I tried Giada De Laurentiis' Italian tuna-salad recipe, and it's a great, mayo-free take on the classic dish

  • I made Giada De Laurentiis' Italian tuna salad, a mayonnaise-free version with greens and beans.

  • Some ingredients were tough to find, but the substitutions worked fine in the versatile recipe.

  • Although I love mayonnaise-based tuna salad, I'll definitely be making her tasty version again.

I love tuna salad, especially when it's made with mayonnaise and sweet relish. But sometimes that's a little too heavy for my stomach.

On the hunt for a lighter version, I decided to try Giada De Laurentiis' Italian recipe, which is more of an actual salad made with greens and a citrusy dressing.

De Laurentiis' tuna salad includes ingredients like hearty beans and greens.

Ingredients for Giada De Laurentiis' Italian-tuna salad.
I thought the ingredients for Giada De Laurentiis' tuna-salad recipe were interesting.Terri Peters

In addition to high-quality tuna, De Laurentiis' Italian-inspired tuna salad called for arugula, bitter greens, cannellini beans, and a homemade citrusy dressing.

Some ingredients were tough to find in my area, but I was able to hunt down decent substitutes.

Chopped spring mix.
I substituted Treviso and Belgian endives for a spring mix.Terri Peters

De Laurentiis called for Treviso and Belgian endives in her salad. After looking through three grocery stores with no luck, I opted for a more basic spring mix that included endive.

In the recipe's accompanying video, the chef said any bitter greens would do, so I followed her lead.

I moved on to the dressing, which was simple to make.

Dressing with dijon mustard, capers, olive oil, and lemon juice.
Giada De Laurentiis' dressing was a good replacement for mayonnaise.Terri Peters

The dressing gets its creaminess from Dijon mustard and olive oil, which I whisked into a mixture of fresh lemon juice, chopped capers, and salt.

The mixture was super simple to make and tasted delightful. It was full of citrus notes from the lemon juice and saltiness from the capers.

The white cannellini beans added great texture to the dish.

Cannellini beans in a strainer.
The cannellini beans were a fresh touch to the salad.Terri Peters

Next I rinsed and drained a can of cannellini beans before tossing them into my salad bowl.

Beans are a great source of fiber and vitamins, so I loved that they were part of this recipe. They also added a nice texture to the salad and paired well with the dressing.

I splurged on a jar of tuna packed in olive oil, and it was worth it.

Shredded tuna in a strainer.
Giada De Laurentiis recommended a pricey jar of tuna, and it was worth it.Terri Peters

Although there are more affordable brands of tuna, De Laurentiis recommended using a jar of tuna packed in olive oil, which was around $7 at my grocery store.

I drained and flaked the tuna before adding it to the salad plain, without any mayonnaise or spices.

The tuna was delicious and didn't taste fishy to me, which I appreciated. It was definitely worth the price.

The recipe said to add fennel and parsley, which gave the salad a unique flavor.

Salad topped with fennel and parsley.
I topped the salad off with sliced fennel and parsley.Terri Peters

I added a thinly sliced bulb of fennel and roughly chopped parsley into the mix. In the video, De Laurentiis explained that the parsley doesn't need to be finely diced since it's being used as a green, not an herb.

I wouldn't have thought to put these ingredients in a salad, but they added fresh and herbaceous flavors.

I tossed the ingredients together in a bowl.

Giada De Laurentiis' tuna-salad recipe.
I was surprised with how delicious Giada De Laurentiis' take on tuna salad was.Terri Peters

As a lover of mayo-based tuna salad, I wasn't sure I'd enjoy this version. To my surprise, I ate the entire bowl and continued to go back to the serving dish for more.

I think the recipe would pair well with a crusty loaf of bread or a bowl of tomato soup.

Overall, this salad was delicious, and I'd make it again.

Bowl of Italian tuna-salad, per the recipe from Giada De Laurentiis.
I would absolutely make Giada De Laurentiis' Italian tuna salad again.Terri Peters

Although I'll still make my traditional tuna salad, I can't wait to add De Laurentiis' version to my recipe rotation.

I think it'll be especially good as a side dish for a party or as a quick weeknight dinner.

Want to try more recipes from De Laurentiis? Check out her cookbook featuring other healthy takes on classic dishes:

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