Pasta Salad with Tuna, Tomatoes, Capers & Olives

OK. This is just about the quickest and easiest salad imaginable. And it definitely doesn’t require full-blown ‘chef’ skills. It was inspired by two things: left-over pasta from last night – some lovely orechiette pasta that always reminds me of my holiday in Puglia with daughter Nicola about eighteen months ago, and a lunch that Nicola herself made for me on Sunday when I arrived in Birmingham to visit her, though she used black chickpeas instead of pasta. The unusual black chickpeas were the last of a packet of dried ones she’d bought on the same holiday.

The salad I put together, light and summery for this glorious weather we’ve been enjoying over the past week or so, is almost a ‘store cupboard’ supper as the ingredients are all things that I regularly have to hand.

Gather everything together. The amount of leftover pasta I had was just enough for one (of course, you may have to cook some if you don’t have leftovers!). I used a small tin of sustainable, good-quality tuna packed in olive oil, a handful of cherry tomatoes – in this case a mix of red and yellow, which I cut in half; 1 teaspoon capers; a few olives – I had some small black ones that I cut in half; half a small red onion, finely chopped; and some parsley – I had flat leaf and picked the leaves off separately because I thought that would look nice, but if you have the curly variety just chop some to add.

I put everything straight into the bowl I was going to eat from, draining the oil from the tuna and flaking it. Then I made a dressing from 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon lemon juice, which I seasoned with some salt and pepper. I poured the dressing over the salad, added some more black pepper (because I love it so) but not salt because of the olives and capers, and then gently tossed the whole thing – and hey presto! Supper ready in just a few short minutes.

I’m not a great fan of those big American-style salads where everything lurking in the fridge is thrown in, and generally I don’t like to add too many things to one salad (it’s the Italiaphile in me that likes to keep things simple and true to their flavour), but all these ingredients combine well. The essential base is the tuna and tomatoes and the other ingredients are really flavourings. An added bonus is that it’s pretty healthy too!

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A lifelong lover of good food and travel; writer and book editor

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