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Italian Dreaming and a Lemony White Bean Salad

It is Spring here in Australia, my favorite time of year for traveling and the time when I get the strongest wanderlust.

It’s the time of year I want to pack my bag full of sundresses and fly to Italy to meet up with dear friends and wander cobbled streets and spend hours in cafes sipping outrageously strong coffee and dining leisurely on meals of roasted artichokes with lemon and mint, seafood studded pasta, and caramel panna cotta.

But this year I’m focusing on strengthening the roots I’ve established here in Australia so I won’t be jetting off to my beloved Italy.

Still, I can dream, and dream I shall!

I’m reading Italian cookbooks and novels and spending many happy hours dreaming my way through Italian picture books of country homes, lavish villas, tumbledown farms, and gorgeous gardens. It’s almost time for my annual viewing of “A Month by the Lake”, “Under the Tuscan Sun” and any other sun-drenched Italian movies I can think of.

I’m loving it.

So today we’re jaunting to the shores of Lago di Orta in Italy’s Piedmont region and finding a shady bench to sit on while we gaze out at beautiful Isola San Giulio and imagine what it must be like to live on such an island in such a wondrous setting.

When we see a water taxi pull up to the dock, we buy tickets and clamber aboard to explore the island for ourselves. Pretty soon we’re bouncing across the waves, the deliciously cool wind buffeting our hair as the occasional splash of water drenches us.

It’s marvelous.

Our boatman gallantly hands us ashore when we get to Isola San Giulio and we all agree to explore on our own, taking whichever paths seem best to us.

It’s a wonderful idea, for this tiny island is a place of peace and reflection and the sort of beauty you want silence to truly appreciate.

There are quiet corners to sit in, shady nooks to rest awhile and contemplate and do a fair bit of daydreaming.

Daydreaming is something I’ve been doing a lot of on these warm, sunny first days of Spring. I know Italy is not idyllic. It has its glitches and mean people and frustrating quirks like any other place. But it also has incredible beauty and wonderful traditions that enrich meals and relationships that I like to incorporate in my life wherever I am.

I’ve been planting lavender and rosemary – herbs that smell of Italy every time the sun hits them – and using the vivid colors often found on shutters and doors to bring a bit of cheer to our Aussie farm.

And I’ve been cooking simple, delicious, and nourishing food like this Lemony White Bean Salad.

This is one of my favorite dishes for it can be used in so many ways. Studded with ripe Roma tomatoes and salty chunks of tuna, it is brightened with a zesty lemon dressing rich with parsley. I like it for breakfast on top of scrambled eggs, all by itself for lunch, or used over toast as bruschetta for a mid-afternoon snack. The zingy lemon is delicious with all that protein, and it keeps me going for hours.

What beloved place do you dream about returning to?

Lemony White Bean Salad


2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3 Roma tomatoes, cored and diced
1 can tuna, drained
1 lemon, juiced, pips removed
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
one bunch parsley, chopped
sea salt and pepper to taste


  1. In medium bowl add beans, tomatoes, and tuna. Set aside.
  2. In small bowl whisk together remaining ingredients until emulsified into salad dressing.
  3. Pour dressing over bean mixture and stir gently to combine.
  4. Best served at room temperature.
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Meandering through Montepulciano, Italy » Rambling Tart - […] weather right now boasts cool mornings and gloriously hot, sunny afternoons, just like Tuscany in late Summer. So today I want to don a favorite sundress and strappy sandals and join you in an amble through […]

Krista - Ohhhh, I love Mexico too, @lizstrayedtable:disqus 🙂 Such an amazing country with lovely, lovely people. And the food? Swoon!! I try to replicate it at home, but there’s something about being IN Mexico that makes it taste so much better. 🙂

Krista - I’m right there with you, @karlynn:disqus 🙂 I LOVE being home and I LOVE traveling – so I have to mix it up for happiness. 🙂

Krista - Thanks so much, @3299b7a2d857c95382398a52d0212bf1:disqus 🙂

Krista - I’ve never heard of Mostly Martha, @SevenGreySweaters:disqus !! I will definitely try to find it. 🙂

Krista - I’m glad you’re a day dreamer too, @karenbackroadjournal:disqus 🙂 It is such a soul-enriching thing to do. 🙂

Krista - I bet it would thrill you, @joanneeatswellwithothers:disqus 🙂 One day you will go and I will be glued to your blog posts to see what you see. 🙂

Krista - Oh @wanderingsheila:disqus , I would absolutely LOVE that!! Wouldn’t we have the best time?? 🙂 I just used a regular-sized tin – not the small lunch size ones and not the jumbo size ones, the one in the middle. 🙂

Krista - I cannot wait for that day to happen for you, @GlobalButterfly:disqus 🙂

Krista - Oh, a few months in the summer would be heavenly, @charusuri2003:disqus 🙂 I’m so glad the salad works for your dietary needs. 🙂

Krista - I’m so glad you enjoyed the adventure, @lizposmyk:disqus 🙂 Isn’t it SO nice to sneak away for a while, even if it’s only through pictures? 🙂

Krista - That would be brilliant, @disqus_YrfmmrEUVU:disqus ! 🙂 I wouldn’t mind that one bit. 🙂

Krista - They can be rather daunting, can’t they, @inspiringtravellers:disqus ? I really love them in salads – black beans with a lime, cilantro, cumin dressing, pinto with lemony vinaigrette and thinly sliced cucumber and celery, so many good ones. 🙂 Just add your favorite chopped veggies and a great dressing and you’re good to go. 🙂

Krista - Thank you so much, @OrgasmicChef:disqus 🙂 I’m so glad Italy thrills your heart too. 🙂

Krista - How lovely that you are planting Italy in Washington while I’m planting it in Australia, @disqus_WseMqaTPwi:disqus 🙂 That makes me smile. 🙂

Krista - I would love to gallivant with you, @kimlivlife:disqus 🙂 I hope so much that you and your kids are able to go to Italy next year. How wonderful that would be!! I too am hoping for a Spring trip so I’ll be working very, very hard in the coming months. 🙂

liz @ Strayed Table - What a great recipe, looks really delicious and I would love all that lemon on those beans. I continually dream about returning to Mexico, the tacos, the people and lifestyle really get me inspired.

Karlynn Johnston - i get MAJOR wanderlust ALL year long! I can do about a month away from home…then get homesick. Then when I am home, it’s time to start planning! Maybe I am a planner/wanderluster?

Ashley - Beautiful photos!

Amy @ Seven Grey Sweaters - I want to have that same movie marathon! If you haven’t watched it already, add “Mostly Martha” to your list. I think you might enjoy that one as much as I do. 🙂

Karen (Back Road Journal) - I think we all daydream of wonderful places to travel to and the Piedmont section of Italy is beautiful. I think your salad is a lovely way to remind you of your travels there.

Joanne (eats well with others) - Traveling to Italy would make me so happy right now…but then again so does living vicariously through your gorgeous photos!

Cathy - I’d love to travel to Italy with you Krista. Gorgeous photos with great prose that transports me right there. I love the sound of your salad. How large is the tuna can that you use. I’m definitely going to make this recipe 🙂

Andi Perullo de Ledesma - Beyond gorgeous! I’m dying to visit Italy with my hubby!!!

Charu - Absolutely love Italy…those few months I spent in the summer were the best. Love the lemony white bean salad, and thanks for the recipe—will make it since I’m a vegetarian always on the lookout for great eats.

Liz Posmyk - What a beautiful adventure you have taken us on here, Krista…. gorgeous photos of an obviously beautiful place. No wonder you want to visit again! Wishing you much joy during Spring. And thanks for the recipe.

Jeri - Roasted red sweet peppers are another scrumptious addition to a salad like that, Krista. Try them sometime!

Andrea and John - I really need to get into legumes more. I just don’t know what to do with them! A recipe like this is a great place to start

Maureen | OrgasmicChef - What beautiful photos and your salad looks healthy and nutritious and tasty too. I love Italy and would jet off at a moment’s notice.

Jackie Smith - I have also been planting rosemary and lavender (a fig, an olive and a lemon tree as well) to keep those travel memories alive. And this is by far one of my favorite Italian dishes. Your photos are absolutely stunning and have transported me on my own little fantasy trip back to Italy!

Kim - Liv Life - Oh Krista… take me with you!!! Italy is the place I dream of also. Your photos are so beautiful!! We are working on planning a trip with the kids next July, but I don’t know if the schedule will work out. My fingers are crossed!! But like you I dream of Italy almost daily.
Your salad is a lovely consolation if I can’t have a trip though. I haven’t been to this town, but will do a little more research! Love your travel posts.

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