Simple white bean salad loaded with bright Mediterranean flavors! Canned beans, chopped veggies, and fresh herbs tossed together in one big bowl. No fancy dressing here, a squeeze of lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil is all you need!
Beans are a genius ingredient and a Mediterranean diet staple.
Inexpensive. Convenient. Protein-rich. Packed with important nutrients including folate, vitamin B1 (thiamin), potassium, magnesium, and iron.
I keep all types of beans in my pantry because they are wonderful for quick last-minute dishes that are also nutritious. White bean and kale soup, bean and broccoli pasta, 3 bean salad, and piyaz (Turkish white bean salad) are on the regular rotation.
Actually, bean salads are a thing around here. And this easy white bean salad is a new family favorite. Takes a few simple ingredients, 1 bowl, and packs a ton of crunch and flavor!
And since it can keep in the fridge without getting all soggy, this white bean salad recipe is ideal for quick meal prep lunches. Or if you're looking for a weeknight dinner, this salad makes the perfect bed or side to things like trout, marinated chicken, grilled kabobs, or a fancy rack of lamb.
This white bean salad has everything going for it. Bonus, you don’t even need to whisk up your dressing in another bowl!
What I love about this White Bean Salad
- Uses simple ingredients and no special dressing. This salad uses simple ingredients that you probably already have on hand. Beans, fresh herbs, tomatoes and cucumbers. A squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil is really all you need for a dressing.
- Takes 1 bowl. This bean salad is dead easy to make! Throw everything in one bowl and toss. Minimal cleanup!
- Hearty and Satisfying. White beans, being the star ingredient, are quite hearty and protein-rich. They're a great plant-based protein which will leave you satisfied.
- Packed with Flavor! Not your typical bean salad. This salad is jazzed up Mediterranean-style with bold flavors, starting with fresh herbs, lemon juice and olive oil and a couple of bold spices.
- Can be made ahead. Another awesome thing about having beans as a salad base is that they hold up super well and don’t get soggy. In fact, you can make this salad 1 day ahead, it's even better the next day when the flavors have had time to meld and intensify.
Here's what you'll need to make this salad:
White beans: Any white beans you like will work for this recipe. I used canned cannellini beans which are mild flavored but also a little bit nutty. And they're tender and have a nice creamy texture which I like.
Fresh vegetables: Chopped English cucumber, grape or cherry tomatoes, and green onions.
I like English cucumbers because they're sweeter and their skin is tender so I don't have to peel it. As far as the tomatoes, you can use any variety you like, I tend to like the smaller tomatoes like grape or cherry for this salad. Green onions give a mild onion flavor without being overpowering (be sure to use the white and green parts for more flavor).
Fresh herbs: We don't just use a couple springs of herbs here for garnish. There is a good cup of fresh parsley and about 15 fresh mint leaves. If you don’t have mint, a perfect substitution is fresh basil.
Spices: You can use any number of spices to season this salad...oregano and cumin will work really well. But for a fun and bold twist, I used a trio of spices--za’atar, sumac, and Aleppo pepper. You can change things up, if you need to...you can use things like dried oregano, a little cumin, or just keep it to salt and pepper. But if you're up for a little something different, grab my fun spices here and give them a try! )Za’atar is earthy and nutty. Sumac has a beautiful earthy and smoky profile, and Aleppo pepper has a very mild heat that is slightly fruity and tangy – kinda like a sun-dried tomato).
Dressing? No fancy dressing here. Lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil is all you need to dress this salad right in the salad bowl. Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil; it's rich and bold--the perfect to finish this salad! And if you want a little extra zing, use the lemon zest as well.
Feta cheese (optional): A sprinkle of salty, creamy feta is totally optional, but definitely recommend. That salty and cream cheese on top takes things over the edge.
What kind of beans to use in this salad?
While cannellini beans are my favorite for this salad, but like I said, any other type of white bean will work as well. Some other great white bean alternatives are:
- Canned Navy beans
- Canned Great Northern beans
- Canned Butter beans
You can totally use other types of beans as well; it doesn’t have to be a white bean. Options like kidney beans, chickpeas, or even small lima beans can work.
Can I make this salad using dry beans?
Canned white beans are a great shortcut here, all you have to do is give them a very good rinse before using. But if you do have the time, you can absolutely start with dry beans to make this white bean salad recipe.
You'll need just over 1 cup dry beans to start with.
1- Soak the beans in plenty of water overnight. You can keep them in the fridge to soak. Drain before cooking.
2- Place the beans (after you drain them) in a large enough pot (they will expand in size). Cover with about 2 inches of cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, gently stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, 1 to 1 ½ hours.
3- Drain any excess water and allow the beans to cool a bit before using in the salad. Follow the salad recipe directions.
Watch the video for how to make white bean salad:
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Simple white bean salad loaded with bright Mediterranean flavors! Canned beans, chopped veggies, and fresh herbs tossed together in one big bowl. No fancy dressing here, a squeeze of lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil is all you need. Prepare it ahead for best flavor (see notes).
- 2 cans white beans (cannellini), drained and rinsed well
- 1 English cucumber, diced
- 10 oz grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 15 to 20 mint leaves, chopped
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- Salt and pepper
- Spices (1 teaspoon Za'atar and ½ teaspoon each Sumac and Aleppo. See notes for more options)
- Extra virgin olive oil (I used Early Harvest EVOO)
- Feta cheese, optional
- Add white beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, green onions, parsley and mint to a large mixing bowl.
- Add lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper, then add za’atar, sumac and Aleppo pepper.
- Finish with lemon juice and a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (2 to 3 tablespoons).Give the salad a good toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add feta cheese, if you like. (For best flavor, let the salad sit in the dressing for 30 minutes or so before serving. See notes).
- Cook's Tip. This salad taste better if you let it sit for about 30 minutes or so to allow the flavors time to meld. You can also make it 1 night in advance, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. I typically hold the feta and mix it in when ready to serve.
- Spice Variations: you can change up the spices in this recipe to your liking. Oregano and cumin are also great options. If you like a little heat, add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.
- To use dry beans: You'll need just over 1 cup dry beans to start with. Soak the beans in plenty of water overnight. You can keep them in the fridge to soak. Drain before cooking. Place the beans (after you drain them) in a large enough pot (they will expand in size). Cover with about 2 inches of cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, gently stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, 1 to 1 ½ hours. Drain any excess water and allow the beans to cool a bit before using in the salad. Follow the salad recipe directions.
- Visit our online shop to browse our extra virgin olive oil and all-natural and organic spices including za'atar, sumac and Aleppo pepper used in this recipe
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Salad
- Method: Tossed
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keywords: Bean Salad, White Bean Salad
*This post has been recently updated with a new recipe and more information for readers' benefit. Enjoy!