Canned tuna can get a bad rap. It is often associated with gloopy tuna salad sandwiches or flavorless casseroles. Its tinned vessel is looked down upon, labeled as a last-resort staple or that thing you have on hand for emergencies.
But canned tuna can be very flavorful and tasty, given the right accompaniments. No disrespect to tuna salad sandwiches by the way. Tuna is a versatile protein that can be used either hot or cold: casseroles, salads, patties, etc. Given its chameleon-like quality I decided to create a hybrid of two classic tuna preparations.
I married the noodle concept of tuna noodle casserole with the bright, brininess of highbrow niçoise salad to get the best of both dishes. This recipe calls for veggie noodles (a la carrot and zucchini spirals) as the base of the dish, niçoise veggies on top, and tuna piled high. A little avocado, because avocados make everything better and the end result: marinated, al dente noodles, the right balance of sweetness and acidity from tomatoes, briny olives and capers, and of course the start of the dish – the tuna (canned, the way every good tuna noodle casserole begins). Quick, affordable, and delicious. What more could you ask of from this little can of tuna?
4 oz. canned tuna: (wonderful source of selenium – acts as an antioxidant and is important for thyroid health);
½- ¾ medium-sized carrot, spiralized: high in vitamin A for a healthy immune system;
¾ -1 medium zucchini, spiralized: rich in antioxidants and vitamin C;
¼ cup grape tomatoes, halved: high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that fights free radicals;
5-6 Kalamata olives, halved: great source of plant-based iron and fats;
½ tbsp capers: good source of vitamin K, beneficial for blood clotting and bone health;
½ avocado, sliced: very high in potassium;
1½ tsp shallots, finely chopped: antioxidant powerhouse;
3 tbsps olive oil: full of oleic acid – anti-inflammatory; and rich in vitamins E and K;
1 tbsp lemon juice: has vitamin C to support immune function;
½ tsp dill: contains flavonoids, terpenoids, and tannins – antioxidants used by the body to battle oxidation;
Natural Salt: rich in various minerals;
Black Pepper: contains piperine which has antioxidants and helps boost the absorption of selenium;
Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to form vinaigrette. Mix in shallots and dill and thoroughly combine. Set aside.
Microwave carrot and zucchini noodles for 30 seconds or until warm. They should be heated through but still have a bite to them. Toss noodles with 2 tbsps of the vinaigrette.
Place on plate. Scoop tuna on top of noodles. Top with tomatoes, olives, capers and avocado.
Drizzle remaining vinaigrette on top of tuna. Best served room temperature or slightly warm.