I remember thinking before I was pregnant, “one day when I’m pregnant I’m going to blog about all the recipes I’m going to make from scratch,” like saltines for morning nausea and ice cream for those sweet cravings that take you over like an inconsolable monster.
The raw truth is that the better part of my pregnancy has left me without the taste or energy for cooking! The first trimester was a tug of war between a hollow appetite and a ravenous hunger for bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches, meatball subs and any other greasy, melty, meaty truck driver meal I could get my hands on. I was also deeply fond of my childhood favorites: toast with Marmite, Ribena (a British black currant drink), Digestives (British tea cookies) and of course a good Pasta with Bolognese and Parmesan. I remember one particular potluck when Bobby passed me a beautiful, bountiful salad to which I wrinkled my nose and recoiled in disgust. He looked at me with mouth agape, “who is this person!” I thought I might never touch garlic and onions again. I was deeply concerned.
The second semester was like a sweet homecoming to my birth place, where I would have rolled around naked in a bed of lettuce had a farmer let me. I wanted everything fresh – and juicy! Fruit, watermelon, ripe bursting tomatoes… It was perfectly timed with the summer and autumn harvests. But most food in its peak is practically cooked on the vine and so little cooking was to be done.
Now, in my third trimester a sense of fatigue – and strong urge to relax – has returned that has me falling back on pantry recipes that make it easy to mix in vegetables from my winter CSA. One of my favorites is my mamma’s Tuna & Bean Salad, which is a hodgepodge of pantry and refrigerator staples. The combination of ingredients guarantees it will always be flavorful and hearty, yet easy to make on a whim. The recipe offers an array of substitutions to help you be creative based on what’s on hand in your kitchen. Really, I won’t steer you wrong. If you stick to the proportions and general ingredients (i.e. Kale, or any hearty winter green), you’ll be golden!
My favorite canned tuna to use is Alaska Gold’s Albacore Tuna for its meaty and unadulterated flavor. It’s packed pure, with a “few grains of salt.” No water, no olive oil or anything else to obscure this hook-and-line caught seafood.
I also offer a recipe for Miso-Maple Dressing to accompany this salad, but any salad dressing will work beautifully – even a simple mix of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Might I also suggest devouring this salad with a slab of freshly buttered toast or gluten-free bread!
Follow the proportions, but liberate yourself with the ingredients! If you don't have a specific ingredient listed, try one of the substitutions. The Miso-Maple Dressing is divine, but any dressing you have on hand or like to prepare will work wonderfully with this recipe.
- 1/3 cup yellow onion, very thinly sliced (sub with red onion)
- 1 cup carrot, shredded
- 1/3 cup cucumber pickles, diced (sub with any pickles)
- 1 bunch kale, leaves stripped and shredded (sub other hearty winter greens)
- 1/2 cup raisins (sub with black currants)
- 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained (sub with black or white beans)
- 1 can Alaska Gold Albacore Canned Tuna, broken up
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar (sub with lemon juice)
- 2 tablespoons, white miso
- 1 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon maple syrup (sub with honey)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Toss the salad ingredients in a large bowl.
- To make the Miso-Maple Dressing, combine ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously until blended together.
- Add the desired amount of dressing to the salad and toss thoroughly. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes before serving. Or, store in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight before serving. The longer the salad marinates, the better!