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I really love to make my own lunches. I mean it’s fun to eat out every now and then, but I honestly prefer the home-made lunch, where I am sure of the ingredients, portion size and nutrition info.

My work team — which I’ll say right now are the best team of three young women I could hope to work with — knows this and hence they gave me the best insulated lunch bag (in the photo above) and a subscription to Cooking Light for my birthday two weeks ago.

This week I had a craving for pasta. I have to do a lot of self-talk around pasta though, because it is one of my favorites. I think I’d pretty much take pasta over any kind of sweet treat. So, I looked for a healthy recipe and found a Weight Watchers® one for White Beans and Tuna. And wow is it good….with no mayo and I adapted it by replacing the roasted red peppers it called for with sweet peppadew peppers. If you haven’t tried peppdews, you must. Typically we find them in the fresh “olive bar” in better markets, but I found the ones I used for the salad in a jar in the condiment aisle at our ‘hood Safeway®.

Here’s the recipe  — and my prevailing philosophy is, add and subtract whatever you like, this is just a guideline:

White Bean and Tuna Pasta Salad

1/3 cup fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup (+ a healthy splash or two) red wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 TBSP fresh or freeze-dried chives [I like the little jars of freeze dried herbs that you can get at the market.]
1/3 cup fresh parsley coarsely chopped or 2 TBSP freeze-dried parsley
10 oz water-packed tuna fish, drained   [I LOVE Trader Joes’ solid white tuna]
1 TBSP fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 oz (uncooked weight) pasta
1 14oz can white (also called Cannellini) beans, drained and rinsed
6 to 10 peppadew peppers drained and chopped
2 TBSP capers (optional)

Cook pasta and drain and rinse under cold running water; drain again. In a large bowl, stir together broth, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Add cooked pasta, tuna, beans, peppadews (or roasted red peppers), onion, chives and parsley. Mix with a fork to break up the tuna into small bite-size pieces. Add capers and lemon juice and gently mix. Yields about 1-1/2 cups per serving.