Spinach Salads with Tuna, Olives, and Creamy Lemon Dressing

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Fresh salads are always in season. Peppery spinach and nutritious tuna pair up with olives, eggs, and crunchy vegetables in this tasty, good-for-you meal.

Spinach is one of the most nutritious greens you can eat, and tuna one of the most healthful foods from the sea. Put them together on one plate with some tasty, light additions, and enjoy a delicious, satisfying meal you can feel good about.

(This includes the dressing—made from creamy Greek yogurt, not mayo or sour cream.)

Tuna: Fresh, Canned, or from a Jar?

Hands down, a fresh tuna steak, grilled or pan-seared, is the best tuna you can put in a salad. That said, you don’t always have time, access to, or the funds to spend on a great tuna steak. That’s okay, because there is a good option that’s easy to find, relatively inexpensive, and almost as tasty: yellowfin tuna packed in a jar.

There are several good jarred tunas on the market, packed with a variety of ingredients such as olive oil, spring water, garlic, or herbs. I buy the Italian Tonnino brand, which is carefully selected, dolphin-safe yellowfin packed in meaty 3-inch strips in the jar.

It has the wonderful taste of tuna without any “fishiness” and it’s easy to break into bite-sized chunks for your salad or any other dish. Jarred tuna is more expensive than canned, but it’s also higher quality and worth the extra bucks.

When tuna is the main ingredient in a light dish, try to use the best you can. Common canned tuna is fine for making tuna melts, but go for something special in a fresh, crisp salad.

Zesting Fruit Peels

Lots of recipes call for the “zest” of a lemon, lime, orange, etc., because of the intense flavor concentrated in the colorful peels of many citrus fruits. But keep in mind that only the colorful part of the fruit is called the zest, not the white pith beneath it, which can be bitter and mushy.

To remove only the zest, run a grater over the fruit without pressing hard enough to tear the pith. A little grating yields a good amount—about a quarter of a small lemon for 1 teaspoon of zest, as in this recipe.

Spinach Salads with Tuna, Olives, and Creamy Lemon Dressing

Ingredients

For the Creamy Lemon Dressing

  • 3 tbsp plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (yellow part of the lemon, grated)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp minced Italian parsley
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the Spinach and Tuna Salad

  • 2 packed cups fresh spinach, large leaves torn in half
  • 1 6.7-oz jar of tuna packed in oil, such as Tonnino
  • 1/2 cup assorted green and black olives, with or without pits
  • 1 hardboiled egg, chopped
  • 2 large radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 quarter red bell pepper, chopped

Preparation

For the Creamy Lemon Dressing

  1. Combine the yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, and parsley in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

For the Spinach and Tuna Salad

  1. Divide the spinach between 2 plates.
  2. Drain the tuna on paper towels to absorb most of the oil. Break the tuna into bite-sized chunks and divide it between each plate of spinach.
  3. Scatter each salad with olives, chopped eggs, radishes, and bell pepper. Season each with a little salt and pepper and dollop the creamy lemon dressing on top. Serve with crusty, toasted bread, if desired.

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