An easy Italian white bean salad to toss together for your midweek lunches or a simple side dish. This cannellini bean salad is dressed with the most simple and flavor-packed chopped salsa verde and you can whip it up in under 20 minutes!
Oh my goodness, how can such a simple salad taste so freaking good?! This simple but delicious white bean salad has its roots firmly in the flavors of the Mediterranean. We go heavy on the Italian influence with this cannellini bean salad studded with Nocellara (Castelvetrano) olives, brought together with a quick chopped salsa verde that will have you licking your lips. It's so tasty! Sure, we're biased, but trust us this really is a flavor sensation.
We wanted texture and vibrancy in this Italian white bean salad, that's why we chose to make the salsa verde by chopping rather than blending it. Also, it's just super pretty! Just like this easy beetroot falafel or beetroot feta walnut salad with dukkah.
This salad will make great lunches throughout the week as it stores well. Or, it can quite easily be bulked out with tuna to make yourself a tuna white bean salad. Whatever you choose: lunch, side dish or main, you need this in your life! If you are bean lovers like us be sure to check out our three bean chili.
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⭐ Why you'll love this recipe
Here are some reasons why you need this white bean salad recipe in your life:
Quick - with a little bit of knife work and preparation, this salad takes only 20 minutes to throw together. We all love it when things are quick!
Make ahead - along with being quick, this white bean salad is easy to make ahead of time as the flavors are powerful and don't disappear when stored in the fridge.
Healthy - this salad comes in under 500 calories a portion and is high in protein and fiber, plus it's packed with lots of nutrient dense ingredients.
Vibrant - the salad ingredients are lovely, but the salsa verde dressing brings it all together and makes for the most vibrant bowl of flavors you can eat at lunch.
Fresh - packed full of herbs and fresh produce from the season, we promise this bowl of food will put a smile on your face.
You only need simple ingredients for this white bean salad recipe, this is what you'll need:
White beans - we love cannellini beans in this salad, but you can use butter beans or great northern beans. Cannellini beans are also called white kidney beans.
Olives - the best of the green olives, especially for those who are not so keen on olives are Nocellara olives. They are also known as Castelvetrano olives. They're crisp, buttery and mild in flavor, but if you can't find them just use what you can get.
Capers - these little pickled flower bud beauties are salty, tangy and help create the best salsa verde. To save chopping, you could also get the mini capers if you prefer.
Anchovy paste - for any anchovy haters out there, don't fear. You genuinely do NOT taste this anchovy paste. It's a seasoning and that's all, but it really brings everything together in the salsa. However, if you are severely averse to anchovies, just substitute with the same amount of kosher salt.
🥗 What beans can I use in this salad?
Despite the name of this salad you can use any bean you like, but we recommend the following to keep with the color, flavors and textures we are aiming for.
Canned navy beans
Great Northern beans
Butter beans or Lima beans
Canned Haricot beans
🥣 Can I use dried beans in this salad
Yes, absolutely! You'll just have to do a little bit of preparation in advance. To prepare dried cannelini beans for this salad you'll need to:
Soak - take the time to soak your dried beans for from a few hours to preferably overnight. This helps them absorb moisture and will allow them to cook evenly.
Simmer - you can cook them by covering with an inch of water in a dutch oven and heat on a stove until simmering for 1-2 hours until they are tender.
Tender means when you pinch them between thumb and forefinger it'll be soft and not resist, if it has resistance it'll have a crunchy bite rather than be soft and enjoyable to eat.
Cool - allow the beans to cool completely by spreading them out on a tray to cool down. Then use as directed in the salad recipe following the ratios.
Yield - a note about yield. A general rule is that 1 cup of dried beans creates 3 cups of cooked beans.
🔪 How to make this bean salad
Follow these simple step by step guides to success for this cannelini bean salad recipe:
Making the chopped salsa verde
- Prepare and chop your herbs and other salsa ingredients and place into a bowl.
- Add the red wine vinegar and olive oil and gently stir together. It's THAT simple.
Putting it all together
- Place the cannellini beans, tomatoes, red onion, olives and salt into a bowl and gently toss together.
- Add the salsa verde and parmesan shavings and combine. Serve immediately for an extra fresh and vibrant white bean salad.
👩🏻🍳 Expert tips
Make sure to read and follow these expert tips to ensure complete success with this white bean salad recipe:
Chopped salsa - rather than dressing the whole white bean salad and smothering it with a layer of pesto-consistency paste, take a few extra minutes to make it chopped. It really does make all the difference.
Prep ahead - chop and prepare the salad ahead of time, we recommend eating it on the same day it is made for extra freshness, but it will keep for longer.
Canned beans - canned beans are your friend here. You want simple and quick. If you wish to cook your beans from dry, you are more than welcome to do so, just be sure that they are cold again before creating this salad.
💭 Recipe FAQs
We've had this salad in the fridge for up to 5 days and it still tastes great. However the texture of the onions and tomatoes start to go more mushy so we recommend storing in an air tight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator for the best quality.
Yes! They are packed with protein, fiber and plenty of micronutrients including folate and vitamins. They make a great addition to a balanced diet that will contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
Yes, they are conveniently cooked and prepared and stored often under brine for long term storage. Just drain and rinse them in a colander and enjoy in this delightful salad.
🍲 Related recipes
Love this Italian white bean salad recipe? Then you may want more of our salad recipes, here are some suggestions to get you started:
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Italian White Bean Salad
For the White Bean Salad
For the Salsa Verde
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil
- 1 tablespoon chopped capers
- 1 clove garlic , finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon anchovy paste, or ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes , chilli flakes
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 225 grams albacore tuna in olive oil, drained
- crusty bread
Chopped Salsa Verde
- Prepare the ingredients for the dressing.
- Add the herbs, capers, garlic, anchovy paste, chilli flakes, black pepper, olive oil and vinegar into a small bowl and stir together with a spoon.2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 1 tablespoon chopped basil, 1 tablespoon chopped capers, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1 clove garlic, ¼ teaspoon anchovy paste, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Making the White Bean Salad
- Place the beans, tomatoes, torn olives and red onion into a medium bowl with the salt. Toss together gently.1 14 ounce can cannellini beans, ½ cup quartered cherry tomatoes, ¼ cup Nocellara del Belice olives, torn, ¼ cup red onion, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Add the chopped salsa verde and parmesan shavings and gently mix together with a spoon without breaking up the beans. Place the tuna on top if using and serve immediately with some crusty bread.2 tablespoons parmesan shavings, 225 grams albacore tuna in olive oil, crusty bread
- Be sure to chop the salsa verde ingredients rather than blending them.
- The salad keeps for up to 3 days in an air tight container in the fridge.