Orecchiette with Tuna, Greens, Chickpeas, and Meyer Lemon

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  4 servings
Prep Time:  15 minutes Cook Time:  15 minutes

Orecchiette with Tuna, Greens, Chickpeas, and Meyer Lemon

This lemony pasta and tuna salad is a little bit different and altogether delicious. Whether chilled for a picnic or brunch or warm as a supper, it’s a fast, savory recipe for when those Meyer lemons appear at the store.


1 (16-ounce) box orecchiette pasta

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium sweet onion, peeled and cut into thin slices

6 cloves garlic, peeled and grated, any green centers discarded

1 (13-ounce) bag power greens or baby kale, roughly chopped (see Kitchen Tips)

2 (7-ounce) jars tuna packed in olive oil, line-caught, dolphin-safe preferred, oil reserved

Juice and zest and juice of 1 Meyer lemon

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

½ (15-ounce can) chickpeas, rinsed and drained well (about 7½ ounces or almost 1 cup)

3 ounces bottarga, optional, for garnish


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, covered. Add the orecchiette and cook according to the package instructions for about 6 to 8 minutes, until al dente. Drain and keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, deep saute pan set over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 to 7 minutes, until they are completely soft and translucent, with a few browned edges. Add the garlic and stir well. Add the greens and stir well. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the greens are completely wilted.
  3. Transfer the drained orecchiette to a large serving bowl. Add the tuna and tuna oil, lemon juice and zest, and the black pepper and toss gently. Add the wilted vegetable mixture and the chickpeas and toss gently until all of the ingredients thoroughly combined. If using, grate the bottarga over the top and  serve immediately.

Kitchen Tips

  1. Power greens is the term used to describe a mixture of stemmed leafy greens; the actual mix varies significantly from producer to producer. They tend be a tough leaves and really need a little cooking to bring out their deliciousness, so don’t be afraid to cook them down fully. If you have less time, pick up baby kale or baby spinach, which are also now widely available—and your greens will cook very quickly and will be equally yummy in the dish.

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