Perfect for a party – or even as a main for dinner
Dips are a natural for entertaining, of course. But sometimes we even have them for dinner.
And why not? They’re quick to make and quite tasty.
Take this White Bean and Tuna Dip, for example. It’s nutritious and comes together in just a few minutes. Add some bread, plus maybe some crudités, and you have a complete meal.
Ready in a jiffy. Gone in a flash.
Recipe: White Bean and Tuna Dip
This recipe is a cousin of our Mediterranean White Bean Dip. (The main difference is the inclusion of the tuna in this dish.) It’s also a distant relation of Tonnato Sauce. And its flavor recalls another classic Italian dish, White Bean and Tuna Salad.
This dish takes about 10 minutes to prepare.
The recipe makes approximately 2 cups of dip. Leftovers keep for a few days if refrigerated in an airtight container.
- 1 15-ounce can of white beans
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ bunch of scallions (or more to taste; can substitute a shallot or two)
- 1 can olive oil-packed tuna (5 to 7 ounces)
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (or more to taste)
- 2 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon kosher salt for us; see Notes)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste (maybe a dozen grinds)
- garnish of scallion rounds (the green part)
- flat bread, crostini, crackers, cucumber slices, or other crudités of choice for dipping
- Open the can of beans, then drain them over the sink in a strainer or colander. Rinse the beans and set them aside.
- Peel the garlic clove and add it to the bowl of a mini food processor.
- Clean the scallions. Cut off their root ends and about two inches of their dark greens, then chop them roughly (you may want to reserve some scallion rounds for garnish). Add the chopped scallions to the mini food processor. Whirl the food processor until the garlic and scallions are finely minced.
- Open the can of tuna and add it to the food processor (include the oil it’s packed in). Add the drained white beans to the food processor. Process until the dip has a consistency that pleases you.
- Zest the lemon, then add the zest to the food processor. Squeeze the lemon juice and add it to the food processor. Add the olive oil (start with 2 to 3 tablespoons). Add salt and pepper to taste. Process just enough to blend the mixture. Add more olive oil if the mixture is too dry.
- Using a rubber spatula (aka bowl scraper), remove the dip from the food processor. Pack it into individual ramekins (or into one big ramekin) or heap it on a plate. Garnish, if you wish, with a few rounds of scallion.
- Serve with your dipping “utensil” of choice. We like to use pita bread and sliced cucumbers, but we’re flexible.
- It’s easy to modify quantities and ingredients in this dish to suit your taste – or to suit what you have in the pantry.
- Want zippier flavor with more heat? Add a dash of hot sauce or cayenne pepper in Step 5.
- Feel free to add herbs to this dish. Parsley is always good with white beans. Fresh thyme would be delightful as well.
- Extra virgin olive oil provides a lot of flavor to this dish, so use good quality.
- Same with the tuna: Buy a good brand of tuna packed in olive oil. Imported tuna from Italy is excellent, but there are some good domestic brands as well.
- We sometimes add a tablespoon or so of capers to this dish for extra flavor.
- Want more color? Add some chopped red pepper.
- We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If you’re using table salt, start with about half the amount we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours.
“Dipping into dinner,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Suits us, I suppose.”
“Crudi bean worse,” I said.
“That pun fell flat as chapati,” said Mrs K R.
“I thought it sounded cool as a cucumber,” I said.
“I’m scowllion now,” said Mrs K R. “Don’t make me start a food fight.”
Guess I better tuna round before she gets crostini.
You may also enjoy reading about:
Mediterranean White Bean Dip
White Bean and Tuna Salad
Tzatziki Dip, Sauce, and Dressing
Jalapeño Black Bean Dip
Chicken and Black Bean Nacho Dip
Baked Jalapeño Popper Dip
Salmon and Cream Cheese Dip
Or check out the index for more
This is the kind of dip that I love and eat with a spoon :-) So creamy and yummy!
Hi Angie, we tend to eat this the same way! :-) Thanks for the comment.
That’s a nice way to use the flavors of the classic Italian tuna-white bean salad. Perfect for these days of dangerous grocery shopping, meaning we can’t always rely on anything but canned food.
Be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Hi Mae, yup, this was a pantry dish for us. And a really good one! :-) Thanks for the comment.
I'm glad the recipe calls for canned white beans- sounds easier than cooking the beans from scratch. I think I'll try this dip recipe- looks good!
Super hot night meal! I am all about creating no heat in the kitchen on muggy summer nights.
Hi Fran, we sometimes cook a big pot of beans and freeze them in 1 cup containers. But canned are pretty good quality, and we're using them more and more. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Anne, it's been really hot here the last few days. Good thing slightly cooler weather is on the horizon. Of course we'll eat this in any weather! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi R, indeed. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Looks and sounds really tasty.
Hi Pam, it is, it is. :-) Thanks for the comment.
John, this looks so summery good! And I love the option to eat with cucumber slices.
Hi Terry, this is really good. And really summery, as you say. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I think I am going to make this dip up here in my cabin.( I am running away from the fires) I have all the ingredients. Thanks!
Great take on a wonderful combination. Delicious and nutritious.
10 minute dinner or appetizer that does not require the oven. Now you have our attention. The humidity today is such that all we can probably muster is opening up a can of tuna, maybe and even that might cause a sweat. Looks delicious and creamy and a perfect light dinner idea. Thanks John! We are on it!
Ready in a jiffy. Gone in a flash. Works for me, John! I just had some tuna for lunch and have beans in the cabinet. Wish I had seen this an hour and a half ago! Actually would make a great little dinner for me. Thanks for the recipe!
Hi Gerlinde, the fires are awful, aren't they? Stay safe! And thanks for the comment.
Hi Eva, there's a reason classic combos of ingredients are, well, classic. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Bobbi, it's been terrible weather lately, hasn't it? Supposed to be nicer in a couple of days. Hope so! Thanks for the comment.
Hi Pam, there's always tomorrow. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Snack food is my favorite. I could eat this right off the spoon. Looks delicious and creamy.
Hi Dahn, we know all too well about eating stuff like this by the spoonful. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Yum. I could definitely turn this into my dinner! Love the flatbread triangles and cuke slices!
I never had a dip made with tuna. Sounds delish!
Hi Mimi, gotta have flatbread triangles with a dip like this. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Laura, tuna is SO versatile -- we use it in all sorts of stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Like most of the other readers have made these ingredients into a tasty salad forever and a day. Don't use dips as such much these days but can see two interesting uses for your recipe - slightly thinned down as a sauce for vegetables or fish or as a dressing for the salad itself, ie blitzing some of it for a different texture. Oh, and such often graces my pieces of toast or wraps for breakfast or lunch ! Nice !
Hi Eha, there's a lot of different ways you can use something like this, isn't there? And each seems better than the last! :-) Thanks for the comment.
You've had a couple of tuna dips this summer and they both look delicious. I've become a real fan of white beans recently, so this dip looks like a real winner. Thanks for another great snack John!
this sounds delectable indeed:) i love tuna and beans and tuna with beans... in fact I bean hankering for some ...
Hi MJ, we like most beans, but white beans are real favorites of ours. Thanks for the comment.
Hi Sherry, :-) I have a feeling there may be some tuna and beans in your future! Thanks for the comment.
I love white bean spreads or dips, healthy and yummy!
Hi Natalia, white beans are terrific in a dish like this, aren't they? So good! :-) Thanks for the comment.
This looks lovely, I'm pinning it. I miss entertaining, it would be perfect!
I really like this recipe John. I'll be making it soon.
Hi Amalia, we really miss entertaining too! Think it's going to be months before we can do it again, alas. :-( Thanks for the comment.
Hi Lea Ann, bet you'll like it. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This is perfect my MIL is on a pureed food diet (I hope temporarily) and I need creative ways to feed her with a spoon! GREG
Hi Greg, this would be great for her! Thanks for the comment.
I'd be happy to eat this as a meal! Looks like a lunch I'd enjoy all week long. Have a great weekend, John and Mrs. KR!
Hi Liz, we often have this (or a version of it) as a meal. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I could live off of dips!! This seems super interesting and I must try!
I'm a big fan of tonnato, and tuna and white beans, so I've no doubt about loving this dip!
Hi Ashley, we could live off of them too. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Jeff, no doubt about it -- you'll love this! :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love tuna and bean combination and this dip hits the spot for me. Yummy!
Hi Holly, it's a great combo of flavors. :-) Thanks for the comment.
This is a perfect dip for pleasing the crowds and I love how you have combined the bean with tuna. Loved the presentation too.
Hi Hasin, we're looking forward to serving this to company -- when we can have company again. :-( Thanks for the comment.
I love these flavors, John, never thought to put these two ingredients together and make a dip.
I am a bean lover and this dip looks so droolicious... Do not surprise if you see this dip (without tuna) on my profile ;)
Hi Rahul, it's a fun -- and tasty! -- dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Priya, so much that you can do with beans, isn't there? :-) Thanks for the comment.
First, John, this looks amazing. Second, this isn't the first time we have coincided in our ingredients of the week. While I won't be posting for quite a while, I am working on a white bean and tuna salad this weekend. (I was gifted soem Sicilian tuna belly for my birthday!)
Hi David, Sicilian tuna belly sounds wonderful. Great birthday gift (Happy Birthday!). Thanks for the comment.
I'm so pleased I saw your post this morning as it's Sunday and easy food is called for. I am baking bread so this sounds absolutely perfect for lunch with fresh rye sourdough bread. Yummo.thanks for the inspiration. Stay well, Pauline
Hi Pauline, this would be terrific with your rye sourdough! Sounds like a delightful lunch. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Nice! I'm a fan of tuna dips. The ones I know are fat-heavy, relying as they do on heavy cream and/or butter. I like this healthy alternative where the beans provide the "creaminess"...
Hi Frank, those fat-heavy dips are pretty tasty, but so rich! This is just about as tasty (maybe even more so), but much more rationale, health-wise. At least that's what we tell ourselves. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Mmm... I love these flavors. Thanks for a great, easy, healthy dip!
With tuna and beans in it, this dip is like a meal! A perfect nosh for picnicking -- even if it's in your own backyard.
Hi Balvinder, we love these flavors, too! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Carolyn, this would be great picnic fare. Good idea. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love a good fish dip way more than I ever thought I would. This is such a great way to stretch the last can of tuna in the pantry.
Hi Laura, or the last can of beans. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Yumm! What a delicious dip.
I am totally down with dips (and appetizers) for dinner
Hi Qashang, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Debra, we love appetizers for dinner! Back when we could go to restaurants, we'd sometimes skip the main and just order several appetizers. And dessert. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I love how this recipe comes together so fast. It's really hard to beat a party dip that only takes 10 minutes to prepare. This would be so perfect for Fall parties!
Hi Heidi, we like fast and easy recipes! Well, good ones, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.
John, I'm with Angie, give me a spoon, and I'd tuck in. We love dippy things so, this shall be made at the soonest opportunity.
We love dips like this for dinner - dippin dinner is what we call it! So tasty and so much fun! Speaking of fun-this “Guess I better tuna round before she gets crostini.” Has me howling! The diatribe between you and Mrs is just too funny!
Hi Ron, definitely a spoon-worthy dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi Shashi, we DO like lousy puns. :-) Thanks for the comment.
Hi John, What do you think of adding horseradish to this recipe? If we do that addition, is there anything else that should be added to balance the horseradish? This question came up on my Facebook page where I shared the recipe. I was going to read through the comments to see if someone else asked, and then I saw the many entries (sheepish grin).
Hi Kimberly, horseradish is an interesting idea! In fact we'll try it sometime. :-) Maybe add a bit more lemon to balance? Would have to taste it first probably. Let me know if you do this! :-) Thanks for the comment.
Oooh I am sure I would love this, I tried white bean sauce on pasta and it was amazing, this recipe of yours is a bit similar but I guess even better specially with tuna on it which would give more texture and flavour. I think this can be a pasta sauce too. Yum!
Hi Raymund, agree that this sauce would probably be a pretty good pasta sauce -- would have to thin it out more with oil, I'd guess. Thanks for the comment.
I really love the flavor of a white bean tuna salad, so I'm certain this would be a hit with me. Lovely. :-) ~Valentina
Hi Valentina, this is basically a less chunky salad. :-) Thanks for the comment.
We made this for lunch today. Just wonderful. I made some homemade pitas on the grill and they went perfectly with it. Thanks for the great recipe!
Hi David, homemade pitas sound wonderful! Glad you enjoyed this, and thanks for letting us know. :-)
I love any kind of beans and tunu. I never thought about combining the two. This dis sounds delicious!
Hi Dawn, it really good and so easy -- winner. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I try really hard to report back when I make things - sometimes I forget but I know how much I appreciate it when I hear from folks!
I do appreciate it! :-)
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