Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Tuna and Cannellini Bean Salad

Despite my constant derision of my husband for being fussy, I must confess that I too am a creature of habit.  Especially when it comes to lunch in the working week.  Years ago, when I was working in London, I'd eat the same Boots Shapers bacon and mushroom pasta five days a week.  When they stopped making it, I switched to peanut butter and banana sandwiches.  

I moved jobs.  We alternated between two sandwich shops.  Despite the huge selection, I would always have Coronation Chicken from one shop and a toasted Spinach Fiorentina Ciabatta from the other.  Another job change (and an impending wedding) saw lunch became jacket potatoes with tuna and a pile of cucumber on the side.  Something I generally stick to at my current job too.

Lots of healthiness
But now, I've been seconded to one of our other sites, I'm in crisis.  They don't have a canteen.  It's in the back end of beyond, with the only hint of civilisation being the family of ducks that inhabit the litle pond outside the front door.

Up until now, I've stuck to buying my lunch because with a full time job, a toddler and having to cook three different dinners and pack two other lunches on a daily basis, I really can't be faffed to make my own lunch once all that's out of the way.  So, my options are to cadge a lift to the local bakery and buy some overpriced, tasteless sandwich and resist their tempting sausage rolls and cakes (tried this once, never again) or to drive to the local motorway services and pay for an overpriced tasteless sandwich from Costa - but get a decent coffee whilst I'm at it.  Or make my own lunch.

Hmmm…  Well in the spirit of trying new things, I had a leaf through some recipe books this morning and found a recipe in the 'Diabetes Cookbook' by Bridget Jones (no, not 'The Bridget Jones') which fitted the bill.  My mum bought me this book as the hubby has Type 2 Diabetes but I would have an uphill battle to get him to eat anything out of it other than what's in the cake section.  But it's got some lovely, healthy recipes in it that fit right in with dieting.

Ready for work. Ate the rest straight from the bowl!
I've adapted it a little as it has tomatoes in it and as you may well know from my missive about Chilli Jam from Sunday, I have issues with tomato innards.  So I plumped for sun-dried tomatoes instead.  

Although it was originally intended for tomorrow and Thursday's lunch, I ended up scoffing the second portion for tea tonight.  Have a feeling this will be my regular lunch now while I'm on secondment.  Unless anyone starts a regular Costa run….

Recipe - serves 2
  • 1 can tuna chunks in brine, drained (I used this to keep the calorie and fat content down)
  • 50g sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained and roughly chopped
  • 400g  tin of cannellini beans, drained
  • 75g fine green beans, trimmed
  • 1/2 red onion, finely sliced

For the dressing
  • 1 dsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 dsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • juice of half a lemon (I used lime, but found it a bit too sweet in the end)
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Lightly cook the green beans in boiling salted water until tender (approx five minutes).  Cool under running water to help retain their colour.
  2. Whisk the ingredients for the dressing together in a small bowl.  Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
  3. Combine all the salad ingredients with the dressing and serve.

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