Tuna & White Bean Dip ♥ A Quick & Easy Recipe!

Tuna & White Bean Dip ♥ AVeggieVenture.com, a real crowd pleaser. Low Carb. High Protein. Naturally Gluten Free. Weight Watchers Friendly!
An easy bean dip, with a touch of umami from simple canned tuna. Easy to make with a few quick pantry and refrigerator ingredients. Fresh tasting and endlessly variable. Positively addictive.

Low Carb. Gluten Free. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly!

No Run-of-the-Mill Bean Dip, This

Okay so you might think that this is just one more bean dip, nothing special about that. But I beg, think again.

For one thing, it's one of those pass-along recipes. It started with Ilda, neighbor to Tanna of My Kitchen in Half Cups who made it, along with my Pickled Beet Dip, for a meal of "little bites". Then I made it for an impromptu sangria party on my patio and passed it along to two people. Two days later, I made up another batch for a birthday celebration – passing the recipe along again – and then snacked on leftovers all week. Already, in just two weeks, this has become a staple summer recipe, for an easy party appetizer, for a small bite before supper, for quick lunches.

For another, what raises the bean dip several notches is the addition of tuna, which adds a certain savory meatiness that, when pressed, I'd identify as "umami", the fifth taste sense.

OH and before I forget, see those cool crackers? You'll love these Herbed Saltines too. Yum.

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This recipe is so quick and easy that I'm adding it to a growing collection of easy summer recipes published all summer long ever since 2009 at Kitchen Parade, my food column. With a free Kitchen Parade e-mail subscription, you'll never miss a one!


  • "Miss Alanna! Your cooking is so good, I want to eat it ALL!" ~ Jackie, our little foodie at age 8, five minutes before breaking his leg on the swingset :-(



Hands-on time: 10-15 minutes
Time to table: excellent after resting a couple of hours, even better after 24 hours
Makes 2 cups

1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
15 ounces canned white beans, rinsed and drained
5 ounces canned tuna, drained
Zest & juice (about 4 tablespoons) of 2 lemons
1/2 red pepper, diced very fine
1 small red onion, diced very fine
1 ear fresh corn, kernels only (optional but lovely)
Fresh basil, chopped – Tanna says to use a "happy" amount!
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil, just enough to bind a bit, about 1 tablespoon

THE ORIGINAL WAY TO MIX This yields a chunky spread, a little bit messy to scoop and spread. With a fork, mash the garlic and salt together to form a thick paste. Then gently together mash in all the beans and the tuna. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate to let the flavors meld for a couple of hours or better yet, 24 hours. Serve with crackers.

THE WAY I MIX IT This yields a spread that's more akin to tuna salad, yet leaves some beans and all the tuna and vegetables identifiable and distinct, it's much easier to scoop and spread. In a mini food processor, give the garlic and salt a few whizzes to mince. Add about 3/4 of the beans and process until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the remaining beans, the tuna and the remaining ingredients. Serve with the "corn chip dippers" from Trader Joe's, they're like Doritos that scoop, love 'em!

VARIATIONS Add chopped kalamata olives or chopped radish or bits of fresh peach. Substitute dill or cilantro for the basil. Use a couple of green onions instead of red onion.

I like it when ingredients are "recognizable" in a dish, that's why I purée 3/4 of the beans, then stir in the remaining whole beans.
Perhaps because of its Mediterranean cast, Tuna & White Bean Dip really needs basil. I once tried cilantro: it just doesn't work.
Note to Vegetarians

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Looking for healthy ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg as she explores the exciting world of vegetables, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2009, 2016, 2019 (repub) & 2020

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. You've really polished it up with all your variations! I do believe variation of this is endless.
    Seldom has a "dip" been easier or healthier!
    Delighted you enjoyed and made it your own.

  2. i almost thought this was vegan and i started FLIPPING out. but it's amazin nonetheless.

  3. Are you using Italian tuna (packed in oil), which is usually quite flavorful, or regular tuna packed in oil or water? The combination of Italian tuna and white beans is a classic antipasto dish, and quite delicious.

  4. Tana ~ Your inspiration is much appreciated!

    VeggieVixen ~ Sorry, dear. Is there anything that people substitute for tuna? I'd love to try it.

    Lydia ~ No, just plain ol' Chicken of the Sea in water or whatever was in the pantry, wait no, it was a Trader Joe's brand. I once ordered a whole case of Italian tuna (about $6 a can six or seven years ago) and didn't understand all the fuss. Maybe I need to try again?

  5. AnonymousJune 23, 2009

    I've tasted something similar made with chickpeas (garbanzo beans) instead of the white beans; and with some preserved lemon added - hard to get, I know, unless you make your own, but this gives it a fantastic depth of flavor. Maybe some lemon zest would be a good second best....

  6. I love this dip, and I don't know why, at first glance I thought it was a veggie recipe too! But the white beans are gorgeous- maybe us veggies can make scrambled egg whites instead of the tuna, and still maintain the low carb count :)

  7. Mmm... I love these flavors, Alanna. I agree with Lydia. The Italian tuna in the olive oil is amazing. Try it from an Italian market, and you might taste the diff.

  8. Perfect for the next cookout! I wonder how it would be with mashed black beans? Might try it both ways...thanks for the inspiration!

  9. Wow just made something really similar with goat cheese rather then tuna. This sounds healthier and more like a meal.

  10. For small white beans, look for navy beans. My dad grows them. Or grew them. I think the farmers all grow mostly soys now. Navys can be hard to find canned though. :(

  11. There you go again! I wanted to make a tuna salad this past Friday and used this recipe. Next time I look at my computer - you've featured it! Shopping completed, I used what was in the house - chickpeas - and deleted the lemon as someone here doesn't eat it. Additionally, I saved the liquid from the canned chickpeas and used some to moisten the mix. Worked great.

    Any time I'm looking for vegetable inspiration you are my go-to source. Many thanks!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna