Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mediterrannean Tuna Salad with Rosemary and Lemon

I woke up on this Sunday morning with the light of the summer sun pushing its way though my bedroom curtains, almost as if it was calling for me to get up and seize the day.

Out of my comfortable bed and into the shower I go.

Summer is my favorite time of year. I’m an outdoors girl, and I’m at my best when out amongst nature. This morning, I decided to hike to the top of a local spot not too far from my home in the San Fernando Valley. The sweetness of native flowers and the clean smells of grass calm my mind and soul. At the top, I climb a few large boulders that overlook the valley below. Everything is so quiet from up here, and I can hear myself think. It’s a great way to start the day.

Sundays for me are usually reserved for errands. After my hike, I visit the Hollywood farmers market for local organic fruits and veggies, and maybe a filet of salmon or grass-fed beef depending on the menu I’ve planned. I love coming here for the large variety of produce and to people watch and enjoy the street performers that provide music while I shop. Then it’s back home to my kitchen, preparing my gluten free lunches and snacks for the week ahead. Later on in the day I might enjoy a leisurely book on my patio with a cold glass of herbal iced tea or lemonade, or watch a movie sprawled out on the couch.

When I came home from the farmers market late this morning, it began to rain. Unexpected and a bit strange for an 80-degree day. It was one of those brief summer storms that don’t happen often in California. It only lasted for a few minutes, but the smell of fresh rain through my window on a warm summer day added to the relaxed feeling I have while working in my kitchen.

Using an oven isn't very appealing during hot summer days, especially in my small apartment. During the summer months we tend to opt for salads and lighter meal options, and meals I don't have to cook are much more appealing due to less work and time. I've been trying to consume more Omega 3 oils lately, so this week I decided to make a tuna salad. I've been bored with the usual mayo-based tuna salad, so I found a Mediterranean version to inspire me, which is healthier and lighter. Instead of mayonnaise, I used a base of olive oil, lemon juice and zest, fresh rosemary, salt and pepper. The lemon zest and juice along with the rosemary are a great way to add some flavor without adding unnecessary fat and sugar that many salad dressings contain.

The parsley contributes a clean, green taste that perfectly compliments the tart, sunny taste of the lemon. It lingers on my tongue, and always put a smile on my face. Fresh, light and flavorful.

I hope you enjoy this salad and the summer as much as I do.

I decided I couldn’t wait for lunch tomorrow, and filled up my bowl with yummy goodness.

Mediterranean Tuna Salad

I prefer to use all local, organic produce. Support your local farmers!

1 4-5oz tuna steak or can of albacore tuna (I used a 5 oz can of Wild Planet tuna)
1 15oz can cannellini or garbanzo beans
1 small bunch of  haricots verts, blanched and chilled
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
1/2 bell pepper (I used green, but I prefer red or yellow)
2-3 T chopped flat leaf parsley 
1 T finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 T virgin olive oil
1 T dijon mustard
1 clove garlic
juice and zest of 1 lemon
coarsely ground fresh pepper
sea salt to taste

Health Benefits
Cannellini beans provide fiber, and have twice as much iron as beef. They also include molybdenum, which helps the body create detoxifying enzymes that can prevent headaches. Olive oil contains high amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids, which helps control bad cholesterol (LDL) and raises the good cholesterol (HDL.)

Enjoy salad chilled in a bowl. Makes 2-3 servings. 

I submitted this on the Food Renegade site for Fight Back Friday. Check it out!

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