A Tuna Salad To Pine For

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - January 16, 2008
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Dr. Jane Service, a gynecologist at Kapiolani Medical Center, has been in practice for 22 years and finds her field both rewarding and challenging.

Dr. Service’s husband, Mark, runs Akamai Practice Management, a software company that writes software for doctor’s offices. They are proud of their two sons: Brett, age 23, who is studying for a master’s degree in film at USC and will pursue a Ph.D. in order to teach; and Kevin, age 19, who is studying production and stage management at Carnegie Mellon University.

Dr. Service keeps fit by walking, and she reads for relaxation. Both she and Mark enjoy the beach, and Mark likes to cook and experiment with all types of cuisines.

This column is dedicated to this active, productive family!

Pine nuts, also called pignoli or pine seeds, are primarily grown in Italy and the south of France. They are actually the seeds of specific varieties of pine trees, and are borne on the scales of the pine cone.

Cultivated and widely used by the Romans, remains of pine nuts were found in the ruins of Pompeii. Many modern-day Italian dishes still incorporate pine nuts.

They can be added to salads and sauces as well as cakes, pastries and puddings, and are an essential ingredient in pesto.

Pine nuts are almost always sold shelled, and go rancid quickly, but can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about a month. They also may be frozen for up to three months.

The fat in pine nuts is composed of about 80 percent unsaturated fatty acids. They are an excellent source of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper and niacin; they are a good source of folic acid and contain riboflavin and vitamin B6, and are a rich source of dietary fiber.

To roast raw pine nuts, place on baking pan and roast for about 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven; they can also be toasted in a pan, but be sure to stir them around so they don’t burn.


* 4 cans white albacore tuna packed in water, drained and flaked
* 1 chopped celery rib
* 1/2 Maui onion, finely chopped
* 1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise (2 grams fat per serving)
* 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced
* 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
* salt and pepper, to taste
* 8 large lettuce leaves

In large bowl add flaked tuna, celery, onion and mayonnaise. Mix until well-combined. Add apple and pine nuts, and mix until just combined. Season with salt and pepper. Chill for about an hour. Serve on lettuce leaves.

Makes eight servings

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 280
Fat: 2 grams
Cholesterol: 50 milligrams
Sodium: 153 milligrams
(depends on how much salt you add)

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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