It has a nice zesty licorice vibe and I use lots of it to get a really assertive flavor.  No dried herbs, only fresh!

Mediterranean Tuna Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette

Yield: serves 2 generously

Mediterranean Tuna Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette


  • 1 5-oz can of Genova Yellowfin Tuna, packed in olive oil
  • a handful of watercress, rinsed and dried
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, well rinsed
  • 1/2 cup canned cannellini beans, well rinsed
  • 1/2 cup canned garbanzo beans, well rinsed
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, well rinsed
  • 1/2 cup red kidney beans, canned, well rinsed
  • large handful of fresh green beans
  • 3 or 4 radishes, sliced paper thin (I used a mandolin slicer)
  • about 10 cherry tomatoes
  • several basil leaves
  • fresh thyme sprigs
  • fresh tarragon sprigs
  • lemon wedges
    tarragon vinaigrette
  • 2 Tablespoons (a fistful) fresh tarragon
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp champagne vinegar (or other mild white vinegar)
  • 1 tsp grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper


  1. Drop the green beans in a pot of boiling water and let blanch for a minute or two, depending on the size of your beans. You want them to be bright green and just starting to get tender. Fresh beans cook up very quickly. Drain them and immediately immerse them in a bowl of ice water. Let sit until cold, then drain and pat dry,
  2. Choose a plate or platter large enough so that each element of the salad has a spot of its own and arrange the canned beans in sections around the outside of your plate.
  3. Put a small mound of watercress in the center and top the the tuna. Remove it from the can carefully, trying not to break it up too much.
  4. Arrange the tomato halves and green beans on the plate. Scatter the radishes and fresh herbs across everything. Tuck in the lemon wedges and maybe a sprig or two of tarragon.
  5. Just before serving, drizzle liberally with the vinaigrette.
  6. To make the vinaigrette, remove any thick stems from the tarragon and place it in a small food processor. Pulse to finely chop it, scraping down the sides of the machine as necessary.
  7. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and puree. Taste the dressing and adjust any of the elements to your liking.

Mediterranean inspired tuna and bean salad with zesty tarragon vinaigrette

You can use Genova’s store locator, here, to see where you can buy the tuna in your area.  Here is a link to a $1 off coupon, as well.

*Note: Contest has ended

Genova is generously giving away a beautiful Mediterranean gift basket (a $200 value) full of inspirational tools for creating your own Mediterranean feast, including lots of Genova premium yellowfin tuna.

To enter, just leave a comment below and let me know your favorite way to use tuna.  Good luck!

Genova Seafood mediterranean gift basket

You’ll get the beautifully illustrated hardbound Mediterranean Cooking by Pamela Clark, an Olivewood Serving Board from Sur La Table, lots of premium Genova Yellowfin Tuna packed in olive oil, a bottle of Pinot Noir, and lots of other goodies like artichoke hearts, pesto, cheese and crackers, etc.

The winner will be chosen at random on Friday June 19th


*You must be 21 or over and living in the continental US to enter.  This post is in association with Genova Seafood.  All opinions are emphatically my own.

 ***The winner of the Mediterranean gift basket is Terry Parks — congratulations Terry!

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103 Responses to Mediterranean Tuna Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette

  1. Cheryl K says:

    That looks beautiful! I just looked up where I can purchase Genova tuna…it’s at two markets close to my home! I have some of the beans but will get the rest of the ingredients and enjoy this for lunch or dinner!

    • Sue says:

      Oh good Cheryl, let me know what you think of Genova, I’m continuing to work with them in ’17, so more tuna inspiration coming :)

  2. Becky says:

    I’ll be making this today to take to a pot-luck. It looks delicious! Growing up we always had the basic tuna pasta salad with mayo and peas . . . basic, but still good!

  3. Sue battige says:

    I love creamed tuna on toast. Can add peas to this also. Very delicious on a cool day or during lent.

  4. I love all the colors! So bright and inviting! I also love having tuna on hand in the pantry, but have always gotten the packed-in-water kind (I always thought if I wanted oil, I could add it myself). I didn’t realize the packed in oil kind has a milder taste! I’ll have to give it a try, now. :)

  5. Wow, Sue, I saw this on the BuzzFeed round-up and had to see more of this gorgeous dish. Your photography never fails to blow me away. You are the best person to convince the rest of the world that healthy eating rocks!

  6. Sandy Headtke says:

    Growingup my favorite was always tuna salad sandwich on white toast with lots of iceberg. Now I skip the toast and have lettuce wraps, just as tasty.

  7. Evelyn Finney says:

    My favorite way to use tuna is a Tuna Lettuce Wrap with Capers and Tomatoes. I think this is a recipe you shared. The capers give a nice little bite.

  8. What a lovely salad! You are a true artist.

  9. Susan says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever had canned yellow fin tuna! Your salad looks delicious and a most beautiful way to serve this special tuna. The dressing also sounds wonderful.

  10. Susanlynn says:

    Can’t wait to make this!!! Looks yummy!!

  11. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    This salad is a showstopper! The colors are gorgeous and the ingredients are crazy delicious! I actually really LOVE canned tuna so this salad is 100% made for me.

  12. Donna Elick says:

    What a gorgeous salad Sue! Makes me hungry for some good tuna. And that dressing? WOW

  13. Ann says:

    This salad reminds me of one I can no longer get. Need to make it soon!!

  14. Mary Kusiek says:

    Two of my favorite beans, cannellini and black.

  15. Donna Worth says:

    My favorite way to use tuna is in salade nicoise, but I’ve never tried it with oli-packed tuna. I can’t wait to try this wonderful composed salad – looks delicious!

  16. Lily Yee says:

    This is a gorgeous salad — beautifully plated, wonderful photography. I’ve never tried tuna packed in olive oil. This makes me want to have this salad for lunch today!

  17. Rosie says:

    My favorite way to use it is to get a picnic basket together. Roast red & green peppers and put them in oil, get good cheese and the tuna. Get some organic juices. Then on our way to the countryside, pick up some loaves of Italian bread, still hot from the bakery ovens. All soo good!!!

  18. MaryKay Lawrence says:

    I love this tuna. I can get it at my local Trader Joe’s. It is our go to for a quick and easy dinner. Anything from creamed tuna on toast to a great tuna salad and beyond. Your salad is so beautiful and will be on our menu soon.

  19. I REALLY need to eat more seafood! And I JUST discovered tarragon and how delicious it is….I could pour this dressing on my face! I bet it’s amazing over this gorgeous salad goodness! Pinned!

  20. Oh my gosh!!! All my favorite things and everyone if them in my pantry just waiting for this moment. The tarragon is growing in my garden fresh baby lettuces, kale and arugula are there along with grape tomatoes fresh green onions I’ve even got green and wax beans! This salad will cost nothing just picked some radish and peppers last night. Sue you have out done yourself with this one, my only add on would be dome grilled Greek flat bread along side. Thank you thank you a perfect alfresco dinner!!!!!!

  21. Kate says:

    I’ve only tried olive oil packed tuna once. It was fantastic! I had it in a composed salad. Would love to try this brand.
    Your ideas are never ending, your photography always beautiful and your recipes I’ve tried have never disappointed.
    Your blog amazes me :-)

  22. Lizzy says:

    Composed salads – like this gorgeous one – are my favorite way to eat tuna! I can’t wait to make this next week! I could eat salads like this every day. I’m really excited to try tarragon vinaigrette, too!

  23. Christine says:

    The salad is stunning. My favorite way to enjoy tuna is a toss-up between my Mom’s tuna macaroni salad (she always used Le Sueur petite peas) and a tuna melt. Decisions, decisions. Both are so delicious.

  24. I almost always use olive-packed tuna in salads like this (impossible to make an authentic Salade Nicoise without it, and your salad resembles that). In fact I sometimes use the Genova brand — it’s good stuff. Really terrific looking salad — thanks so much.

  25. Sylvia says:

    Italian tuna salad! With tomatoes, pasta, fresh herbs and olive oil packed tuna.

  26. Elizabeth Knowlton says:

    It looks fantastic!

  27. This takes tuna salad to a whole new level! It’s gorgeous!

  28. Christine says:

    Pasta Puttanesca is my favorite! Or a salad of white beans, celery, tuna and vinaigrette–crunchy, creamy, and savory all at once.Love the tarragon dressing–making it today!

  29. Katie says:

    i love tuna on fresh sliced tomatoes topped with a little basil and olive oil. Will definitely look for this tuna packed in olive oil! Thanks for sharing!

  30. Karen says:

    Nicoise Salad with fresh green beans and tiny new potatoes out of my garden! A can of Genova tuna in oil and your tarragon dressing would make it perfect!

  31. This salad is gorgeous Sue. I’m not familiar with Genova but will certainly seek them out. I too have typically used tuna in water but this sounds so much better.

  32. suzy says:

    I think this will be my new favorite way to use tuna What do you do with the extra canned beans? Double the recipe maybe?

    • suzy says:

      I must add I’ve been stuck in a shopping rut. Costco/trader joe’s for years, I’m not familiar with the Genova brand or tuna packed in olive oil. Thanks, I’m putting this on my list of must trys.

      • Shelley says:

        Actually, this is exactly what I think of when the word tuna salad is mentioned. It is so easy to put together a meal using tuna packed in olive oil and it has become one of my favorite staples for a quick lunch or dinner.

  33. I love tinned tuna and what a colourful Mediterranean plate you have created it looks wonderful. And that lovely dressing makes it perfect.

  34. Susy Slais says:

    Love that tuna salad Sue! Salad is actually one of my favorite ways of eating tuna, along with a tuna souffle that my mother used to prepare, and tuna sandwiches (tuna with mayo and chopped celery). :)

  35. Paula Michalowski says:

    Tuna melt with Swiss on Rye. When we were kids my mom made Tuna Casserole at least twice a month sometimes more. That was my fave then. But this looks wonderful! I never thought of using canned tuna in salad, I always used fresh tuna. We like beans too so this will perfect for a light dinner. Thank you for posting this.

  36. Terry Parks says:

    Your salad looks great and can’t wait to try it. Reminds me of an antipasto.

    Canned tuna in olive oil, small red onion diced, garlic cloves chopped to make a tuna salad mixture ( you can add your favorites), add Italian breadcrumbs till it all sticks together loosely. Prepare artichokes – remove the thick leaves and trim point on top. push open leaves and drop in tuna salad mixture. Steam about 40 minutes and serve.

    I don’t have an exact recipe…. I just do it as I go along.

  37. If I make this salad will I suddenly find myself dining alfresco beside the Mediterranean?! I sure hope so ;). Gorgeous!

  38. Neale Dunn says:

    Our family always enjoyed tuna salads of a similar style. With a Lebanese father and British/Italian Mother,our salad was tossed garden vegetables and the dressing consisted of fresh lemon,chopped or dried mint, oil, a bit of garlic and s&p. Over the years, the quality and flavor of canned tuna chan!ged and I found I could eat it less and less. When it was recommended that I try Genova,I was amazed to find myself enjoying the long forgotten flavor and texture! I am so happy I tried it and tuna is once again a favorite pick in my pantry. I am never without Genova tuna. Your version of a mediterranean tuna is simply delicious and a new favorite at home.

  39. Nancie says:

    Tuna i a favorite in our house. it’s so versatile! My husbands favorite is old fashioned tuna and noodle casserole. I go for the tuna melt! Yum! The Mediterranean salad looks scrumptious. We’ll be trying this one for sure. Pinned it!

  40. Savvy says:

    Have everything here but green beans,so my salad will have asparagus instead. My usual fave is tuna with balsamic and dash of olive oil, sliced dill pickles, then topped with cheese and just seconds under the broiler. Since it’s in the 90’s, your COOL combo wins for dinner!! thanks for having giveaway- healthy summer ahead!

  41. Catherine says:

    Dear Sue, what a beautiful salad. This is how I like my tuna served…right up my alley. xo, Catherine

  42. Helen Pierce says:

    I like to make a salad with Romaine Lettuce, Camari Tomatoes, Cucumber Sticks, Radish slices, Avocado chunks, and purple Onion pieces, with a dressing of fresh lemon juice, light olive oil, dried Italian herbs, and garlic powder, with Aromat sprinkled over all and mixed. I place the tuna in little piles over the top, wherever it looks attractive. I serve this along with a fresh cheddar biscuit, Doritos, potato chips, or pretzels, with a fruit for dessert. Delicious and filling. (Knorr Swiss Aromat is available at Thanks for the recipe above, and for the contest!!!

  43. Susan says:

    I often use tuna for pasta salad and recently tried a simple tuna & cannellini bean salad which was good, but this recipe looks even better so I’ll have to try this next!

  44. Cheryll says:

    I love a tuna salad sandwich with avocado on ciabatta !

  45. Vicki says:

    This salad is going to be my new favorite-gorgeous looking and mouth watering delish! My now old favorite for tuna was a great tuna melt with aged cheddar and tomatoes on sourdough bread. I would love to win this – what a terrific contest!

  46. Susan says:

    Pardon me if this is posted twice. My first attempt is not showing up.

    I love the way tuna is here but I have another way which is not as healthy but still great. It’s Marcella Hazan’s tuna, butter, & capers whipped into a pâté. It is SO good. :)

  47. Susan says:

    I love to use it just as you have here. I have another way, too, which is not as healthy but it is delicious. It is Marcella Hazan’s tuna + butter + capers whipped into a pâté. It is so good. :)

    Thanks for the chance!

  48. Tara says:

    Yum, tuna! I still love a good old fashioned tuna salad sandwich, especially when made with a touch of ranch dressing. We love a good tuna noodle casserole. And then there’s ahi tuna. I think we’re going to love THIS salad. What a refreshing dinner for a hot summer evening!

  49. Susan says:

    I positively love my tuna salad and it looks like I’d love yours. I just love tuna, even soggy, I guess. Yum.

  50. AJ says:

    Yes, tuna is so very versatile.
    I look forward to trying your variation.
    I like to add a bit of lemon juice, capers, hard boiled eggs and fresh black pepper … With some supercrunchy toast it makes for a tasty lunch.

  51. Cindy Corcoran says:

    I use the Genova tuna with cannelini beans, cherry tomatoes and basil with a vinaigrette. Delish!

  52. Janie says:

    I was just thinking about what to fix for dinner tonight, this will be it! It is so eye appealing!

    • Sue says:

      What’s nice about it, Janie, is that you can think about it at the last minute, and still get it on the table – I hope you enjoy it.

  53. Bonnie Hardman says:

    I have heard that tuna in olive oil is now the classy – and healthy – way to go. My cat Toona (sic) will have to spend the dinner hour locked in his room, otherwise we would have a cat on the table with us.

    I guess I’m old-fashioned – I still love tuna noodle casserole – true comfort food!

  54. Eileen says:

    This salad sounds so good! I love the classic nicoise combination. :) My favorite way to use tuna is usually in a tuna salad too — but mine is usually full of chopped cilantro and sriracha sauce for plenty of spice. So good. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

  55. Tuna Salad was one of my “first culinary” ventures as a teenager. Still love it but my later ventures have improved. The View from Great Island has provided me with many wonderful recipes and ideas. My recipe portfolio is filled with favorites from this blog. Thank you!

  56. Bette says:

    I discovered Genova Tuna in Olive Oil a few years ago when I used it to made the best tuna and tarragon tea sandwiches for a baby shower I was giving. Since then I’ve never used another brand of tuna. The other brands just don’t compare. Actually my favorite way to eat it is on top of a salad very much like your Mediterranean Tuna Salad. It’s great for lunch or dinner! Can’t wait to try your version with the Tarragon Vinaigrette.

  57. KellyGrace says:

    I love a good tuna melt
    Thanks for putting a spotlight on this tuna-will definitely look for it at the store. Gorgeous salad!!

  58. SusanG says:

    Just started using Genova tuna–Wonderful mixed with a little plain yogurt, dijon mustard, minced celery, small amount sweet or dill pickle, fresh ground pepper–on on fresh baby greens or whole grain toast! So healthy!

  59. Renee says:

    I often use canned tuna on salads. It tastes great when broiled in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil and some fresh herbs, just until the edges are lightly browned and crispy. This will definitely enhance your salad experience.

  60. Joanne Rice says:

    Love this type of salad on the patio. Puts a wonderful finish on the end of the day. Of course, t needs a glass of wine, too!

  61. Dana says:

    I love it tossed with a little oil and lemon juice, some veg on toast!

  62. Joanne Rice says:

    Love this type of salad for a quiet dinner on the patio. Puts a wonderful finish on the day!

  63. becki says:

    Absolutely love tuna! Especially love to use it on those hot summer nights and crave something light & refreshing!
    One of my favorite ways to use tuna is in a salad also, using Israeli couscous along with roasted red peppers, capers & olives with lemon juice perfect for a summer entree!

  64. MIKI S. says:

    I like to marinate canned tuna in olive oil and lemon juice with a little salt and pepper. Just put the lemon juice in the microwave for about 30 seconds, then pour over the tuna with the oil and seasonings. Let it sit for a while maybe 15-20 minutes. The tuna has an unbelievably bright flavor and I think I use less salt in the tuna salad because of it!

  65. Val says:

    I was recently introduced to GENOVA tuna and it is delicious. I would love to have this basket. It is very good in a tuna nicoise salad and my most favorite way to eat tuna.

  66. Gayle Eales says:

    I’ve always got the albacore in water but I will definitely try this one it looks so good thank you so much for sharing and I would Lovett get the gift basket!!!

  67. Susan Rees says:

    This looks so colorful and healthy. The dressing sounds like it will pull all of the flavors together. I can’t wait to try it.
    My favorite way to eat tuna is with a mashed avocado, a little cottage cheese, and some garlic salt. Mix up and eat with a fork or on a nice wheat bread or with crackers. So Yummy!

  68. Kay M says:

    I love Genova tuna – it’s the only kind I buy. I love it in salad – mine is a little more basic than yours – I will make yours soon because it looks beautiful and has ingredients that I love – a feast for the eyes before the stomach.

  69. Jo says:

    I had this once as an appetizer at an Italian restaurant and then made them myself: sweet cherry peppers stuffed with tuna, capers a bit of minced anchovies and some olive oil and lemon juice – yum yum!

  70. I’ve always loved tuna salad with hard boiled eggs :) This salad is fantastic Sue – I love everything about it.

  71. ro says:

    I loooove tuna! And my favorite is on a salad. I love the idea of the tarragon vinaigrette, too–I have tarragon in my garden!

  72. June says:

    Love tuna, anyway at all. Beautiful salad !

  73. Beautiful salad, Sue and I’m already a lover of tuna packed in olive oil :) Loving the tarragon vinaigrette, too!

  74. MMM! I love tarragon! This dressing looks heavenly! This salad looks down right amazing!
    Another great post!

  75. Cheryl says:

    THIS will be my new favorite way to use tuna — can’t wait to try it this weekend. It would be a great go-to for last minute guests as almost all ingredients are pantry staples. Thank you for sharing.

  76. Mary says:

    Have always used tuna packed in water. Would be interested in trying the tuna packed in oil.

  77. I love to make tuna salad sandwiches. This salad looks so good. I would like to be able to buy the Genova Tuna in our area.

  78. This looks absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS! I will definitely be looking for this brand of tuna. I’ve been hearing more and more about tuna in olive oil but just haven’t tried it yet. Love the tarragon dressing too. I just don’t have enough recipes with tarragon but whenever I taste it, my imagination takes me to France!

    • Sue says:

      I was going to say the same thing, it feels very European, and I always wonder why i don’t use it more! Thanks for stopping by Chris!

  79. Monique says:

    Is there anything more appetizing than a beautifully arranged colorful fresh salad ?

  80. A fantastic salad with beautiful plating, Sue. I had one very similar a while ago and I loved it.

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