Canned tuna is the second most popular seafood product in the United States after shrimp. Most kids who, more often than not, turn up their noses at fresh fish, will happily eat a tuna fish sandwich. Perhaps they feel it’s less fishy because it comes out of a can. Or, possibly more likely, children like it because, once mixed with mayonnaise, chopped celery and seasonings, any taste of fish is masked to become almost invisible.
Canned tuna is much less expensive than the fresh version and, once canned, retains all the nutritional value as well as the convenience of a long shelf-life. Although you can’t barbecue canned tuna, there are times when we are in a rush, without the time to fire up the outdoor grill, and need an easy, nutritious recipe, like this one, to quickly get a tasty meal on the table.
All the ingredients in this Italian-style dish have some type of phytochemicals that provide health-protective benefits. They also offer great taste, color and texture. From the cannelini beans’ protein to the dried pepper flakes’ anti-inflammatory properties, this entrée packs everything from fiber to flavor.
As the recipe indicates, it’s important to rinse the canned or bottled sun-dried tomatoes as well as the capers to cut down on the sodium that has been added as a preservative. High sodium consumption is linked to many Americans’ problem with high blood pressure.
Easy to assemble, colorful and healthy, this is a lunch or dinner dish even your kids will enjoy.
Pronto Tuna with Pasta, Italian Style
-Makes 6 servings.
- 4 oz. whole-wheat spiral pasta, such as fusilli or rotini
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 large onion, preferably red, chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 cup fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 12 bottled or canned sun-dried tomato halves, drained and minced
- 1 tsp. dried oregano, or to taste
- Pinch of dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 can (15 oz.) cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (6 oz.) light tuna (preferably packed in water), well drained
- 1 Tbsp. small capers, rinsed and drained
- Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- Minced flat-leaf parsley leaves (optional)
Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.
Meanwhile, heat half the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion, stirring often, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 2 minutes, taking care as garlic can quickly burn. Transfer mixture to a small bowl and set aside. Mix in both types of tomatoes. Add oregano and pepper flakes to taste.
Add remaining oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add the beans, tuna and capers and cook, breaking up the tuna, until mixture is completely heated through. Mix in both types of tomatoes and the onion/garlic mixture. Cook, stirring often, until completed heated through. Add the cooked pasta and heat through, tossing to mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve garnished with parsley.
Per serving: 214 calories, 5 g. total fat (les than 1 g. saturated fat), 29 g. carbohydrate, 14 g. protein, 5 g. dietary fiber, 355 mg. sodium.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results.