Herbed Tuna Salad with Feta and Pine Nuts

There’s a weekly food blog event that I have been meaning to participate in for quite some time now. It’s called Weekend Herb Blogging and it’s a great way for people who enjoy using fresh herbs to share tips, ideas, information, and recipes with one another. The event, now on it’s 82nd week I believe, was founded by Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen and is still hosted there the first weekend of each month. During the other three weeks, the event roams around the food blog community, hosted by different bloggers each week. If you wish to participate, simply write a little something about a fresh herb and/or post a recipe featuring fresh herbs. Put it on your blog sometime during the week (any week, every week) and then e-mail the link to the person who is hosting the event. All of the links are compiled and then posted together at the end of the week by the host. Like all food blog events, it’s a great way to learn something new, find recipes, and also discover new food blogs.
Like many Americans, we didn’t eat a lot of dishes featuring fresh herbs while I was growing up. We always had a garden, ate tons of fresh fruits and vegetables, and both of my parents were great cooks. But for whatever reason, fresh herbs just weren’t a huge part of my early culinary experience. Cilantro is probably the first herb that I remember using on a regular basis but that was only for making fresh salsa. I didn’t even know that cilantro was used for anything other than Mexican food!
Well, I’ve come a long way, and spending a few years in Sicily has certainly helped me discover the joys of using fresh parsley, basil, oregano and rosemary. I’ve also discovered that cilantro is widely used in many different cuisines around the world and I now use it all the time. I am growing several different herbs in my backyard and am always trying to find new ways to use them. I currently have rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, parsley, chives, savory and sage growing in a couple barrel planters in the back. And I generally have fresh cilantro on hand now that I discovered it in an international foods store here (cilantro isn’t a popular herb in Italy so I don’t find it in the open-air markets). But I still have a lot to learn about fresh herbs and I’m looking forward to sharing recipes and learning new things each week from all the other Weekend Herb Bloggers!
The recipe that I am submitting to the event this week is a tuna salad that features two fresh herbs: parsley and chives. My aunt Kathy is the person who turned me on to using fresh herbs in tuna. She likes to put cilantro in hers and so do I but the day I made this, I was fresh out! Parsley has become my go-to herb anytime I want to add a little something extra to a dish, so I threw that in. The chives I added just for the hell of it and the rest of the recipe just came together the way most of my recipes do — from things I happened to have on hand. The great thing about this tuna salad is that it uses very little mayonnaise and, even though I added some feta cheese and pine nuts, I think it’s much better for you than a typical mayo-laden tuna salad. On a whim, I substituted thickened plain yogurt for most of the mayo and it turned out great! I still added a little mayonnaise because I happen to really like it but I think you could leave it out completely and this would still be wonderful.
This tuna salad would be good on bread or in a pita but I’ve discovered that my favorite way to eat this is to scoop it right onto a piece of lettuce, pick it up, and eat it by hand. You can use the small inner leaves of romaine or boston lettuce and make several cute little snacks, or you can fill up a larger piece. And by all means, use a fork if you want to. But I’m warning you, it’s not as much fun ;-)
So, here is this week’s recipe for Weekend Herb Blogging, which will be hosted by Pat at Up the Creek without a PatL. Be sure to check her site at the end of the weekend to find out what everyone else submitted! And if you are interested in participating, you can find the official rules at Kalyn’s Kitchen as well as information about who will be hosting the event in upcoming weeks.
Herbed Tuna Salad with Feta and Pine Nuts
6 oz. can of tuna, drained
1/4 C. plain, thick yogurt*
1 T. mayonnaise
1/4 C. crumbled feta cheese
1 T. chopped fresh parsley
1 T. snipped fresh chives
1 – 2 T. toasted pine nuts**
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
fresh ground black pepper
4 small to medium leaves of romaine lettuce
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together all the ingredients with a fork.
  2. Spoon salad into the middle of the lettuce leaves, garnish with extra chopped herbs if desired.
  3. Enjoy!
* If your yogurt is runny, line a strainer with cheesecloth, pour in one cup of yogurt and let drain over a bowl for half an hour or so. Measure out 1/4 C. of the thickened yogurt and proceed with recipe.
** Toast pine nuts in a small, dry skillet over medium heat. Shake the pan frequently and don’t leave them unattended, they will toast very quickly! When they start to turn a golden brown, remove nuts to a small bowl and let cool.
Just for fun, here are a few more easy Pinch My Salt recipes that also use chives:  Creamy Blue Cheese Dip with Lemon and ChivesCheddar Chive and Sour Cream Omelette, and Sour Cream, Cheddar and Chive Biscuits.  Enjoy!


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