I was raised on tuna salad made with mayonnaise, sour cream and lemon juice. It was one of my mom’s go-to dishes.
Using the classic Portuguese combo of tuna and chickpeas as a starting point, this version is a complete turnaround from that tradition. Farro, a whole grain similar to wheat berries, brings pleasantly nutty flavor, fiber and plenty of nutrients.
Here, oil-packed light tuna lends more flavor than tuna packed in water, but you can use either. Pearled farro, which cooks in 15 to 20 minutes, is a wonderful time-saving alternative to whole farro, which requires a long soaking and/or cooking time. Pearled farro is available in the natural section of some grocers. Semi-pearled farro can be substituted; it will take longer to cook.
Lemon-Dressed Farro, Tuna and Chickpea Salad
Make ahead: This salad is best when made at least 2 hours before serving, so its flavors can meld.
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup pearled or semi-pearled farro, cooked according to the package directions, then cooled (about 3 cups cooked; see headnote)
1 3/4 cups cooked or canned no-salt-added chickpeas (if using canned, drain and rinse)
6 1/2 to 7 ounces canned, oil-packed light tuna packed, flaked (may substitute water-packed light tuna)
4 ounces sweet onion, such as Maui, Vidalia or Walla Walla, cut into 1/4 -inch dice (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup chopped, loosely packed parsley
Whisk together the lemon zest and juice and the oil in a small bowl to form an emulsified dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Combine the cooled farro, chickpeas, tuna, onion, parsley and the lemon dressing in a large bowl. Toss to incorporate. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. For the best flavor, refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Makes 6 cups (6 to 8 servings).