Potato Salad with Olives, Tomatoes, Capers and Tuna

Recipes are nomads in our home; all but a few stay for a meal and then never return. There are just too many new things to try. Who knows why some recipes decide to stick around, but this salad is one of them.

Potato Salad w Tuna Olives Tomatoes and Capers

It’s the simple flavors that keep me coming back. With a bit of choreography, each bite can be different: cool, crisp cucumber; sweet, tangy chunks of tomato; briny, oil-cured olives; creamy eggs and salty tuna, fresh basil hinting of licorice and mint. 

This salad came from a collectors edition of Bon Appetit, highlighting Islands of the Mediterranean. It was published a mere 11 (!) years ago and has floated among my cookbooks ever since. After so many years, Bon Appetit is still my favorite cooking magazine, though I miss Molly Weizenberg’s column, Cooking Life.


Typically I boil enough potatoes and eggs to last for 3 or 4 days of this salad. Then at lunch time or for a light dinner, I can assemble the salad in just a few minutes. It’s also portable for a picnic or a weekday lunch at your desk.

Potato Salad with Olives, Tomatoes, Capers and Tuna
This recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit's May 2002 issue highlighting Islands of the Mediterranean. I've modified ingredient amounts to suit our taste and added tuna to make this salad substantial enough for lunch or a light dinner.
  • 2½ pounds medium red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 english cucumber, quartered lengthwise, cut into cubes
  • 4 large plum tomatoes, cut in quarters
  • ½ red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 24 black oil-cured olives, pitted, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cupor more very thinly sliced fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons salt cured capers, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons champagne or white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, quartered
  • 1 6-ounce can tuna, drained (I prefer it canned in olive oil or its own juice)
  1. Heat a large pot of water over high heat until boiling. Add a small handful of salt.
  2. Add potatoes to boiling water and cook until tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain potatoes and let stand until cool enough to handle.
  3. Cut potatoes into rough, 1-inch cubes and place in a serving bowl. Add olive oil and toss to coat.
  4. Add cucumber, tomatoes, onion, olives, basil, and capers.
  5. Whisk vinegar and oregano together in small bowl; add to salad and toss lightly to combine.
  6. With your fingers or a fork, separate tuna in to bite size chunks and sprinkle over salad.
  7. Arrange boiled egg quarters over salad.
  8. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. mix into salad.
  9. If desired, garnish with basil sprigs and serve.



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  1. Dorothy Dunton says

    Hi Marissa! This salad looks wonderful! I just put in some basil plants in my side garden. I can almost always get fresh tuna steaks and I’m thinking of grilling the tuna in place of canned. I, like Paula who posted above, also have every issue of BA dating back to the early 80’s.

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