My pantry

Variety is the herb and spice of life… Chilli Tuna Herb Salad

January 28, 2015

chili tuna and cannelini bean herb saladI love living in my multicultural neighbourhood.

I have this Lebanese corner store which is primarily a fruit and vegetable shop but they also sell all manner of exotic items ranging from date paste and goat’s fetta, and dried nuts and pulses… and the cheapest flowers going.

Often, sitting on the counter beside the cash register, there will be some kind of seasonal weird thing that is common to Lebanon but looks like a strange body part to me. I made a vow to always ask what is it is, and give it a shot. Then I report back to them and they invariably laugh at me.

camel balls gum

Liquid filled camel balls gum…. yep. Not quite the examples of fruit I’m talking about but an interesting find nonetheless.

When the boxes of fat green olives were overflowing I conversed with an old mamma in a hijab to discover the secret to make those nasty bitter arseholes palatable.

I soaked and rinsed and brined but alas, my olives were not a roaring success. In fact, I’d go so far as to say they sucked.

There was an odd jaundiced testical looking thing on the counter once and I asked what to do with it –

“You eat it.”

“Eat it how?”

“You bite into it, remove the big seeds and just eat it like a small apple.”

I gave it a shot, but it was dusty and dry and weird so that was not a real winner in my books either.

Today I saw a box of dried poo on the counter.

“What is that, Ali?” I asked my friend.

“It’s carob.”

“Carob?” This was a far cry from the carob buds I used to stash in my school desk. “What do you do with it?”

“You eat it.”

“It it how?”

“You. Eat. It.” I’m sure sometimes he thinks I’m quite simple.

After telling me how delicious it was and how great is was for me I gave it a shot. I bit off a big chunk of dried poo, and got a mouthful of seeds and bark that had a vague flavour of carob.

Dried carob. Not poo

Dried carob. Not poo

“What the hell is this???” I sputtered spitting out bullet like seeds. Ali laughed and laughed.

Yeah, I love my neighbourhood.

It appears I won’t be getting my nutritional needs from carob, I need to pack my diet with lots of colourful fruit and vegetables. Did you know the more colourful your fresh food is the more antioxidants it contains… and the healthier you’ll be?

‘Tis true, mi amigos.

My kids and I recently underwent a biophotonic scan, or a dietary lie detector test as my step-mother, Wicky Steppy as she’s affectionately known, called it.

She said most people are well under their average daily intake in fruit and vegetables and it is reflected in their overall health. It’s a very interesting matter, and I immediately gave her all of the reasons why I was going to fail the test. Been fighting a cold, been drinking my body weight in G & T’s since before Christmas.

Thankfully, I was in the excellent category, as was Kiki, but you know who blitzed us by a million miles??

D Man. He’s the healthiest kid she’s ever seen with a score of 71, 000 somethings.

I gave it some thought as to why he’s off the Biophotonic Richter, and all I could really come up with is that he snacks on vibrant carrots and tomatoes and frozen berries (and whatever he can get his ravenous little hands on).

Anyway, I’m not bragging as such, just saying up your vibrant fruit and vegetables. You’ll look as youthful as a four year old boy.

This salad is mega vibrant in the red and green department. Instead of lettuce I pack it out with fresh herbs so it’s fragrant and tasty. The cannelini beans are creamy, the tuna is salty and the tomatoes are sweet and tangy.

The Simpsons sang “You don’t win friends with salad”, I beg to differ. But you won’t win friends with dried carob.

Chilli tuna herb salad

What you will need : 

  • 1 tin cannelini beans
  • 1 tin Serena tuna in chilli oil, or the tuna of your preference in olive oil
  • 1/2 red capsicum, seeded and chopped
  • 10 kalamata olives, seeded and chopped
  • 1 big handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 big handful fresh oregano, picked from the stem
  • 1/4 Spanish or white onion, finely chopped
  • a good slug of red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • shaved parmesan, or crumbled fetta for serving

 What you will need to do :

Throw your tuna into the bowl without discarding the oil. Toss everything else on top of it and combine with love.

Eat. Eat. Eat.


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It’s packed full of sides and salads to keep your mealtimes interesting, or go straight to main course and check out Cook Once Feed All.


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  • Reply Bele @ BlahBlah January 28, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Man, you had me at camels’ balls and then, you slam dunked me with the most awesome salad recipe. I’m going to have that tomoz x

  • Reply Sonia from Sonia Styling January 28, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    YUM! I am more than a little bit obsessed with that Sirena tuna in chilli oil. This salad is so getting a spin in our place. x

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