The tuna salad of my childhood was a straightforward affair that involved mashing together a can of water-packed tuna with heaps of Best Foods mayonnaise, red onion, and diced celery. It was a beautiful thing when sandwiched between slices of soft wheat bread, and remains a lunch favorite. But the possibilities for turning a can of tuna into a meal go far beyond the traditional sandwich.

Consider the Can

To my mind, Americans have a rather narrow view for how canned fish is used in everyday meals.  Frankly, we can be a bit snobbish about it, with a tendency to consider fresh fish the far superior option. The fact is, canned seafood is nourishing, economical, convenient, and done right, plainly delicious. Perhaps we need to take a cue from our friends in Europe, who lean on a wide variety of canned fish, tuna included, in many difference preparations.

Not so Standard

Today’s recipe is a good example of taking the convenience of canned and spinning it into something a little bit beyond a standard salad. You start with a base of cooked farro, toss it with arugula and chick peas (a favorite partner for tuna), and top with crumbled feta. I use fennel instead of celery for the signature crunch. It makes a tasty light supper and packs up well for a school or desk lunch.

For more canned tuna inspiration, you might like this Tuna Nicoise Pasta , this Superfood Tuna Sandwich.  You can also check out this line up of recipes on Cooking Light. And if you care to stretch into other canned seafood, check out the upside of sardines.

Farro Tuna Salad
5 from 1 vote

Farro, Tuna, and Fennel Salad

We’re giving tuna a Mediterranean makeover in this hearty, whole grain salad. Farro, chickpeas, fennel, and arugula get tossed together with tuna and a bright splash of lemon. Feta scattered over the top makes a tasty finish. Serve it as a light supper any day of the week or take it to go, since it packs up beautifully for school or work lunch. Feel free to substitute another hearty whole grain for the farro, such as brown rice, sorghum, barley, or Israeli couscous. You’ll need about one and one-third of a cup of cooked grains in place of the farro.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 servings as a light supper or 6 as a side dish
Author katiemorford


  • ½ cup uncooked farro
  • 1 five-ounce can tuna , drained
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • ½ large bulb fennel , cut in half, cored, and sliced very thin
  • 2 generous handfuls baby arugula
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese


  1. Cook the farro according to package directions. Drain well if any cooking water remains.
  2. Transfer the farro to a large bowl. Add the tuna, flaking it with a fork, chickpeas, fennel, arugula, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, cumin, and salt. Toss well.
  3. Spoon into a shallow serving bowl or small platter and sprinkle the feta over the top. Serve.