Friday, April 1, 2016

Herbed Tuna (and Chickpea) Salad-Stuffed Bell Peppers and My Top Favorite Ellie Krieger Recipes

When I am in major work mode and busy on projects sometimes all that I can mange for lunch or dinner is to open a can of tuna or chickpeas, squeeze on some lemon and toss in some spices. This Ellie Krieger recipe is a few steps beyond that--there is some chopping involved, but well-worth it it terms of fresh herby flavor and getting something green on my plate. 

I made a few changes to the recipe--highlighted in red below. Ellie uses water-packed tuna, but I buy an Italian brand tuna at Costco that I love and it comes in olive oil--so I used it and reduced the olive oil in the dressing to compensate. I also made a half-recipe using one can of tuna and about a cup-and-a-half of chickpeas for extra fiber and because I love the combo of beans and tuna. The locally grown baby watercress in the produce section looked perkier than the baby arugula and still has a peppery bite so I swapped it in. Tarragon, which I adore, can be quite hit-or-miss to find here, so I made due with a mix of fresh mint and thyme that I needed to use up. 

The result--served on romaine leaves, was a fresh, healthy, satisfying, and yummy dinner and lunch the following day--and I think far prettier than the quickly-snapped pictures show.

Herbed Tuna (& Chickpea) Salad-Stuffed Bell Peppers
Adapted from So Easy from Ellie Krieger
(Serves 4)

4 red bell peppers, stemmed and sliced in half crosswise (I used red & yellow)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I used 1 Tbsp due to olive oil in tuna)
3 Tbsp  fresh lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard (I used Creole mustard)
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 (6-oz) cans chunk light tuna in water, drained (I used Italian tuna in olive oil)
(I added 1 1/2 cups no-salt chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
1 1/2 cups lightly packed baby arugula leaves, roughly chopped (I used baby watercress)
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, minced
1 cup lightly packed fresh parsley leaves, minced
3 Tbsp loosely packed fresh tarragon, minced (I used mint & thyme)

Remove the seeds and white membrane from inside the pepper halves.

In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper and whisk to mix. Add the tuna, arugula, and herbs, and stir together.

Spoon about 1/2 cup of the tuna mixture into each pepper half and serve. Filled peppers will keep up to 2 days in an airtight container in the fridge.   
Notes/Results: Really fresh and good. The herbs, lemon and mustard work well with the tuna and beans--enhancing rather than overpowering--and the sweetness and crunch of the red and yellow pepper cups is nice and provides a big dose of vitamin C. I liked the baby watercress quite a bit--flavor wise it is pretty close to arugula. I did miss the tarragon and would add it the next time if I find it but the basil, parsley, mint and thyme combination was good. You could really use any combination of herbs you like here. This is a simple, no-cook meal that I will definitely make again.

This week ends our six months of cooking weekly with Ellie Krieger at I Heart Cooking Clubs. I always like to end our cooking time with our IHCC featured chefs by recapping some of my favorite dishes--the recipes I loved, made again, or keep thinking of long after I have made them. All of the recipes I cooked along with Ellie were healthy of course, but also colorful, easy to make, and tasty. 

If you think cooking and eating healthy is boring and flavorless, you have not spent time with Ellie Krieger. Here are seven of her recipes that I highly recommend.

I adored Ellie's Shrimp Salad with Cucumber and Mint from The Food You Crave and have made it several times now. It is fresh, light and delicious.

Thai-Style Halibut (or Mahi-Mahi) in Coconut Curry Broth with Spinach, adapted from The Food You Crave was amazing. Great flavors and perfect with with the spiralized turnip noodles that I added.

Ellie had two smoothie bowl recipes that I loved, her Cherry Berry Smoothie Bowl from

and her Tropical Fruit and Nut Smoothie Bowl with Chia Seeds from TodayFood. Both of these smoothie bowls were colorful, healthy and fun to eat.

Speaking of foods in bowls, Ellie's Very Vanilla Rice Pudding from The Food You Crave was gorgeously creamy with its use of aborio rice and made special from the fruit and nut toppings. Perfect for dessert or breakfast.

I am always a sucker for great dips and Edamame Hummus from The Food You Crave was light, lemony and excellent with bread, chips, or veggies.  

Finally, I made three different soups with Ellie the past six months, but my favorite was the Tomato-Tortilla Soup from The Food You Crave that I welcomed her to IHCC with. Lots of flavor and I can never resist the toppings and add-ins in a tortilla soup.

I think it is an interesting note that although I cooked from both So Easy and The Food You Crave, as well as some online recipes, five of the seven recipes I chose as my top favorites were from The Food You Crave. I guess the title of that cookbook was earned! ;-)

This post is linked to IHCC's Goodbye Ellie! post. You can see the final Ellie Krieger dishes that everyone made by checking out the picture links.
I am also linking this healthy salad up to my own weekly Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays event. Each week I am posting a new soup and inviting anyone with a soup, salad or sandwich-type dish to link up to the post. If you used to participate in Souper Sundays, or if you are new to it, I'd love to see the soups (and sandwiches and salads!) you have been making. Here's the link to this week's link-up

So while this post ends our weekly cooking along with Ellie Krieger at IHCC, I am sure she will be making some appearances in my monthly IHCC Potluck posts. Next week we start cooking with popular, Aussie-born-chef Curtis Stone for the next six months. Come join in the fun!


  1. A lovely way to serve the herbed tuna, in a pepper! Love it!
    All the dishes you've made from Ellie's recipes, looks amazing!
    It has been a delicious six months with Ellie! Will definitely be seeing her again!

  2. On a scale from one to ten, these got to be one of the healthiest food you can put on the table. Perfect ten!

  3. Deb, I totally get sometimes not being able to do much more than open a can and do very little to it - that said, a can of chickpeas with a squeeze of lemon juice and some shaved parmesan, is not to be under estimated in my opinion :-)

    This dish really ups the game on that though, still without being too arduous. You made great changes, and this is definitely one I'm keeping in mind for those days when I'm in complete overload. Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. Ok, I'm bookmarking this post right now. I know I gonna miss cooking with Ellie, there are so many recipes to try. Maybe I will do so for the potluck themes. ;)


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