Here it is. The long awaited, much-built-up (yes, I’m making up a phrase) tuna dinners from late August that I’ve been meaning to write about for weeks. Normally I wouldn’t revisit a meal this far out, but honestly I was so psyched about these two dinners that I can’t help but share them.

As you remember, I made a mean bean salad as part of my no cook week back on August 24th. It was so good, I made it twice. While I was making the bean salad, I couldn’t help but think how good it would be with a nice piece of fish. So on Tuesday, August 25th I whipped up a quick and easy tuna dinner using the leftover bean salad and it was a complete success.

This was also a super easy meal because I did most of the prep beforehand: That morning, I threw two tuna steaks that Steph had picked up at Trader Joe’s in the fridge to thaw, I boiled a cup of quinoa in two cups of water and threw it in the fridge to chill, and I had the bean salad that I was using as a topping left over from my no cook weekend.

I still haven’t mastered the technique of a medium rare tuna, so to keep things easy I  put the two tuna steaks in the oven at 300 degrees to heat slowly all the way through. Once the fat had risen to the skin of the tuna and it was cooked all the way through I pulled it out, topped it with the cold bean salad and made side salads out of the local grown green lettuce, yoga sprouts, slivered almonds, and quinoa with my signature healthy salad dressing of canola oil, salt, and pepper.

Aug 25 - tuna and beans

It was a delicious easy meal and one more win for the bean salad, which I plan to make much more of next summer (and maybe a warm version this winter as well).

The Trader Joe’s tuna steaks had made more than enough for two dinners and two lunches the next day, which inspired me to try a dish I’d never attempted before with the extra: Nicoise salad. I’m no French chef. And after seeing Julie & Julia this weekend (super cute, wish it was longer), I’m pretty certain I won’t be anytime soon. But Nicoise salad looked like something firmly within my skill set, so I decided to give it a whirl – to great results, if I don’t say so myself ;). I had so much fun making this dinner.

My version wasn’t *quite* an authentic Nicoise salad, but it got the job done on my schedule and within my budget, and tasted fabulous all the same. I started by boiling 5 eggs the night before to get a leg up on the work for the next day. Then I picked up 10 small yellow potatoes and a couple handfuls of fresh green beans from the Food Coop on my way home from work and threw each in pots of boiling water until they were nice and soft – then I set them aside to chill . From there I quartered two large organic beefsteak tomatoes and filled a large salad bar with Foxy Organics romaine lettuce to serve as the base of my salad. Once all of the parts had been prepared, I assembled the salad – starting with the chilled tuna in the middle followed by the quartered tomatoes and then half of the boiled eggs, potatoes, and green beans on either side.

my first nicoise

For the dressing I whisked together Napa Valley Naturals organic olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, thyme, and mustard seed in a seperate bowl until well blended and drizzled over the entire salad for one delicious and easy dinner.

nicoise oil

nicoise served
The Breakdown (Tuna and Bean Salad)

Where I Got It: Trader Joe’s, Flatbush Food Coop

What it Cost:

  • Trader Joe’s tuna Steaks about $7.00 each x 2 steaks = $14.00

The grand total: $14.00

What I Already Had:

  • Bean salad [prepared for my no cook weekend]
  • Trader Joe’s quinoa
  • Trader Joe’s slivered almonds

How Many it Served: Two dinners + two lunches coming out to roughly $3.50 a meal since the bulk of it was leftovers from previous dinners that week. Not a bad way to squeeze a tuna steak into the menu at an affordable rate.

What’s Left Over: Trader Joe’s tuna steaks are large enough to make three meals each, leaving me enough tuna to make the Nicoise salad the next night. This was the last of the bean salad, which had a good run leading up to this. The quinoa and yoga sprouts also lasted the rest of the week in various combinations (see Detox Diet in Action for another glimpose of this quinoa batch). And the Foxy Organics romaine was also the base of my salad in my spaghetti dinners later that week. The canola oil is still sitting happily on the shelf.

Why it’s Healthy: This meal essentially speaks for itself, offering up a nice dose of lean protein, omega 3 fatty acids in the tuna, complex carbs with the quinoa and of course a large serving of green leafy goodness, essential to your daily diet.

The Breakdown (Nicoise Salad)

Where I Got It: Trader Joe’s, Flatbush Food Coop

What it Cost:

  • potatoes $1.79 lb coming out to  $2.11
  • green beans $2.99 lb to $1.79
  • tomatoes $2.99 lb to $3.56
  • olive oil around $11.00

The grand total: $18.46

What I Already Had:

  • Trader Joe’s tuna steaks
  • Foxy Organic Romaine Hearts $3.99 [you’re getting used to these by now ;)]

How Many it Served: Two large dinner salads and one leftover lunch salad coming out to $6.15 per salad (and that calculation of course swallows the cost of the olive oil, making it a “free” ingredient for all my future meals).

What’s Left Over: The Napa Valley Naturals olive oil has been used on every salad since this and still has plenty to go. I ended up only using 6 potatoes in the salad, which left me with four leftovers that I used for lunch the next day. The rest of the ingredients were used up in the meal and were well worth it. 🙂

Why it’s Healthy: The tuna once again offers up a nice serving of omega 3 fatty acids alongside the healty benefits of the tomato (hello lycopene), potato (vitamins C and B as well as potassium and a nice dose of fiber), the lean protien, amino acids, and and vitamin D of the boiled egg, and the wealth of vitamins and minerals found in green vegetables such as green beans and romaine lettuce.


Link of the Day: Get lost exploring this great website all about tuna, including a ton of info on how it’s caught, why it’s healthy, and delicious recipes that I’ll be trying very soon.

Grateful for: Peaceful morning commutes, a short work week to recover from a long weekend, and delicious seafood at affordable prices!