Tuna Pan Bagna

July/August 1992

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This Provencal-style sandwich literally means "bathed bread." Though you can eat them immediately after preparation, refrigerating the sandwiches for several hours lets the bread soak up all of the juicy goodness of the ingredients.

"I have never had canned tuna (at will). No tuna sandwiches, no tuna salad - nothing. I didn't even know there were so many canned tuna choices. Basically, I previously despised canned tuna. But I loved this recipe! My husband did too...
Tuna Pan Bagna

Makes: 4 servings

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  • 1 16-inch-long loaf French bread
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 6-ounce can chunk light tuna, packed in olive oil, drained, rinsed and squeezed dry, or packed in water, squeezed dry (see Note)
  • 1 large vine-ripened tomato, seeded and chopped (see Note)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pitted black olives, preferably Kalamata
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Cut bread in half lengthwise. Scoop out crumbs from both halves, leaving 1/2-inch-thick shells.
  2. Process the crumbs in a food processor or blender until finely chopped; set aside.
  3. Whisk together lemon juice, oil and garlic in a large bowl. Stir in the reserved breadcrumbs, tuna, tomatoes, bell peppers, scallions, olives, capers and thyme; mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spoon the breadcrumb mixture into the bottom bread shell and replace the top. Cut crosswise to serve.

Tips & Notes

  • Notes: Chunk light tuna, which comes from the smaller skipjack or yellowfin, has less mercury than canned white albacore tuna. The FDA/EPA advises that women who are or might become pregnant, nursing mothers and young children consume no more than 6 ounces of albacore a week; up to 12 ounces of canned light tuna is considered safe.
  • To quickly seed a tomato: Cut the tomato in half crosswise and scoop out the seeds with your finger while gently squeezing each half.


Per serving: 307 calories; 6 g fat (1 g sat, 3 g mono); 13 mg cholesterol; 49 g carbohydrates; 23 g protein; 9 g fiber; 675 mg sodium; 317 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (88% daily value), Selenium (49% dv), Vitamin A (29% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 1

Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 medium-fat meat, 1 fat

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Ease of Preparation
Total Time
30 minutes or less
Main Ingredient
Preparation/ Technique

July/August 1992
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