My co-worker sits down a table away, announcing to the break room, “Don’t mind if it smells like old fish in here, I’ve got tuna for lunch.” I laugh and chime in, “Same here!” He smirks and nods as he stirs mayonnaise into his bowl. “Do you ever get hiccups from tuna,” he asks me. I scrunch my face and lift an eyebrow, “Hiccups?” He nods, “yeah, hiccups?” I laugh uncertainly, “No, I can’t say that I do,” I reply. He looks down at his food and adds, “Well. I do. No other fish gives me hiccups, but Tuna does.”
Sure enough, halfway through his lunch he develops a case of hiccups. I wonder why he elects to eat tuna despite this. Then I realize that not everyone gets the diaphragm tearing, horrible, awful, painful hiccups I get. I analyze this for a minute. My own hiccups might be enough to deter me from eating certain foods if they were known to induce them. But if tuna did? I’m not sure. It’s so good for you! As a delicious, nutritious and cost effective food, I think that I might just deal with it if it induced hiccups!
This recipe is a flavorful, light, and refreshing alternative to your average tuna salad. It is loaded with healthy vegetables and filling legumes. It’s the perfect lunch or dinner for these hot summer days! With only a handful of ingredients, it is also incredibly simple to make, and one of my go to meals when I don’t know what to prep for the week or make for the family.
This is the second recipe I’ve written. It’s still hard to put things in words; when I cook, I just cook. I’m trying a slightly different format than I did for my Mediterranean Quinoa Bowl. I still want to outline each main ingredient and their most prominent health benefits and nutritional contributions, and I do do that first. Towards the end I have added a summary of the recipe for the sake of the ease of execution.
Tuna is, like most fish, incredible for your health. Known for its plethora of heart healthy benefits, the high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and B vitamins don’t just reduce the risk of Coronary diseases. They also give your entire circulatory system a helping hand with their anti-inflammatory properties by lowering blood pressure and increasing healthy circulation throughout the body. A wide array of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, selenium, manganese, and zinc give your immune system a much needed boost.
Tuna is low calorie, high protein, and contains small amounts of healthy fats. There are about 15 species of Tuna, and they all provide similar ratios of the same nutrition and benefits. As one of the worlds’ most highly demanded fish species, Tuna have become widely farmed. If you are concerned about the quality of the tuna you are buying, read your label! If you want ethically caught, wild sourced tuna, it isn’t too difficult to find, but will cost a bit more.
For this recipe I’m using about 10 ounces of both Albacore and Skipjack tuna (one can each) to one half cup dry kidney beans, this will feed four with a small amount of leftovers.
The slow-carbs in Kidney beans are the good kind of carbohydrates (the kind you can eat and still lose weight)! They provide a good amount of protein and fiber as well, making this a worthy component in this satisfying salad.
Kidney beans are a good source of folate, copper, potassium, phosphorous, iron, manganese, and vitamin k.
For this recipe I’m using one half cup uncooked Red Kidney beans. I go into detail here about why you should cook your own beans, especially kidney beans, instead of buying them canned. If you choose to use canned beans, drain and rinse them before use. One regular sized can should be about the same amount used in this recipe.
Cucumbers are not as humble as they may seem. These refreshing ‘vegetables’(technically fruits) are hydrating and packed full of more nutrients and electrolytes than one might think. Cucumbers contain notable amounts of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, potassium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, zinc….the list goes on!
DO NOT peel your cucumbers. The skin is the most nutrient and fiber dense part of the entire thing. For this recipe I used one large (approx. 12in) cucumber.
Onions are power houses, Red Onions in particular due to their higher concentration of antioxidants in comparison to white onions! Part of the same family as garlic, onions provide an ample amount of health benefits when eaten on a regular basis. Onions are known to improve cardiovascular health and promote healthy cholesterol levels.
Onions are one of the greatest natural sources of quercetin (an important anti-inflammatory antioxidant.) The contain good amounts of biotin, vitamin C, phosphorus, potassium, folate, copper, vitamins B 1 and 6, and manganese.
Peel as little skin as necessary, nutrition is more heavily concentrated in the outer layers. For this recipe I use one medium red onion.
Red Bell Pepper
I chose red bell for this recipe, quite frankly, because it was the only fresh pepper I had on hand. I would choose it again, but if I had an Anaheim I would have chopped that up and thrown it in too! Feel free to use whatever peppers you prefer!
Red bell contains quite a bit of vitamin C, carotenoids (antioxidants) and more vitamins and minerals than I can even reasonably list here (including a surprisingly hefty serving of vitamin E!). All peppers are nutritious and beneficial to your health. Bottom line is, eat more peppers. Seriously.
I used one large Red bell for this recipe.
Vinegar is anti-bacterial, lowers blood sugar and improves insulin response, lowers cholesterol, and helps you to feel full. Apple cider vinegar is touted to be the most beneficial to your health, but different vinegars yield different flavors – and variety is everything.
In this recipe I actually used three different vinegars; a German brand called Salata, Apple Cider Vinegar, and Rice Wine vinegar.
Brown mustard and its components make it a very healthy condiment. The mustard seeds themselves are full of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, folate, and vitamin A. It is known for improving skin and respiratory health. The turmeric in mustard is added for a more striking yellow pigment, but is one of the most anti-inflammatory foods you can consume.
This recipe uses about one heaping tablespoon of Brown Mustard.
Herbs and Spices
The use of herbs and spices is an easy small way to improve your health through added nutrition. Using herbs and spices helps you to use less unnecessary salt if you are trying to watch blood pressure.
Get creative and use whatever herbs and spices you think will go great in this! I used a pretty prolific amount of freshly cracked black pepper, garlic and not much else.
Tuna – 2 cans
Kidney Beans – 1/2 cup dry
Cucumbers – 1 large chopped into halves or fourths
Red Onion – 1 medium diced
Red Bell Pepper – 1 large diced
Vinegar – approximately 1 ½ cups
Brown Mustard – approximately 1 heaping tablespoon
Herbs and Spices – at your discretion!
I go over why you need to soak beans for an extended amount of time here, so pre-soak your kidney beans, and cook them in a slow boil until the skins have split and the flesh is very soft. Refrigerate to cool.
Wisk together vinegar and mustard. Pour over chopped and diced cucumbers and onions. If the vinegar does not fill to the top of your vegetables, add more. Season as desired and mix. Let marinate for at least one hour.
Flake tuna out of can and mix evenly with beans, diced pepper, and marinated cucumbers and onions. Season to taste!
Super simple, refreshing and delicious! Enjoy!
How do you normally make your Tuna?
Do you prefer a certain species? Let me know what you think of this recipe when you try it out in the comments below!
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Now, for the disclaimer – I am not an adventure guide, personal trainer, doctor, nutritionist, or medical authority, this is meant to be only a source of information and inspiration, implementing these techniques into your daily life is something you do of your own free will and at your own risk.
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Sources: Authority Nutrition