Aioli Pan Bagnat or Stuffed Pita

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I started out with the idea of making something like the traditional niçoise salad in a bun called pan bagnat, and using aioli to dress it. But whole-wheat pitas had just been delivered to my Iranian market when I went to buy produce, and I couldn’t resist them. So I tossed the vegetables together with the tuna and aioli and filled the pockets with a sort of garlicky chopped salad.


  • 1

    5-ounce can water-packed tuna

  • 1

    stalk celery, finely diced

  • ¼

    cup aioli

  • ½ to 1

    teaspoon Dijon mustard (to taste)

  • Lemon juice as desired

  • ½

    pound tomatoes, half chopped, half sliced

  • 3 or 4

    basil leaves, torn or cut in chiffonade

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • Bibb lettuce or spinach leaves (a generous handful), washed and torn into smallish pieces

  • ½

    cucumber, or 1 Persian cucumber, peeled if waxy, seeded and sliced thin

  • 2

    whole-wheat pitas, cut in half

  • ½ to 1

    small red or green bell pepper, sliced in rings, or roasted and sliced

  • ½

    small red onion, sliced, soaked for 5 minutes in cold water, drained and rinsed (optional)


    1. Drain the tuna and toss in a medium bowl with the celery, aioli and Dijon mustard. Stir in a little lemon juice if desired. Add the chopped tomatoes, basil, spinach or lettuce, and some of the sliced cucumber, and season with salt and pepper. Toss together.
    2. Open up each pita half and fill with some tuna mixture. Put tomato, pepper, onion and cucumber slices on top of the tuna/vegetable mixture, and serve. If not serving right away, wrap tightly in plastic.


    • Advance preparation: You can assemble the tuna mixture up to a day ahead. Aioli will keep for 2 or 3 days in the refrigerator. You can make the sandwich version several hours before eating. The pita shouldn’t sit too long, or it will fall apart.
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