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Hold mayo for healthful tuna salad

(ran ST, TP editions)

For the legions of Americans who daily pack a brown bag to work or stop by the corner sandwich shop for lunch, tuna salad is a staple of the midday meal, but, because tuna salad is usually loaded with mayonnaise, it packs a high dose of fat.

This Tuna and White Bean Salad is a refreshing Northern Italian take on traditional American salads and is seasoned with a low-fat vegetable and herb dressing instead of mayonnaise.

The result is a delicious, filling, high-fiber salad that can be eaten plain, with crackers or piled between slices of whole-grain bread.

It starts with a can of white tuna and a can of tiny white beans. Celery, fresh basil and lime or lemon juice complete the feast.

If you wish, you can jazz up the salad with other vegetables or fruits, including frozen, thawed green peas, shredded fresh carrot, chopped green onion or diced green apple. Just stay away from the mayonnaise, which will add 100 calories and 12 grams of fat per tablespoon.

Charlotte Balcomb Lane is author of The Florida Cookbook _ A Lighter Look at Southern Cooking. If you have a recipe you would like streamlined to contain less fat and fewer calories, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Lane at 2411 A Rice Ave., Albuquerque, NM 87104.

Tuna and White Bean Salad

1 (6-ounce) can solid white tuna, packed in water

1 (15-ounce) can premium small white beans

2 stalks celery, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped (about } cup)

1{ tablespoons lemon or lime juice

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

{ cup Tuna Dressing (recipe follows)

To make the salad, drain the tuna, reserving the juice in a saucepan. (It will be used for the dressing). Combine the tuna, beans, celery, basil, lemon or lime juice and black pepper in a bowl and toss to combine.

Pour { cup of the chilled dressing over the salad and serve.

Makes 6 ({-cup) servings. Nutritional information per serving for salad with dressing: 160 calories, 15 gm. protein, 23 gm. carbohydrate, 1.3 gm. fat, 7 percent of calories from fat, 12 mg. cholesterol, 170 mg. sodium.

Tuna Dressing

1{ tablespoons tuna juice, drained from can

1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons rice vinegar or white wine vinegar

1 green onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard

1{ teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice

To make the dressing, bring the tuna juice and vegetable broth to a boil. In a separate small dish, combine the cornstarch and vinegar to make a thin paste. With a whisk, stir the cornstarch mixture into the boiling broth and cook 30 seconds or until the broth thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in the chopped green onion, mustard, sugar and lemon or lime juice. Allow to cool, then pour into a jar and chill completely.

Makes 10 (2-tablespoon) servings. Nutritional information per serving for dressing: 17 calories, .2 gm. protein, 3.2 gm. carbohydrate, .1 gm. fat, 7 percent of calories from fat, .01 mg. cholesterol, 32 mg. sodium.

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