This recipe was inspired by a visit to the pristine waterfalls and plunge pools of Maguk, in Kakadu – the perfect spot for a picnic with this easy one-bowl salad.  






Skill level

Average: 3 (93 votes)


  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp capers (I like to use small capers for this)
  • ½ red chilli, finely diced (or substitute pepper or pepper berry)
  • 1 generous tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup semi-dried tomatoes, halved
  • 80 g green olives, roughly torn, pit removed
  • ½ punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 425 g canned tuna in oil, drained
  • 2 cups cooked and cooled pasta shells (see Notes)
  • 1 large handful basil
  • Salt and pepper

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. Place eggs in a saucepan of water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, cook for 3 minutes (see Note), chill under running water then peel them.

2. In a large bowl mash the soft-boiled eggs with the capers. Add the chilli, mustard, vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Combine and then add the olive oil. 

3. Add the semi-dried tomatoes, olives, cherry tomatoes, tuna, pasta and basil and mix until everything is coated in the dressing. Best served at room temperature.



• When cooking the pasta, toss with half a tablespoon of olive oil after draining, to prevent the shells sticking together.

• Don’t overcook the eggs – you want them par-cooked so they are still soft in the centre. It’s the secret to the creamy sauce.

• The sauce is also great served over fish.

• A teaspoon of fried and ground bush tomato is a great addition to the sauce, for extra depth of flavour.


The teatowel shown in this image features artwork by Indigenous artist Maggie Long, who used to work with the Yarliyil Art Centre in Western Australia.