Jul 7, 2014

Italian Tuna and Brown Rice Salad (Riso e Tonno)


Perfect to make ahead for an easy, healthy lunch for the week!

Using two basic pantry items—tuna and brown rice – plus capers, good quality chopped olives, frozen mixed vegetables and fresh lemon juice, you can create this easy, make-ahead, healthy salad loaded with flavor and perfect to pack for lunch or a picnic!

As a test, I left one refrigerated in a jar overnight to take to the beach. The next day I had it for lunch and thought it tasted even better as the flavors had a chance to meld.


This was inspired by an imported can of Rio Mare Italian Riso e Tonno someone brought back from Italy. The flavors were SO good, I wanted more so I set out to replicate the same exact flavor using brown rice instead.

Believe it or not, it took me a few attempts to get it JUST right. Here's what I did – first attempt I used plain canned albacore tuna packed in water with canned black olives and all the other ingredients listed below – it was pretty dry and lacked the flavor I was trying to match. I went back to the store and picked up some canned Italian tuna packed in olive oil (I was adding oil to the salad anyway) and good quality olives. Tonno Genova was the brand of tuna I bought, it's a little pricier than regular tuna but not by much. Each can cost me three dollars and was available in my local supermarket. I believe it's also available in Costco and Walmart, you can also buy it by the case on Amazon. Amazing the difference it makes in flavor and it wasn't dry at all. I drained the tuna really well and reserved some of the olive oil to add to my salad – winner!

So for those of you who are going to ask me can you use canned tuna packed in water or canned black olives – the answer is yes, but it won't taste as good as my final recipe. Up to you!



Italian Tuna and Rice Salad
Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 4 • Size: 1 cup • Old Points: 3 • Weight Watchers Points+: 4 pt
Calories: 157.5 • Fat: 5.5 g • Protein: 10.5 g • Carb: 17 g • Fiber: 3 g • Sugar: 0 g
Sodium: 240 mg • Cholesterol: 5 mg

Ingredients:


  • 2 cans (4 oz each drained) Italian premium yellowfin canned tuna in oil, drained
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled brown rice
  • 8 oz frozen classic  mixed vegetables (Bird's Eye) cooked and cooled
  • 1/4 cup good quality sliced black olives
  • 2 tbsp drained capers (plus 1 tbsp of the brine)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil (I used from the can) 

Directions:

Drain the tuna well reserving the oil and set the oil aside.


In a large work bowl, combine the rice, drained tuna, vegetables, black olives, capers and bell pepper. Pour 1 tablespoon of the brine from the capers into the bowl along with the juice of 1/2 lemon and 1/2 tablespoon of the oil and toss well.

45 comments :

  1. This looks great, I have been trying to figure out a new way to make tuna. Perfect work lunch!

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  2. I've been searching for easy lunches I can make on Sunday to bring to work all week. This fits the bill except for the fact I do not like tuna. Do you think you could substitute shredded chicken? I don't know if it would lack the flavor you explained you got from the tuna you used. Thanks.

    Love your blog, I cook from it all the time and it helps me stay committed to WW since I don't feel like I am eating "diet food". Cannot wait to get my hands on the cookbook!

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    1. Thanks Aimee, sure I think chicken would be great. Just add some olive oil to it. Also, I think the key to the flavor was good quality olives, they make the dish!

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    2. Aimee, do you like canned salmon? I don't like tuna!
      But will probably sub red canned salmon.

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  3. That looks delicious! Love the flavors in here. :)

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  4. That looks really good! I'm gonna try out I swear!

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  5. I'm so doing this for my Summer lunches at the office. Thanks for the recipe!
    PS: I love your site! I mean it!
    xx,
    E.
    www.theslowpace.com

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  6. Beautiful! I grew up eating so much rice and tuna... I really appreciate the beauty of this recipe. Good job!

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  7. Now that's what I call lunch! Love the new trend of transporting them and serving them up in jars as well, looks so nice and rustic :D It's great that you're making that little bit of extra effort with some inexpensive ingredients and turn it into something as nice as this ^ ^ Thanks for sharing! x

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  8. I love that I could keep all of these ingredients on hand for a quick and healthy lunch!

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  9. Thanks for sharing all your recipes! Every one I try out is always a hit! You prove that clean eating doesn't have to be bland! Thanks! Keep them coming!

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  10. It's great that we can just use pantry staples to make this. And the fact we can buy the tuna by the case on Amazon, even better. I mean, these days, we even buy our toilet paper and light bulbs on Amazon and it all just arrives on our doorstep. This is healthy and surprisingly, my kids love tuna! Yay!!

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  11. Is that 1/2 Tablespoon, as in 1 and 1/2 teaspoons?

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  12. SO excited to see this recipe. I used to eat this all the time when I lived in Florence - in fact, McDonald's had this on the menu there! Can't wait to make it!!

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  13. This looks so good! I need to make it immediately. Noms

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  14. Hi Gina! If I substitute the tuna with chicken, would you just grill and shred it then add it to the other ingredients? Also what would the points + value be with chicken? Thank you!

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  15. I don't have any capers on hand, should I use a little more oil or lemon juice for the moisture?

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  16. This fits the bill except for the fact I do not like tuna. Do you think you could substitute shredded chicken? I don't know if it would lack the flavor you explained you got from the tuna you used. Thanks.

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  17. This looks so tasty and amazing!
    http://youtube.com/addalittlefood

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  18. That looks terrific. Will be perfect for a picnic next week. As always, thank you!

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  19. Hi Gina, what brand/type of olives and capers do you prefer? I've been looking for a good brand for a while but I'm never quite happy with what I've tried so far.

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  20. Hi Gina, wondering what brand olives you bought or if you got them in the olive bar? Thanks!

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  21. I'm also curious what you think of as "good quality" black olives. I'm eager to make this dish, and I, too, really appreciate the taste of good Italian tuna in oil. Love that your recipe is only 4 points! Perfect for lunch. Thank you!

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  22. Looks delicious and healthy! However, I am not an olive fan...Any suggestions for substitutions or should I just omit them?

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  23. I also am interested in the olive recommendation. BTW I made my oven roasted chicken thighs for the 4th using your BBQ sauce. YUM! Seriously, yum! Thanks!

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  24. Hi Gina ! If I may ask, you wrote 1 cup of coocked rice, and it's for 4 person, and the portion is 1 cup, is it 1 cup of uncooked rice or if so, can you explane please, cause I'm confuse ! I want to do this receipe, but I need the exact portion, thank you , and I love you're receipes !

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  25. Well I did the receipe, I did'nt have the olives, et I made 3/4 cup of uncooked rice for 4 person, 1/2 of a Lemond ,and I had just one can of tuna, and it smells great, I'm eating that for lunch tomorow ! Thank you for havin great receipes

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  26. What can I add beside bell pepper?(can't eat them)

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    1. I would try with raw zucchini (sliced thin) or fresh asparagus (the same). You can also try with cucumers. Greeting from Italy :) Fabiola

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  27. How many days in advance can this be made and still be good to eat? What do you use for your good quality black olives? Thanks. This looks delish.

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    1. This is better if eaten the following day. It can last up to 3-4 days, maybe more... you'll finish it before you discover

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  28. Made this last night, it is incredible!! And took @ 15 minutes to make. I used green giant veg mix with white, yellow corn, asparagus, and baby carrots 6 minutes in the microwave. I also used seed of change Brown rice and Quinoa 90 seconds in the microwave. The Italian tuna is incredible not fishy in smell or taste. What a wonderful meal!

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  29. This looks really good, I like all the ingredients. Thinking to use thousand island sauce and mustard for dressing, probably not bad. :)

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  30. Hi, I'm Italian and I can tell you this is exactly how we make it. Only, we wouldn't use so much corn, but I understand it's included in your veggie mix. Another option is to use pickled mixed veggies (giardiniera) instead of frozen, and add slices of Frankfurter sausage and cheese cubes.

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  31. This is delicious! I used a full 12 ounce bag of frozen mixed veggies because that's what I had on hand and I hate partially-full bags of frozen vegetables in the freezer. I feel like I never use them afterward. I simply defrosted it and did not cook it. I also used a bit more red pepper and extra-virgin olive oil than called for, and ended up using almost all the rice I'd cooked (made 1 dry cup of brown rice). With all the veggies, only 1c of cooked rice would've made it a bit anemic. Some fresh chopped parsley was perfect in it. Next time, more parsley and more lemon for my tastes. But a perfect recipe to play with!!!!! I might be eating this all summer when I can't possibly bear to do any real cooking!

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  32. I just had this tuna for the first time as it was on sale this week at Publix in Florida. It's the best tuna I have ever had

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  33. As I do not live in the states, I find some of the costs for this prohibitive. One can of Italian tuna, and not 4oz worth, costs $9.60 US. Will try with what is available at a more reasonable price. I believe it will taste good, just not as good.

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  34. What kind of olives and what kind of brown rice? Do you use the brown rice that takes 50 minutes to cook or the quick cook stuff? I believe they have different NI.

    -Angela

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  35. I like salad, but I do not know how to make it.

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  36. I made this last night with Farro instead of brown rice and it was delicious! I also used regular canned tuna instead of the fancy stuff, and it may not have tasted as decadent, but it was very good nonetheless! Thanks for another wonderful recipe Gina!

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  37. This is amazing! I made it twice in one week! My husband loves it as well! Y.U.M.!

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  38. This recipe is delicious! I'm eating it right now as I type this. Great flavor! I omitted the red peppers because I don't like them, but other than that, I followed the recipe exactly.

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